On September 28-29, Once Upon A Farm will bring back Harvest
Fest. The event will showcase all the important factors that make up the family
farm. One of those components is cash crops. Today we will look at cotton.
Cotton is found in the Hibiscus family and has beautiful flowers. Gossypium hirsutum is the
genus and species of local cotton.
Currently, our cotton plants are found between the pig and
cow yards. The flowering has finished. What you will find is actual cotton
bolls, with the cotton fibers showing.
When you come to the Harvest Fest, you will be invited to
try cotton carding, a process to align the cotton fibers so they are ready to
be twisted into thread or yarn. In the old days, there wasn’t Wal-Mart or
Target to drive to. The farmers and their families had to grow everything they
needed to survive. Women were trained to take cotton bolls and make clothes for
their families to wear.
We planted our cotton plants in mid-May. We waited until the
ground temperature was above 60 degrees. It was important to wait so that the
roots could establish when the soil was warm. We added a generous helping of
compost made from decomposing leaves. This was tilled in to a depth of six to
eight inches. Irrigation is essential to have a lush plant. Ours currently runs
daily until we begin having rain again.
The cotton plant reaches 30 to 36 inches tall prior to
harvest. You will notice a yellow container to the right by the pig yard. This
is to monitor boll weevils. At this time, we do not any. The boll weevil is a
major pest that can wipe out a cotton crop within one season.
Please come to Once Upon A Farm to visit during the Harvest
Fest Days, September 28-29 from 9 am to 4 pm. There will be more to come on
your next visit to the Memphis Zoo.