Cotton Harvest

My lovely green cotton bolls are ready to pick!

white cotton bloom

The bloom is white when it opens.

pink cotton bloom

The bloom can self-pollinate or be pollinated by bees. After pollination, it turns pink.

cotton bolls

After about 3 weeks, the bolls are full size, but they need about another 3 weeks for the fiber to mature.

ripe cotton in pale green

The outer husk has split open and the fibers are visible.

cotton burr

The cotton burr (husk) is left behind after picking. You can see why cotton pickers’ hands got cut up.

cotton plant

All these stages can be present on the plant at one time.

This is Erlene’s Green Cotton from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  Even if you aren’t planning to order any seed from them, you might want to check out their website to see wonderful heirloom plants you didn’t know existed.  They sell six kinds of cotton, the biggest selection I have found.  When I have gone to other heirloom seed sites and searched for “cotton,”  the only results have been for cotton caps or cotton bags.

Because of the drought we had last year, I was hesitant to plant very much this year (Texas usually has 10 wet years followed by 10 dry years), so I only planted 5 seeds.  They all came up and produced bolls.

I also bought seeds for Missisippi brown cotton and red-foliated white.  I can’t wait to try them next year!