Please! Can we plant cotton now? Please?!?!

I’m not sure how many folks know how farmers know whether its time to plant. When it comes to my favorite crop — cotton, there are lots of different guidelines, but one grabs me.

In the Mississippi Delta, there is always an oxbow lake, a creek, the Mississippi River or some body of water nearby. If you aren’t familiar with oxbows, they have been created over centuries as rivers wander. I find oxbows like Lake Bolivar intriguing as they can be mistaken for the river at times. And having lived & worked right in that watershed, I have a special connection to it making it the primo in my experience/opinion.

Deer Creek comes out of Lake Bolivar and weaves its way through the Delta, covering hundreds of miles. Taking a short drive in the region, you can quickly find yourself crossing Deer Creek several times.  But at the mouth of the creek, where the Mississippi formed Lake Bolivar and just a few miles from the place where the levee broke in 1927, those soils are legendary for cotton. The silt loams are called ice cream soils — they are incredible. And it seems the fish appreciate the area too! Cause every afternoon, boats can be found on the lake or in the creek. It seems cotton and fishing are both tightly connected to Deer Creek and Lake Bolivar.

That’s why the guideline for planting grabs me so. Legend goes that you plant cotton once the folks fishing on Deer Creek or nearby lakes, etc stop sitting on buckets and sit on the ground itself. That’s because warmer soil temps are needed with cotton. The University of Tennessee suggests waiting for the soil temperature to reach 65 degrees at the 4 inch depth. This way, farmers can get the crop off to a healthy start.

For now, it seems the folks I see are still sitting on buckets for now — temps are warming though in my part of the world but corn & rice are still the focus for now.  We could be planting cotton soon!

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

, , , , ,


  1. Looking for a Break for Spring Planting in West Tennessee « ag – a colorful adventure for this city girl - May 10, 2010

    […] Planting in West Tennessee Posted on 2010/05/10 by Janice About a month ago, I was all excited.  Planters were rolling in the Mid-South and I could smell the soil.  We had had several hot days […]

  2. Mostly Photos: Tranquility on the Banks of Deer Creek (Scott, Mississippi) | A Colorful Adventure - May 19, 2012

    […] of the places I go back to in my head time and time again, is the banks of Deer Creek in Scott, Mississippi. The irony of that sentence and the heading is likely to make some of my […]

  3. Understanding Soils Thanks to Getting to Know Silt Loam - October 22, 2013

    […] that became a familiar feeling underneath my feet during my years in the Mississippi Delta. Those silt loam soils (aka ice cream soils) are perfect for planting cotton! And we are getting to planting time which is a time of great promise and hope for farmers, even if […]