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Aug 6, 2012 10:52 AM

Whipping okra

Got your attention, didn't I? lol. In my quest to find info on dehydrating whole pods of okra, ala Fresh Market, I ran across mention of this 'ole timey method to get your okra to produce more. Seems one would take a cane or stick and "whip" some of the leaf stems off, using a downward motion. In addition to the stress causing the plant to produce more, it reduces the amount of leaves to irritate your skin.

I didn't whip my okra, but just this morning broke off 3 or 4 leaf stems per plant to try this out. Anyone else heard of this? The idea of stressing the plants to increase production does sound vaguely familiar to me. I wonder if this would work on other vegetables.

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  1. Goodness, why would one need or want to??

    My okra - even in containers - produce more than I can nearly keep up with. If your okra aren't producing well, I'd be looking more towards improving your soil, watering, fertilizing, & other options before I'd start beating or de-leafing the plants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bacardi1

      I may have planted later than you. The plants just recently developed side branches.

    2. I'd like to see a Youtube of that. Okra produces at the top of the plant so do you want to break off stems at the top or the bottom?

      Yes, I did expect to see a post about an okra dessert.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tcamp

        The writer said she was breaking off the leaf stem below each pod as she harvested the pod. I am not that brave yet, just took a few of the lowest leaves off each plant. They actually dry up and drop off on their own anyway. She also said her plants got much taller as a result.

        An okra dessert? Sounds like something you'd see on Iron Chef or Chopped, doesn't it?

      2. It sounds similar to gashing the trunk of an apple or cherry tree that, for whatever reason, is producing less than in years past. Deer, rabbits and mice all can do the same thing to the trunk by nibbling the bark.

        I have cut okra back (the top fourth of the plant) in midsummer, but that was when I was getting too many okra pods at one time.

        1. Okra produces like crazy here in Georgia. Years ago I had a row of okra in the garden. It had stopped producing, so a kindly old neighbor "topped" the plants and this jump started them. This year was a bumper crop year for okra. After freezing 5 one-gallon bags, i decided to just cut the okra off at ground level - remembering my topping experience. Well, it regrew and started producing even more okra! I had okra until frost, but this okra was sweeter and more tender.

          This works for tomatoes too. Keeping the tops cut back and the lower branches trimmed off encourages production.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hippioflov

            Question: My okra grew bumper crops (I'm in NC) and I harvested until end of stalks are still in the garden but of course they're dormant. Have you had any experience cutting them to almost ground level at the end of the season and having them come back in the spring? I normally just pull them up and re-seed but thought I'd ask if anyone tried this.

            1. re: Cherylptw

              Morning Cheryl......

              Don't think this will work. ~~ Need to replant every year.

          2. I "whip" Okra every year and have for as long as I remember.
            What you are actually doing is removing large leaves that block sunlight to the bloom heads and suck nutrients from the plant. Your are not removing 'limbs' that produce okra... just large, unneeded leaves. ~ I do this (as needed) as I cut/harvest the Okra. It works!