Cotton... and HarvestFest!
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Cotton... and HarvestFest!

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.

Posted by Zoo Info at 2:40 PM