UPDATE: PLANTING ORGANIC COTTON

Last Friday, before we left for New York for an inspiring week of MAKESHIFT, we received wonderful news: the cotton seed had been planted. The week before, Jimmy, K.P., and I met early in the morning at the site of the cotton field, prepared to spend the day planting. However, the soil needed to be broken up more finely in order to allow the planter to properly cover the seed. This set us back a few days, but after another day of plowing to break the soil, Jimmy was finally ready to plant.

Here is some of our correspondence with Jimmy and his wife, Lisa, over the past weeks as we planted our organic cotton test field:

“I am writing to you with good news. As of 8:30 last night the cotton is now planted. The ground was finally dry enough from the rains, and so yesterday afternoon Jimmy wanted to try and plant again. This time we anticipated problems, but other than the chain coming off  of the planter a couple of times, it all went fairly well. We are so relieved…..there are rays of sunshine in all of this and meeting you, and the cotton field now planted, are certainly rays of sunshine. Have a good day, and pray for rain!”

The following day, it appeared that the weather was in our cards.

Also from Jimmy’s wife, Lisa:

“I am so happy to report that we have had the most wonderful light rain all day today. It is perfect for little cotton seeds in the ground. I will keep you posted and look forward to tiny baby cotton plants in about six more days!”

Sunday morning, while we were still in New York for MAKESHIFT, K.P., with Billy Reid, emailed with good news: eight days from planting, the cotton had begun to come up. I visited the field yesterday to see the new plantings myself and to speak with Jimmy about what is next.

It was hard to believe that in a week the seeds transformed into tiny plants with tubular roots and sturdy stems. Jimmy said he had not seen cotton plantings like this before. They are strong and from “good” seeds. We hope their strength will help them stand up to the insects this summer, as we will not be using insecticides.

Next, we will cultivate and chop the soil in between the rows in order to prevent weeds from establishing. We will also have to thin out the rows of cotton to allow enough space for each planting to grow and flourish.

Lisa left me with this old Blue Ridge saying that her Grandmother passed along. When planting your seeds, keep in mind:

“Two for fox
Two for crow
One to rot
And one to grow.”

-Erin

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