When planning your garden, it can be important to keep in mind what types of plants tend to do well when planted near each other. These plants are called companion plants. They can help each other grow and thrive through a variety of benefits they provide each other. Learn about companion planting and what okra companion plants you should consider when planting your garden this year.
Why Companion Planting
Companion planting pairs plants that thrive together in the same general area of the garden. This allows them to work together to deter pests, boost growth and production, and allow for beneficial insects and pollination. Companion plants can enrich the soil and diversify the garden, which can improve your overall crop. They can also help each other in an organic garden, by allowing for different nutrients in the soil to increase other plants’ growth and boosting harvests.
Alternatively, if your plants are not compatible, it could cause issues for you down the road. Plants that attract the same diseases and pests are more susceptible, and more likely to get sick or damaged. They can interfere with the growth and health of other plants, too, by using up all the same nutrients in the soil or soaking up all the water before other nearby plants can get what they need. Companion plants can help reduce these negative side effects of gardening.
What to Plant With Okra
When selecting companion plants for your okra, you should consider the needs of both your okra and the other plants. These needs include temperatures, sun/shade preferences, and watering needs. Oka thrives in warm regions, so your companion plants should also do well in similar conditions.
Okra grows on tall stalks, often reaching 6 feet by the end of the summer. Be sure to plant only companion plants that don’t need a lot of sun and maybe even those that prefer shade, because okra can reduce the sun in that area of your garden.
Because of okra’s height, some of the best companion plants for okra include lettuce. The tall plant shades the greens from the hot sun. Another plant that can benefit from the shade of your okra is melons (which also have the added benefit of attracting pollinators to your plants).
Another great option for companion planting with okra is peas. Planting the peas and okra together, the okra seedlings won’t crowd the peas until temperatures are higher, allowing you to harvest the peas. Peas add nitrogen to the soil naturally, so they can help with the overall health of the soil, too. Eggplant is another option for soil benefits, because eggplant releases potassium for the okra to benefit from.
Like peas, you can also plant radishes at the same time as okra. Plant the okra and radish seeds together, about 3-4 inches apart per row. The radishes loosen the soil as their roots grow, allowing the okra to grow strong roots deeper into the earth.
Additionally, you can find companion plants that help with pest and disease prevention for your okra. These plants can repel certain insects from the area, protecting each other from damage by common pests.
By planting peppers after you harvest the radishes, you can protect the okra from cabbageworms, which are known to feed on okra leaves.
Another plant you can grow alongside okra is tomatoes. When companion planted, tomatoes act as a trap crop, luring stink bugs away from okra plants.
Beyond fruits and vegetables to pair with okra plants, flowers can be a great option to increase pollination in the area. Sunflowers work well, as they attract pollinators who can then visit the okra, encouraging the okra flowers to bloom. Herbs can also be a great addition to your okra. You can plant basil near your okra, repelling flea beetles from your plants to reduce the chance of damage to your okra.
Companion plants can naturally support each other so they can grow strong and healthy. By naturally improving the soil to deflecting pests that may cause damage, companion plants for your okra can ensure a healthy harvest at the end of the season.