Introduction to okra production is one of the most widely grown vegetables. The tender fruits are cooked as vegetables. It contains vitamin A. B and C with little iron.. they’re grown from tropics to sub-tropics and warmer parts of the temperate regions of the country. Matured fruits and stems containing crude fibers are used in the paper industry. Introduction to okra production can never be over emphasized. In some places, the plants are soaked in water and the resulting solution is used as a clarifier.
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INTRODUCTION TO OKRA PRODUCTION
Bhindi Abelmoschus, also known as lady finger belonging to the family of Malvaceae is a herbaceous annual bisexual flower and erect vegetative growth with or without branches. The fruit is a capsule that may be light green, green, or sometimes red. The greatest increase in fruit weight, length, and diameter occurs during the fourth to the sixth day after flowering. At this stage, the quality was also high in all the varieties. Usually, the fiber formation in the pod starts from the fifth to the sixth day of formation and sudden increases in fiber content from the ninth.
INTRODUCTION TO OKRA PRODUCTION AND ITS CULTURAL PRACTICES
Climatic and soil requirements
Okra production requires hot and humid weather that is suitable for the growth of okra. Soil temperature should be at least 16°c for adequate germination. The optimum temperature requirement is 24-27°c and a temperature higher than 42°C may cause flower drop. During the summer season, it is always desirable to maintain a temperature range of 30-35°c for improved pollination and subsequent seed setting. It grows best in comparatively light soils ranging from Sandy loan to loan though it gives good crops in heavier soils with efficient drainage facilities during the rainy season. A pH of 6-6.8 is ideal for okra cultivation.
Okra in Nigeria can be grown throughout the year where frost and severe winter is absent. In the plain areas, the first sowing is done around February, the second during June-July and the third during September-October. In regions where frost occurs, the third sowing in Sept-Oct is not done.
Okra should be done in ridges if the soil is heavy and does not have an adequate drainage facility. For raising a commercial crop, a seed drill can also be used for sowing. During the summer season, the seed should be soaked in water for 12-24 hours before sowing. Ridges and lines should be prepared in the east-west direction for easy passing of air during summer and rainy seasons.
Growing okra in Nigeria requires rows that should be 30-45cm apart and plant about 20-30cm which requires 20-30kg/have of seeds. Seed rates depend on sowing time, cultivars and spacing. Comparatively wider spacing (60x30cm) has been recommended for the rainy season and requires 10-12 kg/have to seed. Hybrid cultivars are sown at a spacing of 60×40 cm in the rainy season due to branching habits.
- Nutritional Requirements
Depending on the type of soil and its fertility status the following recommendation was made, 20t FYM, 80-100 kg of nitrogen, and 50-60kg of phosphorus and potash/have. FYM should be applied in the soil at the time of field preparation along with the whole quantity of P and K before sowing. One-third dose of nitrogen should be added to the soil before sowing while the remaining nitrogen should be applied in between the rows of the standing crop in equal installments about 4weeks after sowing and at flowering and fruiting.
6. Intercultural operations
Weeds reduce more than 50% of the yield of the okra crop. Hoeing and weeding should be done at regular intervals depending upon the need. Application of pendimethalin at 1.0gm/have. With one hand weeding at 40days after sowing. Keeping crop weed-free is found economical for how to grow okra.
There should be sufficient moisture in the soil at the time of seed sowing. First irrigation should be given after the seed has germinated, subsequent irrigation may be given at the interval of 4-5 days during summer.
only the tender, young pods free from fiber should be harvested at every three or four days interval. Frequent picking is necessary to help pick the tender pods and to help increase in fruiting and yield.
about 80 quintals of green fruits per hectare during spring and about 125 quintals in the rainy season is optimum.
INTRODUCTION TO OKRA PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT
After harvest, the fruits are graded, for processing in the industry and fresh fruit and export. 6-8cm long fruits are sorted out. Longer fruits are suitable for the fresh market. Grading also helps in the local market in securing premium prices. For local markets, fruits are filled in jute baskets or bags, covered or stitched, and then water sprinkled over them. This helps in cooling as well as in the turgidity of fruits, which tightens the pack and saves products from bruises, blemishes, and blackening. Fresh bhindi fruits could be stored at 7-9°C and 70-75% RH for a couple of days without much loss in color, texture, or weight.
INTRODUCTION TO OKRA PRODUCTION AND DISEASES
Yellow vein Mosaic virus……..
When the disease appears very early all the leaves become completely yellow, later on, turn brown, dry up and shrink. Such plants hardly bear flowers and the plant dies prematurely. If the infection takes place at the later stages, the earlier formed leaves on the main stem remain green whereas the top leaves and the flowering parts, and also the secondary branches show clear symptoms. Chemical control of insects is difficult. Destruction of the alternative host, control of whitefly and other sucking insects and uprooting and burying of infected plants, use of resistant varieties are some of the measures to reduce the vector population and also the diseases
INTRODUCTION TO OKRA PRODUCTION AND HEALTH BENEFITS
Introduction to Okra production and health benefits for man in Nigeria and all the world cannot be overemphasized. It has many benefits of which the following are these:
- Contains vitamins A, B, AND C
- Rich in calcium
- Rich in folic acid
- An antioxidant
- Has anti-cancer properties
- Rich in fiber.
- Has iron content
- Beneficial to men for sperm production.
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