This is the week I have been waiting for; not only is it the beginning of the daily radio broadcast with WLQM (101.7FM) radio (12:30pm), but April 20 is on Thursday of this week and that is the traditional calendar date we use to start looking at the weather forecast to determine whether or not April is going to give us enough favorable days to plant some April cotton.
I have been having some conversations with a few people for a week now about trying a few fields early. The normal experience is that if we can get several warm days in a row to give that seed a good early start, then it will withstand some cooler weather later on as it waits for more warm weather to cycle through.
I agree with this idea, but there is another risk of planting really early and that is that the cotton will begin blooming too early, which could result in premature cutout if we are dry in June.
The main focus to hedge against that risk is not to plant light soil first, sense light soil suffers the most from premature cutout. So, for me to feel comfortable with planting this week, all the criteria of favorable weather would have to trigger which is warm soil, 25 total DD60’s for the first 5 days, projected emergence in 7 to 10 days, and no packing rain expected prior to emergence.
As of today (4/17), we should be pretty hot at the end of the week, but the flags are the potential for rain this coming Sunday and also cooler weather next week which will keep emergence date longer than 10 days. Hey, but it might be a good year to start an early garden.