Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

How Big Does Okra Get?

On October 20, I began removing all of the hot weather crops from the garden. The next step is to add and mix in some more compost and prepare for the cool weather crops. When it came time to remove the okra, I was truly impressed with the size of some of the okra stalks.

This particular one had been blown over on its side and continued to grow to the massive size you see in the photo. Although the stalk was huge, this particular one wasn’t among the best producing plants in the garden – perhaps because it was expending energy on plant growth rather than okra pods. It did OK, but was not the best. Seeds from this one were not saved.

Okra stalk at the end of the summer growing season - October 20.


  1. Nicolas Derome

    I’m in Canada (Toronto suburbs) and I’m truly impressed at the thickness of my okra stalks. Did not expect that from an annual plant. Despite being further north, and despite having more than a month until our average first frost date, the stalks are already a good inch thick, like a small tree trunk… Not sure if I’ll even be able to compost it.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thanks for the update, Nicolas. That’s quite a surprise – I’ve always thought of okra as strictly a southern crop. What variety is it? (Clemson Spineless is my standard variety.)

      I’ve almost given up on trying to compost crop waste in a conventional composting system. Now, my standard procedure is to use a flail mower to shred it all and let it rot directly into the ground. My BCS will shred anything that it can push over, and the thickest okra stalks and standing corn is quickly turned into a mulch.

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