OKRA (Abelmoscus esculentus)
AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE

OKRA (Abelmoscus esculentus)

Okra is also a vegetable crop commonly grown by local farmers in West Africa. The fruits called capsule. When young, they are harvested with knife and used in soup preparation.

 

Land preparation: The bush is cleared with cutlass while ridges or heaps are constructed with hoes. Alternatively, the land can be prepared by ploughing, harrowing and ridging.

 

Varieties/Cultivars: New lady’s finger and the Perkin’s long pod.

 

Climatic and soil requirements: Okra requires a temperature of 18°C – 30°C, rainfall of 100cm – 150cm per annum and a well-drained loamy soil.

 

Method of propagation: By seeds.

 

Planting date: Early April and May.

 

Spacing: 60cm x 60cm.

 

Planting: Seeds are planted directly into beds, two to three seeds per hole which should be 3cm deep. Germination occurs as from the 5th day after planting.

 

Cultural Practices

  • Thinning and supplying: These can be done where necessary.
  • Fertilizer application: Super phosphate fertilizer at 100kg/hectare is required. Ring application is used.
  • Weeding: This should be done regularly.

 

Maturity period: This occurs between three and seven months depending on varieties.

 

Harvesting: The young and succulent green immature fruits are plucked or harvested with knife. Harvesting is done over a long period of time.

 

Processing: The fruits are used as food.

 

Storage: The fresh fruits are stored in a cool place, e.g, refrigerator or the dried ones are stored in sacks.

 

Pests of Okra

1) Flea beetles: These insects attack the plants and eat up the leaves. This they do by putting holes on the leaves as they eat them.

Control

  • Spray with insecticides.

 

2) Cricket and grasshopper: These insects also defoliate the plant by eating up the leaves and young stems.

Control

  • Spray with insecticides.

 

Diseases of Okra

1) Root knot disease: It is caused by eelworm nematode which is found in the soil.

Symptoms: Symptoms include knotting or galling of roots, retarded growth and reduced yield.

Control

  • Practise crop rotation.
  • Use resistant varieties.
  • Treat soil with nematicide, e.g Nemagon.

 

2) Mosaic disease: It is caused by a virus which is transmitted by piercing and sucking insects. Symptoms include mosaic colouration on the leaves, leading to low yield of the crop.

Control

  • Spray with insecticide to kill vector.
  • Uproot and burn infected plants.

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