How do I grow cotton?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Burbsteader, May 13, 2004.

  1. Burbsteader

    Burbsteader Well-Known Member

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    We went to the local Milkfest as a school field trip and part of the demonstration was feed. They gave everyone a few bits of corn and some cotton seed to handle (helped keep the city kids from destroying the bales they were sitting on ;) ) Anyway, being the curious type that I am, I kept the cottonseed and germinated it.

    Now I have no idea what to do with it. Can anyone tell me how (or if) I can grow a couple plants here? I have absolutely no clue about cotton plants other than what I've seen in pictures. If anyone can post some info, tips or links that would be great.

    I usually plant oddball plants every year just to see how they work out or in the case of cotton, to help the kids understand where 90% of their clothes come from. Or to see if a plant could be a viable foodsource in the garden during times of need in the future.

    Anyway, I really need some help to figure out what to do with these.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Where is 'here'? :)

    I grew some 30 year old seeds back 20 years ago in a box in a window. Up here in Minnesota we don't have the growing season, but of the 6 seeds I planted I ended up with 2 large balls & a small one. Was kinda neat. As with any farm crop, lots odf details & such to get a great crop, but pretty easy just to get it to produce something.

    --->Paul
     

  3. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My parents had the child beauty pageant thing- they made me compete in the Little Miss Maid of Cotton pageant every year from ages 6 to 11. I never won, and they gave me a real complex about it- since I'm the original tomboy.

    Anyway, back on topic -the bouquets we carried were cotton bolls in a bouquet holder. One year my dad teased some of the cotton seeds out of the bouquet and next spring he planted them along the sidewalk, in the heavy Virginia clay that passed for dirt.
    We got what seemed to be a good sized bush to my elementary school sized eyes, out of the 3 or 4 seeds he planted. As I recall, it was a perrinial that stayed alive a couple years till we moved away. No, we didn't do anything with the cotton bolls...my dad had already by then toured me thru meat packing plants, kellogs plants, sugar plants, OJ plants, dairies, bakeries, tobacco barns and a few mills...I was not a kid who thought that food and clothing came from the food and clothing factories, even tho we never really produced anything ourselves but salad greens and strawberries...
     
  4. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    Burbsteader, I was raised on a small cotton farm, this was our cash crop back in the 50's and main source of income. I didn't like it much at the time but looking back I have a lot of pleasant memories. Cotton is a very hardy plant is easy to grow just don't overdo the nitrogen. I would put a little 6-8-8 (600-700 lbs. per acre) under it and sidedress with a little nitrogen and potash mixed 50/50 (200 lbs. per acre)(probably about 10,000 plants per acre). Cotton is a pretty plant in bloom, looks something like okra but there are lots of bugs that like it so you might have to spray it with insecticide to get a good fruit set. The little blooms before they open are called squares and they form into bolls which will open and produce the cotton in the fall. Good luck with it, I think I might try some if I can find seed.

    Tom
     
  5. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    cotton likes long hot days and warm nights. It is the hibiscus family. If you can grow okra you can grow cotton as the plants are cousins.

    A service station owner in Waxahachie, Tx used to plant it in beds by the street and got lots of comments from tourists that were able to get the kids out of the car and look at the plants up close. He usually snagged a handful of seed out of our pickup during planting season.

    Depending on variety and conditions it will get from knee high to waist high. Let the bolls split open and dry before you pick the cotton and be careful as the boll has sharp points on the end when dry.

    If you want to grow enough to use you are talking acres, not beds. We thought it was good to get a bale to the acre(about 500 lbs of lint).
     
  6. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    I get whole cottenseed in my feed. Just picked out a small handful. If anyone wants to try it I'll be happy to send. Just PM you mail address. ( no charge) FB
     
  7. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    I remember traveling through Texas as a boy and being amazed at the large fields of black land cotton, the stalks were small but they were loaded with cotton. I live in Mississippi, the soil is sandy loam and in a good year we could get 1000 lbs lint per acre but this was not every year, the rain had to adequate and at the right time. I have seen cotton over head high in some botton land but the average was about waiste high. It was a battle to fight the boll weevil, someyears we would make 10-15 applications of poison, some bad stuff back then, I probably still have it in my body because we never took much precautions with it.

    Tom
     
  8. Burbsteader

    Burbsteader Well-Known Member

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    "Where is here?" Oops. :D Pacific NW, north of Seattle, near the border.

    I was thinking of putting it in front of the south facing wall of the house to catch the radiant heat. How big do the plants get on average?

    I know I'll get a kick out of telling the neighbors that I'm growing cotton. They think I'm weird already. :haha: