Lifestyles
Saving okra seeds to plant next spring
By Krystl Philyaw, Grayson County Master Gardener
Oct 11, 2020
Print this page
Email this article

Okra plants are relatives of the hibiscus and Rose of Sharon plants.  The beautiful blooms on the okra plant form edible pods that are great fried or used in soups and stews.  Growing okra is not hard; the plants are very hardy here in North Texas. 

The challenge is harvesting.  If you have grown okra, you know harvesting needs to be done regularly to catch the pods at their tenderest when they are two to three inches long.  During the peak of the season, this may mean harvesting two, three times per day. 

Good sized pod to have for dinner 2-3.

For me, I always seem to miss one here or there until it is too large to eat.  Most of the time, I will cut the pod that is too large and put it in the compost pile.  Late in the season, if I find a pod that is too large, I will leave it on the plant.  I do this to be able to save the seeds to plant next year.

When you leave a pod on the plant, it will grow to seven or eight inches long and about the diameter of a quarter.  One pod will produce plenty of seeds for you to plant next season.  I prefer to leave several pods on each plant.  I get plenty of seeds for myself and plenty to give away. 

 

These are too long and tough to eat leave to dry for seeds.

 

Leave the pod on the plant until it is completely dried.  It will turn from green or red (I grow red okra) to a tan/white color.  If you shake the pod, you can hear the seeds rattling inside.  Cut the dried pod off the plant and let it dry another week or two in a cool, dry place.  A brown paper lunch sack works well.  After a couple of weeks, remove the pods from the bag and split them open.  Splitting the pods open is easy to do when they are dry.

 

Dried pod on a stalk.

 

Open the pods over a large bowl to keep the seeds from rolling everywhere.  After you have opened all your pods, pour the seeds back into the brown paper sack.  Close up the bag, be sure to date and label it and store in a cool, dry location.  I keep my brown bag on a shelf in a spare bedroom closet.  When next spring arrives, and the soil has warmed, you are ready to plant.  It is that simple to have an endless supply of okra in your garden.  

 

Grayson County Master Gardeners Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Reach us by email at mastergardeners@co.grayson.tx.us, by phone 903-813-4204, our web page txmg.org/grayson, or our Facebook group.