October 8, 2007
A Southern Secret
At the garden center where I work we carry a new soil amendment, Back to Nature Cotton Burr Compost. That sure brought back a lot of memories from down on the farm. My daddy used to plow the entire cotton plant into the soil at the end of the season and of course I had to ask the proverbial why ?
It's a secret, he'd say, which only makes a curious kid more determined to find out. After a lot of please, daddy, please he let me in on what was so good about the cotton burr. See all them puffy white balls of cotton , he'd say. All the good stuff I put in soil this Spring got sucked up into the burr and there she is. I'm returning it to the soil so that once Spring comes the field will be ready to plant more cotton. You see all this red Alabama clay ? It also helps break that up better than anything else. Glad I asked, pops.
Southern farmers have been using cotton burr compost since the civil war era. Research has found that in addition to being a soil conditioner that provides all the nutrients needed, it also acts to combat diseases. It can be used as a top dressing or mulch as well. I'm planning to dress my entire front and back garden with it this Fall. It was the only soil amendment I used in my vegetable garden this year and I had a wonderful crop of tomatoes and cucumbers.
And one more thing : If you have a tree or shrub that's not looking so good, cotton burr compost will perk it up.
If you can't find it at your local garden center, visit http://www.backtonaturecompost.com