Right now, cotton is primarily grown as a industrial crop by giant farms. Nevertheless, some gardeners and small farmers are nonetheless opting to develop cotton for fiber artists, decorative use, and to protect the genetic range and historical past of heirloom cotton. Nevertheless, there are just a few snags to rising cotton that it is best to learn about earlier than ordering a packet of cotton seeds.
So, is it unlawful to develop cotton?
Nicely, it is dependent upon the place you reside.
At present, it’s unlawful to develop cotton in Texas. We can not ship cotton seeds to Texas.
In different areas, like right here in Virginia, rising cotton is monitored and restricted. You may develop cotton right here, however it’s essential to apply for a allow earlier than planting. That is widespread in lots of Southeastern states and different cotton-producing areas.
Why is cotton rising restricted?
Cotton plantings and residue can unfold a harmful pest known as the cotton boll weevil, particularly when mishandled. In areas the place cotton is an economically essential crop, the rising of cotton is usually rigorously monitored to stop the unfold or reintroduction of the boll weevil.
The boll weevil has been eradicated from many cotton-producing states, together with Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
The Texas Division of Agriculture reviews that the boll weevil has been almost eradicated from Texas, which has been an intense and costly course of. Texas at the moment accounts for nearly 50% of U.S. cotton acreage and about 40% of U.S. manufacturing. Their strict tips are an try and maintain Texas manufacturing aggressive.
The place do I discover out if I can develop cotton?
Your native extension company is the perfect place to get details about rising cotton in your space. When you’re uncertain who to contact, you will discover a helpful record of state extension businesses on the Outdated Farmer’s Almanac web site.
Rising cotton in Virginia
Right here in Virginia, the method is kind of easy. Obtain and fill out the ‘Request to Develop Cotton’ type on the Virginia Division of Agriculture web site.
Contact your native extension company in case you have extra questions on cotton in Virginia.
How do I develop cotton?
Cotton is a long-season annual, so it’s best to develop in areas with lengthy, sizzling summers. You’ll additionally want a plot that receives full solar and has loads of house. Cotton crops ought to be planted 18 to 30 inches aside in rows 5 ft aside. The crops develop 3 to 7 ft tall!
Cotton seed germinates in 7-21 days at 70 levels F. In zones 8-10, direct sow your cotton seeds after the final frost. Deal with cotton like tomatoes in zones 5-7 and begin seed indoors. Transplant seedlings out after your final frost after they’re 4 to eight weeks previous.
The crops begin flowering in mid-summer, and the bolls take just a few extra months to mature.
Discover out extra about why we provide heirloom cotton in our Cotton Rising Information.
Rising cotton isn’t authorized in lots of areas, however you might want a allow. Figuring out what your state requires and buying the correct allowing is important to retaining cotton out there to small growers, stopping boll weevil unfold, and defending industrial harvests.