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Canada: Looking for a new crop opportunity? Try Okra!With spring quickly approaching, you might be looking for new crops to grow. Okra, a semi-woody plant widely grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, is worth considering. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) has been working with this crop for the past five years and can offer growers comprehensive information on cultivating okra in Canada.
There is a market for okra. Did you know that in 2015 Canada imported over six million kilograms of okra valued at nearly CAD $12 million, an increase of 43 per cent since 2011.
Vineland has conducted a series of agronomic trials to better understand how to grow this crop in southern Ontario and other parts of Canada. Results indicate okra can be successfully cultivated in Canada during the summer months. Other key findings include:
- Best performing varieties of okra are Jambalaya F1, Lucky Green F1 and Elisa F1
- Okra performs best in well-drained soil with good organic matter and at a temperature range of 21ºC to 30ºC since it is sensitive to cold temperatures and frost
- Black plastic mulch should be used to warm soil in the spring, help conserve soil moisture and control weeds
- To obtain high yields, okra should be planted on raised beds with double rows spaced 160 cm to 180 cm apart and plants spaced 20 cm to 25 cm within rows. Findings show yields decrease as spacing increases from 25 cm to 56 cm.
- For best results, apply 75 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare
For the upcoming growing season, Vineland can supply growers interested in testing okra with seed samples.
For more information:
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Viliam Zvalo, PhD Research Scientist, Vegetable Production
Publication date: 4/3/2017
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