Cotton needs a warm climate and rich soil to grow in: and the countries where most of it is grown are America, Egypt, and India. In India, cotton is a Kharif crop. It is planted during the monsoon, and by October the plants, which grow to a height of five or six feet, bear their pretty yellow flowers. When the flowers die away, the pods are formed; and when these are ripe, they open in three parts and show a white, soft, fluffy material, in which the seeds are covered up. The cotton plants are grown for the sake of the soft white fibers that cover the seeds: for it is from these that cotton threads and cotton cloth are made.
The raw cotton is gathered from the fields in November. The first thing that is done to it is to separate it from the seeds and clean it. This is called “ginning” and there are ginning mills to do this work. The cleaned raw cotton goes from the ginning mills to the spinning mills, where it is drawn into cotton thread. This cotton thread then goes to the weaving mills, where it is woven into cotton cloth.
There are many kinds of cotton cloth because there are many kinds of cotton plants which give fibers of different lengths and thicknesses. The best cotton plants give long, fine fibers, from which fine cloth can be made. The poorest give short, thick, fibers, from which only coarse cloth can be made.
The seeds of the cotton plant contain very useful oil, from which certain medicines are made, and cotton cakes are used as food for cattle.
The cotton plant is, therefore, very useful, and provides millions of people with clothing.