Organic farming of Okra

Organic farming of Okra; methods to follow

Organic farming is mainly used to produce environment friendly yields and products. From the propagation till the harvest, everything provided to the crop are natural and safe. Organically farmed fruits and vegetables are a source of nutrients and other compounds useful for the human body. If we still continue to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, we will give birth to a generation with less immune system and will be prone to diseases.

It’s high time we stop following the conventional farming techniques and practice organic farming.

Here we are going to discuss about okra farming.

Okra, also known as ladies finger is a warm season crop. They are rich source of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fibre. The fruit contains a sticky liquid inside them which are used to make thicken sauces.

These crops varieties are cultivated around different countries due to its nutritional value. Apart from fruits, these crops are also used for their leaves, bud, flowers, pods, stem and seeds.

Okra is posed to have a unique texture with peach-like fuzz on the outer body and the inner portion contains lobules with small seeds.

Okra is rich in Iron, phosphorus, copper and anti-oxidants. Scientifically these organic matters tend to decrease the possibility of cancer. They also tend to have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.

Okra is one of the major crops in India. Indians call them Bhendi. Okra is a tropical crop which requires moderate and humid temperature to sustain. They are usually grown at an altitude of 1200m. The preferred temperature for plant growth is between 24-28 degree Celsius. Surprisingly, higher temperature can increase the growth of the crop but delays fruiting. Above 42 degree celcius may cause flower drops.

Mostly, the initial compost applied to soil before planting includes earthworms, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. After this, fixed amount of neem cake is applied. All these combinely improve the texture of the soil, water holding capacity as well as better root development. Wooden burnt ashes are also used as a source of fertilizer.

Main crop varieties of okra include Green fruited and red fruited. Green fruited varieties consist of Kiran, Susthira, Arka Anamika etc. whereas red fruited consists of Co-1 and Aruna

The best soil to cultivate Okra is well-drained loamy soil which contains a better amount of humus. The pH value should be between 6 – 6.8.

Okra is also grown in garden soil.

For the summer variety crops, seed rate is 20 kg/ha which is mainly sown in January – February.

Before planting the seeds, they are dipped in water for 12 hours. After that, they are treated with diluted cow urine solution. This helps to reduce bacterial and fungal infections. The standard space maintained between each crop is 30cm and they are usually brought up on ridges.

If the seeds are left unsolved, they are packed in polythene covers after treating with Trichoderma and pseudomonas because it increases the storage life of the seeds up to 7 months.

Steps in applying manures and fertilizers:

  • Application of fresh cow dung slurry.
  • Treat them with biogas slurry.
  • Next cow urine is applied.
  • Progressively, vermiwash, vermicompost and ground nut cake is applied.

Pests are insects are the major threat to okra plants. Major pests which infect okra plants are:

  • Shoot and fruit borer
  • Leaf hoppers
  • Flea beetles
  • Aphids
  • Stink bugs
  • Earworms

Major diseases affecting okra are:

  • Powdery mildew
  • Fuserial wilt
  • Leaf spot
  • Damping off
  • Fruit rot
  • Anthracnose

Normally, the fruits are plucked after 45-65 days of sowing. The yield mainly depends on the crop variety.

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