How to Grow Cotton. Though cotton can be found growing wild in many parts of the world, it's widespread cultivation makes it the most common textile fiber now in use. Whether you want to grow American Pima, Egyptian or Upland cotton, all you need is a long sunny growing season, water and fertile soil. Read on to learn more.
Till your soil at least 2 inches deep to eliminate weeds and add an inch of compost or humus. You need to ensure the soil is rich in nitrogen and potassium to grow a strong plant.
Drag a garden hoe in a straight line the length of the garden to create a row for planting. If making more than one row, make them about thirty inches apart from each other. Then pre-moisten the soil with a good deep watering.
Check the soil temperature using a soil thermometer to ensure it's at least 58 degrees Fahrenheit at six inches deep. If so, and all threat of frost has passed, plant your cotton seeds in moist soil in groups of three. They should be planted an inch deep and the groups should be four inches apart to allow ample room for plants to grow.
Refrain from watering the newly planted seeds until four to five weeks after the plants emerge. Then water the small plants through the summer months about every ten days.
Stop watering the cotton plants about sixteen weeks after planting. Soon after they stop receiving water, they will start to dry and shed their leaves. The cotton bolls, or pods, will split open allowing the cotton fiber inside to dry.
Harvest the cotton when all of the bolls have cracked open and the cotton is a ball of fluff.