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Botanical name: Abelmoschus esculentus

Plant type: Vegetable

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Flower color: Yellow, White

Bloom time: Summer

Okra is traditionally a southern U.S. plant that thrives in warm weather. It is easy to grow and use and looks great throughout the growing season due to its beautiful flowers. Okra is also rich in vitamin A and low in calories.


  • You can start okra seeds indoors in peat pots under full light 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date.
  • You can also start okra directly in your garden 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date as long as you cover the plants with a cold frame or grow tunnel until the weather warms up. Make sure that the covering is 2 to 3 feet tall so that the plants have room to grow.
  • If you do not start your okra plants early, wait until there is stable warm weather. You can plant okra in the garden when the soil has warmed to 65° to 70°F.
  • Plant okra in fertile, well-drained soil in full light about 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 12 to 18 inches apart. You can soak the seeds overnight in tepid water to help speed up germination.
  • If you are planting okra transplants, be sure to space them 1 to 2 feet apart to give them ample room to grow.
  • Okra plants are tall, so be sure to space out the rows 3 to 4 feet apart.


  • Eliminate weeds when the plants are young, then mulch heavily to prevent more weeds from growing. Apply a layer of mulch 4 to 8 inches high. You should also side-dress the plants with 10-10-10, aged manure, or rich compost (1/2 pound per 25 feet of row). You could also apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.
  • When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin the plants so that they are 10 to 18 inches apart.
  • Keep the plants well watered throughout the summer months; 1 inch of water per week is ideal, but use more if you are in a hot, arid region.
  • After the first harvest, remove the lower leaves to help speed up production.


  • Aphids
  • Corn earworms
  • Stinkbugs
  • Fusarium wilt


  • The first harvest will be ready about 2 months after planting.
  • Harvest the okra when its about 2 to 3 inches long. Harvest it every other day.
  • Cut the stem just above the cap with a knife; if the stem is too hard to cut, the pod is probably too old and should be tossed.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when cutting the okra because most varieties are covered with tiny spines that will irritate your skin, unless you have a spineless variety. Do not worry: this irritation will not happen when you eat them.
  • To store okra, put the uncut and uncooked pods into freezer bags and keep them in the freezer. You can then prepare the okra any way you like throughout the winter months.

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Annie Oakley', which takes 52 days to mature and has spineless pods. It grows to about 5 feet tall.
  • 'Park's Candelabra Branching', which is a base-branching okra plant. This type of branching makes picking easy.
  • 'Louisiana Green Velvet' is good for big areas; it is vigorous and its plants grow to be 6 feet tall. It is also smooth and spineless.



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I have been raising okra

By William Wofford on July 19

I have been raising okra since I was old enough to garden with my dad, in the forties. Clemson spineless has always grown tall and very productive in TX. This year we had an abundance of rain and instead of being tall it is about 4 ft tall and very thick and not many pods. About six plants that were smaller when it rained are growing and producing like they should. Should I thin those that are very thick and not putting on pods, and how much? At the rate these are making I don't see it hurting much.

How likely is it that I will

By OkraWinfrey on July 18

How likely is it that I will get okra plants to grow by buying okra from the supermarket and planting the seeds? Do the seeds have to be dry and hard? Supermarket okra are soft and supple. Can I wait for the okra pods to dry and shrivel up to get good seeds to plant?

Some people have had success

By Almanac Staff on July 23

Some people have had success growing okra from the supermarket--it might depend on the variety and any treatment the pods went through before they reached the market. Hybrid varieties will not come true to seed. If saving seed, dry the pod thoroughly--seeds should be dry and hard.

We usually have a bit of

By ehansen on July 1

We usually have a bit of trouble with okra, but this year, the crop is really good. There is a "mess" every day. I love okra. It is Nature's little laxative!

Have you noticed that the leaves of the okra plant follow the sun in its paths across the sky each day? This is a phenomenon call heliotropism or phototropism. Some plants do this; the most well-known of which is the daylily, whose flowers last only one day.

P.S. NEVER cut okra into pieces to cook it. Always cook it whole, with the stem still attached. It will not release its mucous nearly as much that way. NEVER NEVER put tomato or vinegar in the pot with okra. Spoils it.

Not true, cutting okra up and

By DonE on July 7

Not true, cutting okra up and frying it is just as delicious. As for tomatoes, this is an idiots opinion! Fried green tomatoes and fried okra mixed together is absolutely delicious. Dummies can ruin almost anything simple.

Folks in the south have eaten

By Pawpower on July 13

Folks in the south have eaten stewed okra and and tomatoes our whole life. Only a yankee would say something like mixing okra and tomatoes together would spoil it. That is totally, absolutely BULL Crap!!!

Ha, just goes to show you

By DonE on July 15

Ha, just goes to show you that you are a took. I am born and raised in Alabama. No one knows okra better than the folks from the Deep South. Most southerners know that when okra is thin or things aren't bountiful like they should be, fried green tomatoes make okra go father if it's not what you would hope. My great grandparents have been doing this since the 1920's. Dummy's are more prevalent than ever folks.

Please help! I am in (blazing

By Gingershuman

Please help! I am in (blazing hot) NC and just moved so got my garden started late this year using seedlings that I purchased. This is my first time growing okra. The seedling came as a 6" tall cluster of skinny stems with maybe a single round leaf on each of them. Since I consider myself lucky when I find a "two-for" seedling in a container for purchase, I assumed that this was just one okra plant and surely it wasn't like TEN okra plants! Well I've been wondering when my okra was going to do anything because my tomatoes are taking off but no baby okras growing, so I googled some info and discovered holy cow, okra has a single tree-like stem that grows super tall - so I transplanted like 10 plants TOGETHER! Now they are over 1' tall and have the bigger okra-plant-leaves and the stems are probably 0.5 cm wide. Should I thin this cluster at this point, or is it way too late? Should I wait and see if like 10 "trees" will grow in a cluster like that and actually produce, or risk injury to other roots by thinning so late? Thank you in advance!

Tough call. Overcrowding

By Almanac Staff

Tough call. Overcrowding might affect the yield and possibly the health of the plants. Some gardeners do keep a few clumped together, but I haven't heard of ten together. It would also depend on how closely they are clumped (less than 1 inch between stems, or 3 to 5 inches between, etc.).
Since the plants will likely grow much larger, it might be best to thin them now, even though they are a foot tall. You might try removing most of them, leaving 1 to 3 plants together. Keep the healthiest plants, and preferably, the ones furthest apart from each other. Do not pull the thinnings up though, or they might injure the roots of the other plants (which are fragile). Use pruning shears to cut each stem off at the soil line, being careful not to injure the stems or leaves of the plants that you are keeping. Just leave the roots of the thinned plant(s) in the soil. Good luck!

Thank you so very much for

By Gingershuman

Thank you so very much for taking the time to write such a helpful response! The stems are less than 1/2 cm apart - so close that I really thought okra was a shrub rather than a tree :-( I heeded your instructions this morning and will hope for the best! Thank you!

I am from India. Okra is one

By Rohit

I am from India. Okra is one of my favorites. It is very easy to grow and taste really good. I had successfully planted okra last summer in my home ground. This time I purchased okra seeds that seems to be hybrid ones with spineless pods. The plant is shorter and produces small pods. Last year they were really big ones.

am a project student willing

By asluk

am a project student willing to plant okra using urine as a fertilizer, how many weeks/months will it use to germinate using a green garden.

I want to start planting okra

By sande nicholas

I want to start planting okra on a commercial level, starting with least 4acrers of land in africa , Uganda ...want advise do u give me especially on managing this kind of project?

One thing to keep in mind

By Alex Sllo

One thing to keep in mind about okra is it is high quality food which spoils very quickly so you would need to sell or process it immediately ! Fresh Okra only lasts about 2 days before spoling. You would have to can it , pickle or freeze or pickle it if it needs to be transported or stored. You could use to make canned soup (gumbo ) Another thing to consider is if you have enough available water for irrigation or rain to produce a good crop.
Use quality seed of a spineless variety, and use gloves to pick as even the spineless is rough enough to wear skin off your hands. Cost of fertilizer can be reduced by using manure or diluted 20 to 1 urine . Break curses off of land before planting as well.

I want to start planting okra

By Feisal Karisa Ngala

I want to start planting okra by mid feb 2015,so that by mid april I will harvest it.Wat Can I do?

Any time between late spring

By ol spammy

Any time between late spring and mid summer, depending where you are. To make it less confusing, there are two simple things okra requires: heat and water. Provide it with that and it will explode with growth. Remember to water routingly for the first 3 weeks at most every other day depending on temp. for a good healthy start and keep in mind it gets big! I recommend to plant dwarf varieties, but even those get big, had one at around 8ft one hot summer. Good luck!

Hi there . Could anyone reply

By Peter Sidhu

Hi there . Could anyone reply please . I'm growing okra in high drop system green house .where there water running 24 hrs as we have half green house tomatoes.Is that right ?? ? Or how much water & feed need to okra plants ??

is it okey if we plant okra

By eriel amoy

is it okey if we plant okra during rainy season?

Though okra is quite

By Almanac Staff

Though okra is quite adaptable, you should avoid planting okra during heavy rain. The crop needs well-drained soil and water logging should be avoided.

I hav some okra plants...i

By titania

I hav some okra plants...i left it on the seed tray for too long. Will they transplant well. If they do transplant well will they hav a normal life just like any other plant or will they suffer

Okra seedlings do not

By Almanac Staff

Okra seedlings do not transplant well. We tend to sow directly into the garden. If you do start indoors, it's best to use peat pots and plant two seeds per pot. Once they germinate, you can thin down to one plant per pot. The timing is 6 to 8 weeks from sowing indoors to setting outdoors.

When my okra plants got to be

By ToddB

When my okra plants got to be five feet tall or so, they began to produce new shoots along the stem. Since my plants grew to over eight feet and eventually toppled, is it useful to cut the main stem, at, say, four feet to force the growth of the side shoots? I'm hoping this will produce more okra per plant, because of more pod-producing stems, and at the same time make the plants less vulnerable to wind and the pods easier to harvest.

Yes, you can cut the tops off

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can cut the tops off to get a bushier plant. Please see the answer to the pruning question below.

I have recently moved to East

By Danny Wooley

I have recently moved to East Texas. I've planted okra for years. This years garden was a first time area. I was later than normal getting my seeds in the ground. I planted Crimson spineless 80. I thinned to about 3' apart. My tallest plant comes in at 14' tall. All are at least 10' to 12' and producing well. I'm getting over a gallon each day from two 35' rows. Question being. I was thinking about topping it next year to make harvesting easier. When should this be done, or should you do it at all.


Danny in East Texas.

You can prune the tops of

By Almanac Staff

You can prune the tops of okra plants when they are about 5 to 6 feet tall. This will cause more side branches to grow and you may need to prune some of the side brances as well. In warm regions some gardeners cut the plants to about 2 feet after they have slowed down producing pods in the summer. The plants will grow back and produce another crop of okra.

wife planted some seeds this

By phebe-bebe

wife planted some seeds this spring. do not know what kind. still harvesting (Houston, TX area). Stuff is 12-14 feet high, having to use an 8-foot ladder to pick it for her. What kind should she plant next year so it will not be so tall?

I am in Louisiana. I planted

By Carolyn CAL

I am in Louisiana. I planted okra and they did great, but I had a lot of hard ones.
What can I do with those? you cannot eat them and they are hard even after you cook them. Can I use them for seeds?

its hard cos its past the

By henry manu

its hard cos its past the normal date of harvest, ur next harvest should be aba 2 weeks earlier than u harvested this time.

The okra that is too hard are

By Almanac Staff

The okra that is too hard are too mature/old. Okra can grow very rapidly in hot weather and needs to be harvested before it becomes tough. If you can't cut through the pods with a tough knife, those pods are not really suitable for serving. You are not alone: we have often missed the harvest peak--okra goes from flowers to harvest in a few days!

I canned my okra and when I

By Vickie Odom Powell

I canned my okra and when I got it out of the pressure canned the okra was pinkish red and the brime was cloudly? What caused that? Is it safe?

When processed in brine, the

By Almanac Staff

When processed in brine, the seeds of okra, which are normally colorless, turn pink and could color the okra pink. Cloudy brine is not harmful. Did you use table salt instead of pickling salt?

i sell my okra at a local

By william ryan morris

i sell my okra at a local grocery store. i pick a bushel basket full and take there soon as i pick them. every now and then the store has more than it needs and i need to know what the best way is to preserve the okra and keep it fresh looking? it starts getting spots after a couple days and doesn't present very well. open for any suggestions. thanks ryan

Make sure the okra is

By Almanac Staff

Make sure the okra is completely dry, then put in a brown paper bag. Close the bag loosely. Store in a dry location that does not go above 60 degrees F or below 50 degrees F.

I live in Columbus, Ohio and

By Joyce W.

I live in Columbus, Ohio and this is the first season I've planted okra (don't know the type). I planted the young plants in a pot and the stems grew tall with lots of flowers which turned into lots of okra. My problem is they are so hard that after cooking them (soups, frying, steaming) they're not eatable. Is this because of the type of okra or something I did wrong in growing or harvesting. When harvesting I've cut them off at the stem with a knife. Help!

Once Ones gets longer than

By Lynda W

Once Ones gets longer than 3-4 inches it gets quite tough! Pick it smaller..


By dtbvet


What can I do to get my okra

By charles dross

What can I do to get my okra to bloom. The leaves are green and big and happy, but no flowers yet. I'm in St. Pete., Fl and I've grown okra the last 3 summers without any problems. Any help will be appreciated.

Bloom should occur within

By Almanac Staff

Bloom should occur within approximately two months after planting. They need long periods of heat to begin producing. If you have had a cool summer the flowers may be delayed.

I live in Phoenix, Az. And

By Andy Darling

I live in Phoenix, Az. And planted some Clemson Spineless okra in May; about 6 or 8 plants in a raised bed. They are now 4 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 inch trunks. But never a blossom. I had them on a drip system initially then thinking they weren't getting enough water switched to a soakerhose. I've had success with Okra in the past. Don't know what's happened this year?

I also live in the Phoenix

By Kajltd

I also live in the Phoenix area and have not had any blooms. I wonder if it is because only one seedling survived. It is a healthy looking plant now but had not flowered. Do I have to have more than one plant for flowers to form?
By the way, I had raw okra inHawaii and it was fabulous! I was so looking forward to growing my own.

I had real nice okra plants

By Billy Tomlinson

I had real nice okra plants and they weren't blooming and this older lady told me I needed to whip them and remove some of the leaves I did this and they began to bloom and produce okra.

Removing some leaves sounds

By Andy Darling

Removing some leaves sounds like it might be worth a try; But what do you mean by whipping the plant? Thanks for your input. Andy

I took a class once on

By Nancy O

I took a class once on growing vegs, and learned that when you stress plants by being rough they kick it up a notch and grow better. I have been whipping my tomatoes for years! To whip them you just slap the stems with your hand. Not real hard, just enough to get their attention. I do it almost daily, course I only have about 10 plants. Slapping the blossom area helps them to pollinate themselves. This is my first time growing okra and I will definitely whip them too.

Whipping the Tamale

By Cris Perry

Whipping the Tamale pot

Talking about whipping, I was advised to whip the
pot that I am cooking the
tamales with a kitchen towel to make them cook faster. It works!

Hi, Andy: Considering how

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Andy: Considering how finicky okra can be, it's sometimes a wonder that it's so widespread and popular. The key thing here is that you've had success before. With Clemson? What has changed? Do a detailed comparison with the past. Water (not too much; a good soaking once a week is usually fine)? Sun (love)? Drainage (necessary)? Soil (need fertile, but low nitrogen to phosphorus level, like 5-10-10)? See any pests? Nematodes on the roots? It's funny, but if any one of these factors gets even slightly out of whack, okra will throw a hissy fit and not bloom. Good luck, and thanks for asking!

Hi Andy, My okra does pretty

By Luther Erlund

Hi Andy,
My okra does pretty good and this is my first time to grow it here in Chicago land, however some of the plants get pods which produce nothing and some I get great okra. What if up with that?

one thought is that I have

By Andy Darling

one thought is that I have sweet potato vines growing beneath the okra (okra is getting plenty of sun). Also, this is the first time I tried okra in raised bed. And I think ititially they were under watered; but that was over a month ago.
Thanks for the tips....I'll consider them.

Can anybody tell me what the


Can anybody tell me what the average yield for an Okra plant is? Also, how long can I expect an average plant to keep producing?

Okra's yield really depends

By Almanac Staff

Okra's yield really depends on a number of factors such as: full sun, temperatures consistently above 65 ˚F, 2 inches of watering every 7 to 10 days. Four or five plants generally yield enough produce for most families each season. Once they start producing, you should harvest every 1 to 2 days and the plant will produce pods until the first frost. 

Hello! South Texas here. I

By Kim DLR

Hello! South Texas here.
I planted some okra seeds into containers with good quality potting soil about a month ago. The temperatures here have been in the 90s, with heat index reaching the triple digits. I'm keeping them watered, and I've used Plant Tone organic fertilizer on them once. All three have sprouted, but they are pretty spindly-looking. I saw that they are only supposed to take about two months or so until harvest time...but it's not looking like that's going to happen! They are outdoors, and receiving full sun all day long. What am I doing wrong? Please help...I want okra! Thanks in advance, -Kim

Hi, I live in north Texas and

By macs

Hi, I live in north Texas and had great success planting Okra directly in the ground after tilling it. My soil is clay/sand and dries hard as concrete, yet the Okra thrived in it anyway. Why don't you try planting some more seeds in regular soil rather than potting soil? It couldn't hurt to try it and they just might surprise you.

Hi Macs, and OFA, I planted

By Kim DLR

Hi Macs, and OFA,
I planted some okra seeds directly into the ground and they are doing remarkably well! The plants are nearing five feet in height, with leaves much bigger than dinner plates. Today I will harvest my first okra, although I have no idea what to do with just one. However, I'm seeing beautiful blooms every day. Exciting!
Also, my local nursery told me that 1) I've been using too much Plant-Tone (why plants turn whitish yellow, become spindly, and skimpy looking) and 2) They weren't getting enough sun (same results as too much Plant-Tone). From now on, I'm letting nature do most of the work!
-Kim DLR, from South Texas

Hi, Kim, Stunted growth can

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Kim,
Stunted growth can be an indication of root-know nematodes. Pull the plant out of the ground and check for galls—growths—ont he root. These are caused by nematodes, teeny, tiny worms. Propoer soil and later crop rotation can help avoid this. If you planted okra where you planted squash or sweet potatoes recently, last year, or possibly before that, this could be the problem. Okra should not follow vine crop plants, such as those.
Sandy soil with lots of organic matter, with a pH between 5.8 and 6.5, is optimal. Okra also tends to respond to a high phosphate fertilizer (think of your n-p-k numbers: this is the middle one, which encourages flowers and fruit), but nitrogen as side dressing can help during the fruiting period.

Thank you for your

By Kim DLR

Thank you for your reply!
However, these okra are planted into containers, with a very good organic soil. Can they still get nematodes?

Nematodes are in the soil. A

By Almanac Staff

Nematodes are in the soil. A handful of soil could contain thousands of them. Here's a bit more information: http://nematode.unl.edu/wormgen.htm
Remember, too, that we can not confirm that this is your problem; we only suggest it. If the plant/s is in a pot, why not take one to a local coop extension or nursery and inquire there.
Good luck!

My okra is planted real close

By CDMorgan

My okra is planted real close due to the size of my garden, could this effect it's production? The plants are over 5 ft. and very few blooms. Should I thin them now.

It 's often the heat that

By Almanac Staff

It 's often the heat that stops/slows production—plus, you need to keep them well watered. We're not sure how far apart you planed your okra, but it probably wouldn't help to thin them at this stage. As mentioned on the page above, thinning should actually happen at the seedling stage. When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin the plants so that they are 10 to 18 inches apart. However, we've had okra 6 to 8 inches apart and they've done fine.

Thanx , i have planted

By Azwi netho

Thanx , i have planted unsoaked seeds and next to the river bank, will there be a negative impact?

You can still seed without

By Almanac Staff

You can still seed without soaking; this just makes them sprout up faster. Okra first grew near the Nile River in Egypt! It likes well-drained, sandy soil and hot weather. I'm not sure if that's near your riverbank but okra can usually tolerate a wide range of soils.

Deer have ate all the leaves

By topher1scott

Deer have ate all the leaves and okra off my plants. they are pretty much bare. Will my okra still produce or are they done for?

If you are lucky the plants

By Almanac Staff

If you are lucky the plants may put out new leaves along the stem. It all depends on how much damage the deer did to your plants.

I wish to know how I cam use

By Abraham

I wish to know how I cam use okra seeds to plant okra. I tried twice and I was unsuccessful to plant okra using its own seeds. Once I dried the seeds and once I used fresh seeds from okra itself.

Can anybody give me tips on how to plant okra from its own seeds?



Just a thought - are you

By Matt Harnick

Just a thought - are you trying to use seeds from pods you bought at the store? If so, this will never work as pods used in cooking are immature and the seeds are not fully formed. If you want to grow Okra at all, you will have to beg or buy seeds from mature pods. A clue is that mature seeds should be round and dark-colored a bit like very tiny peas. If you were starting with white, flattened seeds, they were definitely immature. My own method for saving seed is to allow one or two pods to mature and dry on the plant near the end of the season. The pods turn brown and woody and when they split open, I collect the seeds. I hope this helps

We've had great success

By Dewey Paris

We've had great success planting okra from the previous year's seeds, but we deliberately left pods on the plant until they completely matured and dried out and started to split. That way we were sure that the seeds were fully matured.

I've had difficulty getting

By Trubbel

I've had difficulty getting okra seeds to germinate too, but I just wasn't waiting long enough. Seriously, I had several sprout in a pot two weeks after I totally gave up and planted something else on top of them.

One other trick that might help is gently cutting the seeds to break the hull, as is commonly done with Morning Glories.

That is what happens to GMO

By angelea

That is what happens to GMO seeds, they are only fertile once. Get organic seeds and you will have better luck.

what is the efect of spacing

By Joel Useni

what is the efect of spacing on the growth and yield of okra?

I grew 2 25' rows of okra

By Suzy Selinger

I grew 2 25' rows of okra last year, didn't thin them, and regretted it. I couldn't get to the okra pods growing in the center of the rows, and I couldn't even get down between the 2 rows. Due to the tallness of the plants at harvest time, and the stickiness of the plants, I failed to obtain a full harvest. This year I've planted 4 rows, but I'm going to thin as recommended. However, the deer loved the pods I left! So not a total waste.

I live in DE and would like

By Deedles

I live in DE and would like to plant okra. As okra require hot temperatures, will planting them from seeds give the plant enough time to grow and bear fruit in the summer? Also, how deep should the soil be for the plant. I'm thinking of planting in pots and need to know how deep the pots should be.


Hi I'm from Weymouth

By Conniedee

I'm from Weymouth Massachusetts My first experience growing okra was fantastic and I plan to plant some this year as well. I soaked the seeds over night placed them in two long deep flower boxes and sat them on my patio. lots of sun, I also believe the heat from the brick kept the boxes warm. I was picking okra from my plants every day. I did not space them a distance apart they had no problems growing.I froze a large container and had them last week. Hope I have good luck this year as well.
Happy gardening !

Hello We want to research on

By Nikbakht

We want to research on Okra in the university. to calculate Crop water requirement by FAO standard equations, we need Kc (crop coefficient) and period of the four growth stage. Can you help us in this case?

Hi. We are a mother &

By Lori & Rebecca

Hi. We are a mother & daughter living in the Buffalo, NY area. We grew okra twice in the past few years. Our Clemson Spineless did not grow very tall, but we did harvest pods. It did better the first year than the second. We planted in the same space, which may not have been very smart, and the weather was not as hot and dry the second year. We have two seeds started inside, left over from a previous packet. We were wondering if this year (2014) will be good for okra in our area. If it won't be, we may wait to buy more seed another year. We are on a non-smart phone, with no access to a computer in the home, so it is very difficult to find websites that will load on this phone to research this ourselves. If anyone has this information, or knows of non-smart-friendly sites for us to view on this matter, we would very much appreciate that. Happy Growing, and Good Harvests!

For just about any crop that

By James Tipton

For just about any crop that doesn't do well in cold weather there is a simple trick.Start the seeds in early spring relative to your areas climate. Next all you need is to build a simple green house. Heavy plastics hold lots of heat even in cold climates. Junk wood or poles the proper hight are free depending on where you look. In short you can grow anything as long as you prep your garden according.

Okra tends to be a southern

By Almanac Staff

Okra tends to be a southern plant. It could be tricky to grow in upstate New York because okra prefers a long season in warmer temperatures. 
You'd need to start the seeds indoors very early in the spring and then to hold off planting them until late June when the soil is warm. Nights should be in the 60s and days 85 or warmer. It takes 50 to 60 days to harvest.
To germinate, first soak the large seeds overnight. Plant in a very sunny spot with warm soil so the okra stay cozy!

We have dear friends in the

By Jere Roberson

We have dear friends in the Stuttgart area of Germany. They are avid gardeners and produce so well in a limited area that I am amazed. They also produce a few okra plants. They begin them in their southern window,in very early spring, let them grow rather sturdy and then plant them on the south side with heat deflection from the light colored stucco. Before they had met us Okies, they had never eaten okra.

i have heard of an okra that

By meri cate

i have heard of an okra that no matter how big it gets it is as tender as the small ones. i checked at our feed store in my town and told them what i was looking for. they said that was a cowhorn okra. is that what it is and is it really that good?

The cow's horn okra is an

By Almanac Staff

The cow's horn okra is an heirloom and dates back to the Civil War. The large pods are spineless and tender up to 10" long. You can find seeds online.

So glad to hear this. I was

By Mary Rose Noll Hilkemeyer

So glad to hear this. I was worried thst my okra was defective. Lol i was going out one day and it wasnt ready to pick...then the nect dsy i had 6-8 inch long pods. Lol i was almost scared to eat it. I was given heirloom seeds but nobody said it was cowhorn or hiw big it would get. Lol

thank you for your reply.

By meri cate

thank you for your reply. that is what i found at my hometown feed store. thank you for confirming. i am going to have a great crop for my first time.

There is a brand of okra i

By Lady farmer

There is a brand of okra i can buy frozen (Montana brand) that are 1.5 cm or smaller. It is a variety (size) of okra common in middle east, I believe Egypt. I live in Texas and would like to try and grow this small variety. Can you help me figure out what variety this is, where to buy it, and how to grow it. Thanks.

Try "Israeli" or "Jade" -

By stormykitteh

Try "Israeli" or "Jade" - both available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange - dedicated folks who are not as "political" as Baker Creek tends to be. I have also had no off types nor poor germination with SESE (unlike BC).

Baker Creek sells a plant

By pellen

Baker Creek sells a plant called "pink okra" which is really more oh a hibiscus, but the pod is still edible (okra is closely related to hibiscus according to the Baker Creek blurb on pink okra). The pods are small but stubby, so may or may not be what you're looking for. I'll be trying them for the first in time this year.

Baker Creek sells a plant

By pellen

Baker Creek sells a plant called "pink okra" which is really more oh a hibiscus, but the pod is still edible (okra is closely related to hibiscus according to the Baker Creek blurb on pink okra). The pods are small but stubby, so may or may not be what you're looking for. I'll be trying them for the first in time this year.

Okra originates from Egypt

By Almanac Staff

Okra originates from Egypt and there are Egyptian manufacturers of frozen okra, but we do not know what seed they use. Here is the Montana site if you wish to contact them: http://www.montanaeg.com/ Hope this helps.

Those of you in the DFW,

By BunnyWhit

Those of you in the DFW, Texas area, plant that okra! I've had tremendous success with multiple varieties. I've even experimented with three and four varieties intermixed, and they do great. They need the heat. I live in a neighborhood with a day care center behind my house. That property is inclosed with a concrete fence (the type that's cast and painted to look like brick). That wall is on the west side of my house at the back of my yard. That thing gets HOT! I plant okra along that wall across the back of my gardening space. The okra thrives with that incredible heat, and the beautiful, tall okra plants protect the rest of the garden from the searing heat that radiates off that fence. When the okra starts producing, we eat okra every single day and still have enough to freeze. Please try frying/sautéing your okra whole. Whether you dredge them or leave them naked, cooking okra whole preserves their flavor and greatly reduces the slime factor. The more you cut okra, the more slime you get. Frankly, I can never get back inside the house before I've eaten several pods right off the plant.

Thanks! We live in DFW and

By Janine A.

Thanks! We live in DFW and are going to try planting okra for the first time this year. Going to pick up some okra plants next week at the farmers market. We are a family of 4, how many okra plants do you suggest to feed 4? Thanks!

Glad you're interested in

By BunnyWhit

Glad you're interested in okra! I typically have between 12 and 20 plants. It's just the two of us, and that keeps us in okra all season plus some to give (if we're "okra'd out") and some to store. When the plants start producing, I can collect a few pods a couple of days, then cook them. At the height of their production, there is enough for us to eat daily without that wait. If. I have more plants, I usually end up giving away a bit and storing it. I've made pickled okra refrigerator style, and I freeze a lot. If your little ones are small or particularly sensitive, you might want to harvest the okra yourself. The plants do make you itchy. I hope you'll have as much success as I've had. Sometimes by the end of the season I have to send my 6'4" husband out to harvest the okra; I've had plants grow well over seven feet tall. Good luck!

Thanks for the heads up on

By Janine a

Thanks for the heads up on the itchiness! My daughter helped me cut okra one day and she got an itchy rash from the slime so they don't touch it anymore. I have sensitive skin too so I will make sure to use gloves when harvesting. I picked up four okra plants this weekend and we are growing them in pots on our patio so I doubt they will get above 6 feet, but we are looking forward to hopefully getting some good meals out of them! thanks for all the helpful info!!

If you can get the plastic

By Carl lynn

If you can get the plastic bags they throw newspaper in
then you can wear them as gloves when you pick the okra. I usually use the plastic grocery bags as gloves since we usually have so many. Keeps from itching.

Great tip! Thanks!

By Janine A.

Great tip! Thanks!

There's a dwarf strain of

By BunnyWhit

There's a dwarf strain of okra. The plants only get about 3-4' tall. That would be perfect for container gardening. Also, if you're crazy about okra, there's a long pod variety. Pods get 6-7" long and are just as tender and delicious as young, small pods on a standard okra plant. Okra is very easy to grow from seed. At the end of the season, I leave a few pods on the plants to grow and then dry with the stalk. Happy OKRA!

I grew a standard okra last

By pellen

I grew a standard okra last year in a patio picker self watering planter (don't know the type, the starter plants I bought were just lab led okra and it had spines). Grew about ten plants in one container. They did fine. Grew about 4 feet tall. Was picking a good meal every day.

The leaves were good, too, though they were fuzzy and did have a little slime. We're great in stews or rolled up and dipped in humus. I tried a red okra too. It grew fine, but I planted it late in the season and only got one pod before things turned cold. The red had a thicker woody stem and thick roots that grew into the self watering screen. I was able to separate the roots without damaging the screen (yea!).

Going to try clemens spineless from seed this year. I'm hoping the leaves will be fuzz free, because for me, that was the only downside of eating the leaf

Thanks for the info! Do you

By Janine A.

Thanks for the info! Do you know the dimensions of your patio picker?

We live just north of Dallas

By Janine A.

We live just north of Dallas and got a lot of rain yesterday. The okra was doing great until this morning. They are all droopy now. Not sure if they got too much water and not enough sunlight yesterday? Supposed to be cold tonight so we brought the pots indoors. We'll see how they look tomorrow, but right now, they don't look so good. :(

We live in Texas and would

By Janine A.

We live in Texas and would like to plant okra in a pot this summer. The pot has approx 2 ft diameter and is probably 3 feet tall. How many okra plants will fit in this pot?

We plant 6 to 8 plants in the

By stormykitteh

We plant 6 to 8 plants in the center of 30 gallon pots (recycled tree containers) - use a blend of native loamy sand and Metromix. Fertilize every 2 weeks with tobacco blend fertilizer (lower nitrogen) and water every 4 to 5 days now - will be every other day in July. They produce great - which makes me happy because the whole house loves okra - people, dogs, parrot included. Try marinating in Green Thai curry paste with a splash of coconut cream (thick stuff but NOT sweetened) and thread onto 2 bamboo skewers (like the okra are rungs of a ladder) and throw on a medium grill. OMG! Red Thai curry paste works great too.

You can grow okra closer

By pellen

You can grow okra closer together in a self watering container. I grew money about 6 inches apart. The dirt part of the container is only about 8 inches deep, with a water res about 4 inches deep.

Okra is spaced about a foot

By Almanac Staff

Okra is spaced about a foot apart so your container has to be quite large. We'd use a container a least a foot deep, too.


A good sized heavy container

By Mark Bracy

A good sized heavy container should also be considered given the height of the okra and the potential for wind to tip the pot.

I live in Sierra Leone, West

By Abu Gborie

I live in Sierra Leone, West Africa. I have high interest in growing okra in a large scale for profit making. But in Sierra Leone we have only 2 season, the dry season that starts in November and ends in April with no rain at all, and the raining season starts in May and ends in October with only few days of no rain.Which of these two seasons could be the best for me to engage in extensive growing of okra to achieve my goal?

Hello my friend. I now live

By derekstocker

Hello my friend. I now live in South East Europe and will try OKRA for first time.
I lived many years in Zimbabwe where Okra/Ladies Fingers are part of the staple diet with sadza (mealie/corn meal).
As you are in Afrika, and I know the west African climate is tropical, you may well try and find other African websites to help you in your quest.
Good Luck!

I live in Virginia at an

By Jerry B.

I live in Virginia at an elevation of 2500 feet. Every year I plant okra and every year I am disappointed. I have tried different varieties and have probably had a little better success with "North and South" variety. My plants put on good vegetative growth, put on lots of blooms but no fruit. The small pods that form at the base of the blooms look healthy at the time of blooming but they turn brown and fall off a few days after the bloom. We tend to have a lot of cool nights and I am wondering if that is the reason why the pods don't develop. The daytime temperatures are normally in the 80's. I dearly love okra so any insight concerning this problem will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

We live at 2300 ft. in N.

By Breamfishn

We live at 2300 ft. in N. Georgia Mountains and have grown CLEMSON SPINELESS since 2002 and have never has a problem. Local grown Okra is one of the largest selling items at our Farmer's Market and we have one of the largest around. Over 1,000 shoppers every Saturday when the season opens until the season closes. So large, that they had to expand the parking lot by 1/2 again and they are in the process of building a 3rd sales canopy. The County Fire Dept. is on hand to handle the parking. Lots of people at highter elevations than me growing Okra. Check out Union County Farmers Market in Blairsville, Ga. You might want to check our temperature history as compared to yours to see if Clemson Spineless will help you.

Hope this helps you.

Hi Jerry, Fluctuating

By Almanac Staff

Hi Jerry,
Fluctuating temperatures will cause flowers and pods to drop. Try growing okra in containers or raised beds; the soil will be warmer. Also try some of the dwarf varieties that mature faster. Good luck!

Thanks for the information.

By Jerry B.

Thanks for the information. I'll definitely give that a try and see if I have better luck. It will be a good experiment worth trying.

maybe a soil analysis from

By stormykitteh

maybe a soil analysis from your Ag extension office in order? Bet you need some phosphorus and/or some potassium and always magnesium (we use Epsom salts)

please can you tell me when i

By paul falzon

please can you tell me when i can use the seeds..i live in malta...
thank you..

Just sharing: Thank you for

By Omoloya

Just sharing:

Thank you for your okra advice! I live in an apartment in Central NJ and started some okra in a pot this summer. Because my balcony has an eastern exposure (and I planted late), my most vigorous plant produced one, enormous pod. The variety is Pitre's Red Cowhorn.

I brought my plants in for the winter: I now have two, "normal-sized" pods in my living room on that same vigorous okra plant. I am going to cut them now and not wait 'til they get enormous like their inedible sibling!

I live in California, about

By Louisepaul

I live in California, about 2700 ft in elevation. The okra (green type) grew to over 6' and produced LOTS of okra. It is now November, with temps reaching in the low 40F and they are still putting off green pods. Wondering if I left the plants in the ground, could they become permanent? I have enriched the soil with horse manure, and water 2x daily during the summer. ?

Do you get frost? Okra will

By Almanac Staff

Do you get frost? Okra will keep bearing until frost which will indeed kill it.

we DO get frost - usually by

By LouisePaul

we DO get frost - usually by now, but it's still warm. Thanks for your reply.

I am growing okra on

By Rydell

I am growing okra on southwest FL and surprisingly the plants are only about 18 inches tall,about 45 days old and already bearing small pods, the variety is Clemson Spineless,can someone tell me if is this normal?

This type of okra is ready to

By Almanac Staff

This type of okra is ready to harvest in 50 days to 64 days, so you're approaching that zone. You must have had some nice growing conditions! Harvest pods when 3 inches long for the most tender, flavorful okra.

I planted some okra plants

By Sue Seward

I planted some okra plants here in Austin, but the Okra is the pink kind and it's hard like card board! I really prefer the green okra to fry. How do I cook the pink ones that are like card board? I'm thinking of just pulling it up and staring over and making sure I get the green okra plants next time!

If you have a special variety

By Almanac Staff

If you have a special variety of red okra, the red color will disappear when you cook it and the pods will look green.
Okra pods--of any variety--need to be harvested when they are very young--no more than 4 inches long.  It's when they get longer that they get tough like "cardboard." If okra is hard to cut with a sharp knife, its too tough for cooking.

According to the Baker Creek

By pellen

According to the Baker Creek website, pink okra (not to be confused with red okra just for clarity sake here) is not a true okra, but a close cousin in the hibiscus family. The pods are still edible, though. I'm planting some this year to try them out. No idea about recipies, but thanks for the heads up about them being like cardboard in the raw state. Wonder how t he'll hold up to pickling? Another thing to try is grinding the seeds up to see if they make a good "okra coffee". From what I've read, okra coffee has to be judged on its own merits. Don't try to compare it to regular coffee, you either like it for its own taste or you don't.

Please i'll be very happy if

By emmmanuel

Please i'll be very happy if you can add the diagram of the life cycle of the okra plant

I had a very productive

By Juanita Mckenzie

I had a very productive summer crop of okra here in Washington, D.C.Okra grew over 6 feet and I had to pick it every other day.I have had plenty of okra all summer. When is it time to pull it up to start the fall garden?

Glad to hear that you had a

By Almanac Staff

Glad to hear that you had a productive summer. Pull your okra plants now. Try cold weather vegetables like lettuce, collards and cabbage for a fall garden.

Hey, I've been trying to grow

By Melle

Hey, I've been trying to grow okra from seeds for about 1 month now, not having a great success rate. I live in Adelaide, South Australia and it's mid spring here now. Just wondering if okra will grow here? the vegetable is pretty much unheard of in Australia

Okra needs warmth to

By Almanac Staff

Okra needs warmth to germinate and grow. You can start seeds indoors if you like. When seeding okra directly in the ground, wait until the air temperature is at least 16°C and plant in full sun. Before planting soak the seeds overnight or nick each seed to encourage germination.

Quite excited! Planted seeds

By Dory

Quite excited! Planted seeds 3 days ago in paper cups and now I see the sprouts. I placed them inside the bathroom to get some warm moisture but not yet directly under the sun. When is it safe to bring them out to get full sunlight before I transplant them in my garden plot? How many days after they sprouted?

Dory, where do you live?

By Almanac Staff

Dory, where do you live?  Okra is usually planted in the spring once the soil has warmed or in the fall about 3 months prior to frost. Even in southern Texas, this would be first part of August so they have time to grow before frost. If you are in a place without frost, work the soil about 8 inches deep and mix in compost about 2 inches deep. Plant once your seedlings have their second true set of leaves and space 18 inches apart. Water in. Then keep soil fairly dry; water every 7 to 10 days.

Does cutting the stem and

By Melroy

Does cutting the stem and leaf just below the okra pod hell or hurt the plant or growth?

Leave the leaves and harvest

By Almanac Staff

Leave the leaves and harvest pods daily to keep okra producing.

I let my pods get to big and

By Carol D. Shaw

I let my pods get to big and woody to use. The seeds inside are still soft. Are these edible or should I just toss these and wait for some smaller ones?

Usually, if the pods are too

By Almanac Staff

Usually, if the pods are too mature, the pods are tough. Try cutting through a pod with a sharp knife; if they are tough, they're unsuitable for eating. If not, go for it!  You should remove old pods from the plant or it will stop producing. Or, you can choose to save the seeds for next year by leaving some pods on the plant and harvesting them when they become fully mature and almost dry.

You can dry the seeds and

By pellen

You can dry the seeds and grind them like coffee beans and put in a coffee maker to make a drink like you would coffee. I'm being careful here because from what I've read, people call this okra drink "coffee" in reference to how it's made, not what it taste like. Folks who thought they were going to get a coffee flavor are disappointed in the taste, but those who drink it for its own flavor seem to like it. I haven't tried it yet but am planning to this year

I want to save some of my

By Elizabeth Tipton

I want to save some of my okra seeds to plant next year how should I dry out the pods ? I prefer to take them off the plant first

Saving okra seeds is fairly

By Almanac Staff

Saving okra seeds is fairly easy. Just let the pods dry on the plant. When you can shake the pods and hear the seeds, the seeds are dried out and ready. Store them in a cool, dry place.

My okra is 3ft. tall I live

By Terence

My okra is 3ft. tall I live in Michigan I haven't seen pods yet but have noticed flowers is it time to be patient and still let grow or should I clip the flowers to get the pods please let me know I know that I did plant them to close for a first time grower I've have about twenty in a 2 x2 area please reply

Our sources suggest that, in

By Almanac Staff

Our sources suggest that, in your area, pods should follow flowers in about five days. However, remember that okra is a warm (hot!) weather crop; cool, wet, cloudy days will retard it maturity. Be patient. When pods get to be 2 to 3 inches, long, start picking. If you wait for them to get larger, the plant could stop producing—and they get tough as they larger. Good luck, yours sounds like a great crop!

I live in N Ga. I planted

By MarkA

I live in N Ga. I planted Okra the First of July. It looks GREAT, however there are NO blooms. Its about 4' tall and looks very healthy. I am hoping to get some out of all my efforts. Hopefully next near I can get an earlier start. Its the Middle of August now and the days are getting cooler plus we have had lots of rain. But again, it looks extremely healthy. Thanks

Please advice watering

By Stephen Chakkravarthy

Please advice watering sequence for Okra plant. We have pretty sturdy leaves growing, with less yield. Also advice the type of pruning needed.

Okra likes a drier climate so

By Almanac Staff

Okra likes a drier climate so let the soil dry out between waterings to avoid rot. It really depends on your climate. A half-inch of water per week is adequate (including rainwater).  Pick the pods when they are 1 to 4 inches. Don't wait too long.

do you have to stake and tie


do you have to stake and tie as the plant grows? Like a tomato plant?

I've had great success with

By Jen M Austin

I've had great success with Clemson Spineless in Austin, TX Zone 8. They are extremely sturdy plants. I never staked them, and they stood about 3.5 feet tall. Once they really got going, I had to pick at least every other day (until first frost) to keep okra from getting too woody. Good luck!

Okra can get quite tall as it

By Almanac Staff

Okra can get quite tall as it matures so, yes, a stake might be needed to support to keep your okra plant from leaning over.

My okra plants are over 5'

By teresa stokley

My okra plants are over 5' tall but are not producing pods??? I've only cut 4 pods from over 25 plants?? help?

How's the weather? Okra needs

By Almanac Staff

How's the weather? Okra needs temperatures above 80 degrees to grow--hot, hot, hot! Pods usually appear in two months. Often, slow growth is slow in the beginning --and then very quick! 

I'm trying to figure out if

By suzicat

I'm trying to figure out if my okra is still good...at least good enough to make pickles with them. I received a 1/2 bushel of okra that I've been trying to use up for the past 2 weeks. It still looks pretty good in the box on my dining room table with no refrigeration. I cut one open last night and there is a BLACK SEED CANAL but the other seed canals looked fine as did the outside of the okra. They are starting to get a couple of brown spots but they are not soft or black on the outside. Any advice would be most appreciated!

would like to see a picture

By cynthia whetstone

would like to see a picture of okra in flower stage,never grown it before want to be sure and get full plants

I planted some okra seeds a


I planted some okra seeds a couple of weeks ago and are now about 3 to 4 inches high. If I thin them out like its recommended can I replant the ones I pull out somewhere else?
Can the ones I take out be saved or will they died if I transplant them somewhere else.

Here's a yummy way to enjoy

By Beeba

Here's a yummy way to enjoy okra. Pick, wash ,and cut into disks. Fry in a small amount of hot oil (no coating). When crisp, drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with garam masala. Garam masala is a spice blend used in Indian cooking and can be found in Indian grocery stores. Great as a snack or as a side dish with pork loin.

has anyone tried okra chips?

By california queen

has anyone tried okra chips? i think you liquid nitrogen them and add salt. tried some at the grocery store the other day and they were DELICIOUS!!

interested in the okra

By Crystal0608

interested in the okra chips???? Can I get more info?????


By Anonymous

I planted some okra seedlings in my garden bout 6 weeks ago and they are growing very slow....is that ok or do I need to replant...they've only grown 2 inches taller in the last month

be patient

By Anonymous

I had the same issue with my plants last year. Give them time. Okra won't start to really take off and grow well until the heat hits consistently and the soil warms up. Once warmer days arrive though, watch out! My Clemson spineless was well over 10 feet tall by late summer in 2012.

Can you freeze whole then

By Anonymous

Can you freeze whole then thaw without it being soggy like peppers

Yes, you can freeze okra. The

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can freeze okra. The smooth types freeze better than the ridged types. Here are instructions from the OK cooperative extension: How to freeze okra: Select young tender pods and separate into small pods (4 inches or under) and large pods. Wash. Remove the stems at the end of the seed cells, being careful not to expose the seed cell. Water blanch small pods 3 minutes and large pods 5 minutes. Cool promptly and drain. Leave whole or slice crosswise. Package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.

Okra up north.

By Anonymous

How long will okra last in weather that changes often and doesn't always reach 75 degrees?

We can only say that okra is

By Almanac Staff

We can only say that okra is most productive when the nights are at least in the 60s and days 85 or warmer. If it’s not hot or hasn’t been sunny, then your okra may just need a little more time to grow.

Are there any other vegatables that okra should not be planted ?

By Anonymous

What should okra not be planted close to?

Okra can get along with most

By Almanac Staff

Okra can get along with most plants and we do not know of any bad companions. Good companions are eggplant basil and pepper. Okra prefers soil with a near-neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.0, so that fits many plants.

Okra companion gardening

By Anonymous

In my experience, okra does not like tomatoes. The plants that grew next to the tomatoes were very small and didn't produce much.

I have lots of them from

By Ernest Nketia

I have lots of them from Ghana & are Clemson spineless. They are very sweet cos of our tropics & good land. Anyone in need of commercial quantities can link up for us to do business. +233 20 8332838. nexlinks@gmail.com


By Anonymous

I have a question or two can you block plant okra and if so what would be the best setting out measurements for transplants

I grow okra in a 42"x42"

By Love my Okra

I grow okra in a 42"x42" raised bed garden. I plant 8 plants in the garden.

First row -- 10" from edge of garden -- 3 plants at 10" apart

Second row -- middle of garden -- 2 plants at 14" apart and 14" from the edge of the garden

Third row -- 10" from opposite edge of garden -- 3 plants at 10" apart.

My okra plants grew to about 7' tall last year and produced enough okra to have for dinner once a week and I froze enough large sandwich freezer bags to give away 8 packages and still have enough to have it once a week through the winter. Just ran out about a month ago.

For square foot gardening

By Almanac Staff

For square foot gardening plant 1 or 2 plants in a square. If you are planning bigger blocks plant the okra in rows 2 feet apart.

okra taller than 5 or even 6 ft

By Anonymous

I have had okra plants up to 7 and 8 ft tall never seen any like that a had a cop stop and look thought i was growing weed because of it being so tall

Tall okra

By Anonymous

Mine got very tall as well. I fertilized with about 1 TBSP of fertilizer when plant was about a foot tall. again when blossoms appeared. Cover fertilizer with dirt and water.

Okra also makes great

By Anonymous

Okra also makes great pickles. You can google any pickle recipe and make it into a refrigerator pickle if you don't want to bother with canning. I make a lemon okra pickle that's delish when the weather's warm.

Lemon Okra Pickle

By Anonymous

Would you care to share the recipe for lemon okra pickle.

how to put up and store okra

By Anonymous

You should wash okra, let it dry, then cut it and freeze. Works alot better than trying to cut it frozen. Just shake out the amount you want, flour or meal while frozen, and fry.

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