r ranson wrote:I know I'm monologuing, but I hope you don't mind. I just find this project so interesting.
One thing I noticed about my cotton harvests is the colour is nowhere near as intense as it should be. My greens are coming out creamy, my whites, brilliant, and my browns as tans. I wonder what I can do to increase the colour? Maybe something is missing from the soil?
The color of the fiber changes as it goes from harvest to finished product. In my photo, you can see a boll each of brown and green cotton and the yarn that resulted from each color. Once cotton has been spun, it must be boiled to set the twist. At that time, the color deepens. What is on the spindle in the photo is green cotton. You can see how much darker the finished yarn is.
At the time, I didn’t realize the distance that was needed between varieties so they wouldn’t cross and I had them separated by only 100 feet. The isolation distance recommended for home use is 650’ and for commercial production a half mile or more. I was only growing it for fun and concentrating on learning to spin, so at first I didn’t notice just how much mixing was going on in the garden when I planted back the seeds I saved from one harvest to the next. Once I took notice, I realized that my original colors that you see in the name tag I wove from my early cotton would be lost if I didn’t pay attention.
r ranson wrote:I was wondering about cross pollination possibilities.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:I think you are to far north for a cotton crop. Since I live in cotton country I will describe the season here in the South. Planting of cotton occurs from the end of May through the middle of June. The crop flowers in July, bolls are set and they don't open until September, the crop comes off the fields starting at the end of September through October. The bolls are sharp when the cotton is ready to pick, many a hand has been shredded by the act of hand picking cotton. To separate the seeds from the cotton you need a gin which can be purchased as a hand powered unit or electric motor type, from there you have cotton fiber and lint covered seeds. (a gin is pretty much a lot of circular saw blades rotating in opposite directions, the blades look like a plywood blade (lots of teeth). A linter (the machine that gets the last bits of cotton off the seeds is the same as the gin but with the blades nearly touching) these things have been known to eat arms of the operator in the old cotton mills.
If you are determined to grow cotton that far north, you will need a dedicated green house or two, you will most likely also need heaters for those buildings. Glass would be the glazing of choice for the cotton to grow well and you will need a bee hive for pollination of the plants flowers.
This link should be pretty helpful to you in this adventure how to grow cotton
j stein wrote:Where can I buy cold tolerant cotton seed? in Canada.
r ranson wrote:The biggest problem growing it so far north is the days are too long. Cotton seems to be quite hardy with moisture and temperature variation, but it needs shorter days to be able to set the bolls.
I'm thinking of trying it with some morning shade next year. So it gets the sun at the heat of the day, but not so much light.
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