Before the rain came last week, Daniel and I were in one of our back porch discussions about how early to start planting. Being a scientist at heart, I have a theory for everything and when to plant is no exception. My "Volunteer Cotton Theory" contends that the first day we see the volunteer cotton sprouting out of the ground, get in the field and roll! Volunteer cotton is seed that will sprout from locks of cotton that were left in the field from the last harvest. It always seems that those rogue plants load up with way more bolls than the cotton we plant in the rows. So I say do what the rouge plants do! Daniel calmly starts to shoot holes in my theory as he points out that those plants are out in the middle of the rows, or along the side of the field, where they can spread out their roots all they want. The poor little guys we plant in the rows have to compete all year with their next door neighbors for food, water and sunshine.
Since there was not a harvest last year, there will most likely be no volunteer cotton for me to point at and say "See, those guys know it's time to sprout!" and Daniel will get his way. He likes to plant later, so that the cotton is not trying to load bolls during the very hottest time of the year. The drought and the rain BOTH helped his cause this spring. First he could tell me he couldn't plant yet because it was too dry. Now, he can tell me he can't plant yet because it's too wet. Looks like he will plant at just the right time, like he always does, in spite of my brilliant "Volunteer Cotton Theory."
Now that Daniel's choice of planting time is fast approaching, instead of looking up and hoping for clouds coming over the horizon, we are looking up hoping for a few days of sunshine. Those old farmers are right, it's always too wet and it's always too dry!
Picture from the Standard-Times May 16, 2012 taken just east of San Angelo at Nine Mile Creek