Saving your own vegetable seeds is fun and it’s a great way to be more resourceful. So in this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about saving okra seeds.
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Okra plants are one of my best-producing vegetables each year in my summer garden. But they grow so fast that they need to be harvested almost daily or the pods get too big.
Okra tastes best when the pods are small and tender because as they get bigger the pods are tough. So at that point, I still harvest but I toss them out or chop them up and feed them to my chickens.
But early on in the season, it’s important to continue harvesting the okra even if the pods are too big to eat because it keeps the plants productive.
But as you approach the end of the season you can leave some of the large pods on the plants to save the seeds.
However, if you decide to save seeds there are a few important things to know so you have a successful planting.
If you like videos you can watch the entire process along with a few quick tips in my YouTube video below. Or continue through the article where I’ll cover all of the important information.
How to Save Okra Seeds
Saving seeds from huge okra pods that are no longer good to eat is a great way to use them. So here are all of the important steps that go into saving seeds from your okra plants.
Plant and Save Seeds from Heirloom Varieties
First, if you plan to save seeds you need to plant an heirloom variety.
Heirloom plants are true to their variety and have been passed down for many generations versus hybrids that are a cross of multiple varieties, bred to have specific qualities.
Hybrid varieties are still great to plant for many reasons but you shouldn’t save their seeds because they won’t be the same variety as the parent plant.
However, when you save seeds from an heirloom plant that is the variety you will get.
Keep Plants Isolated
The next important step for successful seed saving is that you should only have one variety of each plant species you want to save seeds from.
The reason for this is to avoid cross-pollination. Plant species cannot cross-pollinate but plant varieties can.
For example, if you have two different varieties of okra growing in your garden they can cross-pollinate and the seeds you save may be a cross between both of those varieties.
But planting different plant species such as okra and cucumbers in the same space will not cause cross-pollination.
Let Pods Mature and Dry on the Plant
Once you decide to save seeds you need to let some of the okra pods fully mature on the plant and dry out.
If you harvest the pods too soon the seeds may not be fully mature yet. But if you leave the pods on the plant until they start to dry out and crack, you can be sure that the seeds inside are fully mature.
Harvest Okra and Remove Seeds
After the okra pods have dried on the plant and slightly started to crack it’s time to harvest them off of the stalk and save their seeds.
You can usually break open the pods with your fingers and all of the seeds will fall out. Or you can carefully cut open the pods with garden shears.
Store Seeds Properly
Lastly, after taking all of the seeds out of the dried-out pods store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry spot.
Seeds should be viable for 2 years but if you use them up the next season you will get the best germination rates.
If you want to save your seeds this year but don’t have heirloom varieties planted or maybe you have multiple varieties growing in your garden then I would recommend waiting until next year so that you can follow the correct steps to harvest good quality seeds that can be planted successfully.
Here is a quick overview of how to save okra seeds,
- plant one heirloom variety
- let the okra pods fully mature and dry out on the plant
- carefully break open the dried-out pods and remove the seeds
- store the seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place.