September 2, 2017

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Cotton Growing

You may have seen my previous updates showing my cotton plants. I bought seeds at MRC Seeds (not paid endorsement). I got some white cotton seeds and some green cotton seeds. I placed them in three pots to begin with and something happened and I transplanted all the healthy ones into 1 pot. I went from 20 seeds to 5 plants. Not a problem except I didn't remember which variety was where so I had no idea what plants had actually made it. I now have 3 healthy plants in one pot.

Here are my cotton plants, my uncle-in-law told me sometimes on how to grow the cotton. He used to grow some plants here and there on this very property. So I was encouraged to try it myself, global warming couldn't have affected here too much right?! 

After a LONG wait, flower squares showed up. I was so excited. I would peek in the bigger ones watching the little flower buds starting to form.

Then... on Monday August 28th, my wait was over! A flower! One beautiful, perfectly wonderful, YELLOW flower. Yellow?! Cotton flowers are white normally. But green cotton flowers are yellow!! I may have done a bit of a happy dance.

Then a second one appeared the next day! These are all on the same plant.

This is the first flower after 24 hours. Cotton flowers don't last long, 24-48 hours before the next gorgeous stage happens.

The next day, that beautiful yellow flower looked like this, yup pollination happened and now the flower turns pinks and closes to create the boll. 

Here is the second flower just pink in the edges and a third yellow flower! 

So now to wait for the other flowers to bloom before the frost hits and then the long wait for bolls. Cotton takes 180 days (thats 6 months) to be completely dry. I have 2 weeks before frost and I need to bring the plants indoors, something I haven't quite told Mr. Native Farmer yet...

A note on my reason for growing cotton. Although I know it is a touchy subject for some of my readers, I am growing cotton because I am a spinner. Yes, I am from Texas, and I am a proud southerner. I live in West Virginia (which was neutral in the Civil War), where growing cotton isn't illegal. West Virginia isn't known for its abundance of cotton farms. Now, that being said I have been up against racism from people who told me I should be ashamed of being 1. white and 2. a southerner because my family had enslaved their family. I would like to kindly note, my family (from both sides) wasn't even in the USA until the 1920s. My father's side came from Austria before WWII to escape persecution from Hitler, they were Catholics (Blechl means bell ringer in Austrian, meaning church bells), and they were under Hitler's target list just as much as Jewish people were targeted. Now my adoptive father's family history is Native American. My mom's side came from Mexico (legally I might add), actually she is only 2nd generation born in the USA. My family has never been on the side of pro-slavery, quite the opposite.

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