Sunday, July 1

End of June

The heat is really starting to have a great effect on the cotton. It is now growing like mad and the bug damage is significantly less. This is one of the reasons to ignore early bug damage and wait it out. Or just use your fingers to gently brush away the aphids if your crop is small.

The leaves are glossy and healthy. We have had some serious storms and lost 4 plants to wind damage. Tomato cages, stakes and ties have been introduced this year, much more significant support than had been used in prior years. Hail has ripped a lot of leaves.

But the clustering of fresh leaves shown here signify that the production of flowers is not far off. I suspect I have some flowers coming out of this bunch.

See the triangular shaped, trilobal leaf in the center? That is a Pima and is easy to spot.

The plants don’t look that tall here, but they are shooting up inches per day now. Mid calf will soon be knee high. And even small patches can produce more cotton than you can spin in a year.

This is a green cotton plant. Note the wider leaf of slightly lighter color. It has red veins and a less glossy leaf. The hail damage is evident here too as well as old bug damage. New leaves are quite healthy.

Cotton is a crop with bugs, there is no doubt. But the thing is, for us, that those bugs don’t really damage the production of our little crop. We don’t have vast fields and that would change our views. Since the greatest damage we get is a sticky substance at the end of the season, we pick carefully to avoid this and ignore any bug damage on these plants. Less chemicals, happy cotton.

I don’t know if you can see the little bar between these two beds. It is an easy watering system that fiberguy built. It is like a little pool that holds in the water with an opening to fill the lower pool when the top one is full. This means that we can put down the hose and water will trail down to the lower beds. We don’t get run-off and don’t have to water as often. These are like little steps, kind of like a little lock system in a canal.

These two pots are more problematic. First is the Peruvian brown. Not at all disease or bug resistant and it gives a very short stapled dark brown cotton. I am growing this mostly to see if I can cross it and get a longer darker brown. I will remove more than half of these plants, getting rid of the sickest and most frail. Again, note the red pigment in the veins. The other pot is my lovely long tan. These are the most slow growing, but are the best producers. We got the most heavy hail damage in this location so the jury is out on how many I will weed out. Also not a hardy plant, this tan shows no bugs on the plants, but a lot of bug damage. I see no wasps or ants on them trying to eat the honeydew left by aphids. No aphids, no whitefly. What is eating them? Will they survive? Last year, they looked terrible and produced so much tan cotton that I don’t think I will finish spinning it for three years. Almost hoping they don’t do well...

No comments: