In the Willamette Valley, we usually get one good weekend in October,. Today the crop enjoyed 65F. weather. The crop now receives no direct sun light, and is struggling in the shade. So, this seemed like a good weekend to call it quits on growing cotton.
The larger Pima cotton capsules were removed from branches and brought into the house. These squares are on longer stems, and have been included with the harvesting wherever possible. About six of these capsules might open.
Upland cotton capsules grow on shorter stems. These stems were left on the plant. Hopefully 10-12 squares will open.
A cotton farmer could realistically expect 36-40 squares per plant.
This is the largest Upland square.
Below is a photo of the cotton crop, about a dozen strands of cotton poking out one Upland cotton square. Commercial cotton growers use a desiccant t o dry out the capsule tissue and promote the square to burst. Our weather has been wet, and chemicals beyond Miracle-gro have not been used. The plan now is to place the capsules in an east-facing window, and allow them to dry.
One of the smaller Upland cotton capsules was opened.
This cross section shows a capsule with a thick rind that is far from mature and some cotton.
Seeds were also maturing in the capsule.
An interesting detail is these plants have a kind of sun-sensitivity. On the surfaces exposed to the sun, the tissue is a deep pinkish red, and on the “away” side the color tends to be more green. The Upland is a bit more reactive.
Foliage at the base of the square can also produce the same results.
Same stem, opposite sides
Would I grow cotton again? YES!
Would I make some changes? YUP!
Unbeknown to me, the project was probably off the rails while the plants were still house plants. They should have been spaced farther apart in the window. There was competition for sunlight, and they grew vertically, when lateral growth should have been the priority.
The seedlings in the 8-oz. yogurt containers did better those in the 32-oz. containers. When transplanted to larger outdoor pots, cotton plants in smaller containers were able to be planted without roots shearing from their weight. Fragility of the cotton roots cannot be over emphasized.
The plants should have been planted about two weeks earlier, immediately after a realistic chance of frost had passed.
The cotton plants were treated as water wise plants. Next time they will be watered and fertilized about the same as tomatoes.
The experience was worth while for me, and hope each of the more than 1500 visits to my site you made was also as enjoyable.