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Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Posted by soilent_green 4b MN (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 7, 11 at 19:20

I have always wanted to see what cotton plants were like so I got some seed from some fellow GW members. We are short-season up here so I am going to grow them in containers.

Seeds were put in soil on March 07. Photo was taken April 07. I will be transplanting them into small pots soon.

Here is the result so far:

Click on the image to see full size image with comments.

-Tom


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

I'm curious, do you just want to see them grow? or are you planning on trying to harvest cotton and do something with it?


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

I guess I haven't thought that far ahead. I mainly wanted to see them grow and hopefully collect viable seed, but I am always curious about how things are done the old-fashioned ways such as spinning cotton into yarn. For me to think about doing the yarn thing is putting the cart before the horse though, IMO, but certainly would be fun to try to do.

I grew sorghum broomcorn because I wanted to learn how to make straw brooms. It actually worked quite well although my first one was atrocious - a witch wouldn't have even wanted it. ;-) None held up but I learned the concept and could do it properly with practice.

-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Cotton is a neat plant - I grew Nankeen last year. Not exactly something sees in Cincinnati! It is a perennial, though a tender one. A lady who bought a plant from me brought her container inside last year and told me a couple of weeks ago that it had started growing again.

I had four plants and each one gave me about a dozen-fifteen cotton balls.

Mike


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Mike,
Thanks for your response to my post. It is good to hear that I have a shot at success with these plants.

I have heard of Nankeen and would like to acquire it - maybe a trade next fall if I get seed from my plants? Mine will be isolated by many miles so they should remain true to type. I will be keeping one variety while two of my sisters will each have a different variety at their places.

I do not even know how the cotton plants produce seed - are multiple seed pods produced which themselves produce multiple cotton balls, each ball with one seed? Or multiple pods that each produce one ball with one seed? Or does each ball have multiple seeds?

-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Soylent Green
Your post brings back a lot of memories to me. My Father back in Egypt had a small farm and he grew Corn, wheat, hay for the animals. He also grew Figs and palm trees. All these were mostly for the family consumption. The main crop was Cotton and he called the Cash Crop. He sold the Cotton to factories which produce fabrics and also the cotton was used in auto tires. The seeds are squeezed to produce cooking oil and what remains from the seed is used to make animal feed. I remember he prepared the soil during February and saw the seeds on March first. The Harvest was late August and early September. During that period March-September we worked 24/7 to fight insects by hand picking, sprays and you name it. But after he harvested it the white cotton was beautiful and brought a lot of the green-Back money to spend the rest of the year.


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Tom,

Just checked - there appears to be 1-3 seeds per boll or cotton ball. They are not easy to extract - no wonder Eli Whitney is a hero! What surprised me is that even though I harvested the bolls in October, and have had them in a heated room, under good drying conditions since then, there are still green leaves on the bolls that have the balls.

If you want some Nankeen seeds, e-mail me your address and I'll stick them in an envelope. They have to be pure - I suspect no one within 300 miles is growing cotton except for those who bought plants from me last year!

I'm in Cincinnati but IIRC, I sowed the seeds in late January last year and transplanted them in very early June. The spot was a raised bed that got lots of sun and a huge amount of heat - I was over there one day watering the bed and it was above 105 degrees, It was a raised bed on an asphalt parking lot, maybe five feet from a huge concrete block building painted white that reflected all kinds of light and heat. Stuff the cotton loved!

Mike


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

I do not even know how the cotton plants produce seed - are multiple seed pods produced which themselves produce multiple cotton balls, each ball with one seed? Or multiple pods that each produce one ball with one seed? Or does each ball have multiple seeds?
-Tom
===================================================
Tom
I can answer your question. The Cotton tree grows about 5 feet long and spread so many branches. Aside from the leaves each branch produces a beautiful big yellow flower. After the the flower mature and fall behind it is green fruit with tough skin. It grows to the size of walnut or small beach. Late in summer around August-September that fruit opens show the white cotton ball. You pick the Cotton ball which consists of white fiber and several seeds. Each cotton ball could have up to 10 seeds. There is a factory with specialized machines which splits the Fiber from the seeds. The Fiber and the seeds are used as I explained above post. Also the Body of the tree is like wooden and after harvesting the trees are pulled from the Ground dried up and burned to produce energy for cooking and backing. I am talking here about the country side where modern electronic way is not there yet.


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

That is so cool, I hope you'll post follow up pics of the plant as it grows.


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

wordwiz - Thanks for your comments. I will send you an email regarding Nankeen seeds. I have a corner by the house and deck that has a full southern exposure and gets hot in the summer. Maybe that will be the place to grow the cotton in containers.

foolishpleasure - I enjoyed reading your story and thanks for explaining cotton plant seed production to me.

luvahydrangea - I will take a series of pictures during the season. But where do I post? Not in the "Growing from Seed" forum. Cotton is not a flower or a vegetable. I would consider it an ornamental in this context but it is technically not that either. I suppose post the pics in the container gardening forum.

-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Here's what mine looked like a little over a month after transplant. Toward the bottom of the plant you can see the bolls starting to form.

Mike


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Mike - Thanks for posting the photo. Beautiful plant(s)! - not at all what I was expecting. Now I REALLY can't wait to see how they turn out.

So what size container does anyone recommend I put each cotton plant in? I was planning on using 6 gallon nursery pots - are they big enough? Unnecessarily big?

-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Thought I would post a follow up with some pictures. This season started out very poorly - lots of cold, cloudy, rainy days here. For a while I thought my cotton plants wouldn't make it, but they did. They were stunted for quite some time and it took a string of late June days in the 90s to get them going. If we had normal spring weather I think the plants would be much farther along regarding seed pod production.

I diligently brought the container plants indoors for protection many times during the last couple of months to avoid stormy weather and hail events.

Here are some photos showing what I have observed and showing how the plants are doing. The biggest mistake I made was using undersize pots for containers (I ran out of my big ones at the time). That being said the container plants are still prettier, taller, and farther along than the ones planted in the gardens. I gave seedlings to five other people who are growing decent container cotton plants (better than mine). On my location, all three varieties (green lint, brown lint, unknown white) are isolated and barring an early frost or some other catastrophe I should get a decent amount of seed stock for trading this fall. The good thing about the container cotton plants is that I can move them indoors for protection if need be until the seed matures.

If interested, click on the photos to see larger ones with descriptions.

Six foot tall container cotton plants:


Example of cotton flower buds:


Example of cotton flower:


Example of finished, pollinated cotton flower:


Example of maturing cotton seed pod:


I am generally satisfied with the results of my efforts, considering I knew nothing about cotton plants 6 months ago. With what I have learned I think I can grow better plants in the future. Mike's photo above shows his beautiful, lush Nankeen cotton plants. None of mine look like his, even the ones in the gardens. I wonder if mine should look like his or if, being different varieties, mine grow differently. I will be able to find out next season as he gave me some Nankeen seed to try out (thanks again!).

These are unique, fun, somewhat easy plants to grow, and I urge folks to give it a try - but you will need to have the capability to start the seed indoors. I planted the seeds last March 07 to get them where they are now.

Happy Growing!
-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

That is very cool. I've driven by a million cotton plants but at 55 mph they don't look like much.


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Thanks for taking the time to comment, purpleinopp. Yeah, they are most surely a common feature in your area of the U.S. but are quite the curiosity up here in Minnesota. All the folks that I show the plants to are very curious about them. Most, like me, had never seen cotton plants. I am up to around 8 people now that want me to start some for them next year. It has also been requested that I display some at next year's county fair for educational purposes. I will be happy to oblige them if I can get the same success as this year. All plans are assuming I will get mature seeds from my plants which is no guarantee in our fickle climate.

Regards,
-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

I hope you do. I've only lived in the south for a few years so cotton plants are a novelty to me, too. I also discovered this year that okra plants are also very visually interesting. Good luck!


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advice?

dude is there anything you can tell me about these plants i know they like nitrogen and potassium. how do i get ride of the bugs? i got some spray but i have to do it every day. my leaves are all eaten and nasty. whats something that can improve my plants for next year the bulbs are a nice size i will give it that much except one kinda is still soggy


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

The cotton fields around here are full of "cotton balls." How's yours doing?


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

silasraven - I had an aphid problem on mine and being that they are not food plants I used a liquid chemical insecticide, being careful to get the spray under the leaves where many reside. Two applications put them under control. I do not know what advice to give you regarding your bug problem being that the leaves are actually being eaten.

I did not consider any special nutrients required by the cotton plants. I am not a big fan of over-fertilizing. Being they were in containers I gave them three applications of a general purpose liquid organic fertilizer through the season. I am sure the web will have info on specific nutrient demands of cotton plants.

purpleinopp - as of Sept. 14 my plants were as healthy, green, and growing as could be. Not a single pod from any plant has burst open yet. Then we had a hard frost. I took the containerized plants in for the cold nights but the plants in the garden got crippled by frost. I will leave some of them out there as an experiment to see how they do and I will cut and hang some entire plants indoors to see how they dry.

I opened an unripe pod a week ago to check the status of seed development. The pod had over 70 immature seeds in it along with nicely developing cotton fluff. They had a ways to go IMO unfortunately, so I do not know if I will get viable seed.

Regarding my container plants I finally cut off all blooms and developing blooms and topped the plants. I am hoping this will aid in seed development of the most mature pods but I don't really know. The leaves are starting to turn color.

Any advice or info regarding the maturity stage of seed development and pod bursting from anyone would be greatly appreciated. For example, are the pods green when they open or are they brown and dried? Do the leaves fall off the plant before or after the pods open? I saw a show where they sprayed a defoliant on the field to remove leaves prior to the pods bursting to aid in harvest - this only added to my confusion. I also do not know how our shortening days and cool nights are affecting the maturing of the plants. Due to inexperience I simply do not know what I should be expecting of these plants at this point. Time will tell...

Take care,
-Tom


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

where can i get different types of cotton seeds


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RE: Pic - Cotton Seedlings

Where to find seeds?

Search GardenWeb for threads such as this: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/heirloom/msg101954598111.html?24

Search GardenWeb members' seed trade lists: GW Member Seed Search

Web search for retail seed sellers such as these: MRC Seeds -or- Reimer Seeds

Seeds of most cotton varieties do not seem to be rare, just a bit uncommon due to low demand.

Best of luck in your hunt!
-Tom


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