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Posts Tagged ‘growing cotton plants’

cotton seedlings with watering cords

I’ve found that cotton seedlings need just the right amount of water – too much or too little and they go limp. They also seem to prefer to be watered from the bottom, and develop nice strong, deep roots even before the leaves are abundant.

This is fine if you have them in pots with saucers that you can pour into, but I still have most of my seedlings in smallish pots grouped on the lid of a rubber storage bin.

The best solution I’ve found is to cut a piece of thick cotton cord (the kind found in fabric shops) and push one end down to the bottom of the pot and put the other end into a bowl of water. Capillary action will draw moisture up the cord and into the soil in the pot. It’s also helpful if you will be away and unable to water the pots for a few days. The water reservoir can handle a number of pots.

I would love to start hardening them off, but the weather stays stubbornly cold and wet, so they’re going to be inside with me for a while yet.

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2011 Cotton Crop - Upland, Green & Brown

Winter has now set in with crisp, cold nights and mostly drab days. A good time to tackle some tasks that can be completed indoors.

I finally got around to picking the cotton bolls from the dried-up plants in the back porch, and now I’ve started to remove the seeds. There were a total of six plants that produced mature bolls (one plant had small bolls forming when the cold weather stopped it’s growth).

The Upland cotton (white bolls and fibre in front) was the most prolific, while there were only one or two bolls from the green and brown plants.

Upland Cotton Seeds

I was surprised at how much fibre each Upland boll contains, and quite pleased at the number of seeds that I have for this year’s crop.

I’ve ordered a takli spindle from Joan Ruane at Cotton Spinning so that I can spin up my little crop into yarn.

In the meantime, I’ll be picking out the rest of the seeds and planning for a slightly bigger cotton plot this Spring.

Last year I started the seeds on Feb 23, and I think I’ll try for a little earlier start this year. I’ll also plan to transplant some into a bed that I can protect with a row cover to provide additional heat and to prolong the growing season further into the Fall.

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This year’s fig crop (the first!) has increased by 50% with the arrival of Fig Three. Fig One and Fig Two are growing steadily, and are still firm and green.

Another little branch has formed too, which is good news as we are trying to achieve a bush shape which is a challenge with only three branches.

As it’s only the end of June, there’s a strong possibility that these will ripen, and I hope we get them before the critters do.

There’s another development to report – I think the Uplands Cotton plant is going to bloom – this doesn’t look like another leaf and there are some very tiny but similar buds on some of the other plants. This one is far ahead of the others in size.

I’ve read that cotton likes the same sort of fertilizer as tomatoes, so I’ve added a tomato spike to each pot.

The Indigo is growing, but looks like it could also use a boost, so I’ve added tomato spikes to each pot here too.

There will have to be significant leaf growth to produce enough leaves for fibre dyeing.

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