What time is it? No, it’s not daylight savings time…
IT’S COTTON HARVEST TIME!
In October and November of every year, our dedicated farmers harvest the cotton that they have worked so hard on growing during the year. The process of growing our biodynamic cotton starts way before the actual seeds go into the ground.
First, horn manure needs to be prepared and fermented in the soil over winter and prepared in time to apply prior to sowing and planting in March— a powerful means of growing our cotton in a way that’s in harmony with the environment.
Once the land is prepared, onions are planted with enough space between them to plant our cotton seeds. The roots of the onions will act as a natural bug repellent to protect the cotton seeds once they take root as a healthy and safe alternative to pesticides. This process of priming the land for planting the crop is crucial to ensuring the high quality of the cotton, and thus the beautiful product that we make with it.
After this process has taken place, specially selected organic Egyptian cotton seeds are planted, which are chosen based on the region in Egypt where the seeds will be grown. This year’s seeds were planted last spring. At this point, pheromone traps are installed as additional protection for the crop.
Then, the wait begins— our farmers attend the fields with great care for seven months before the harvest can begin.
Fast forward seven months later, and the beautiful biodynamic cotton is ready for harvest. Our farmers and our cotton experts come together to observe the new harvest and conduct several tests that verifies the cotton meets our high quality standards.
Here the owners of the Sekem Initiative: Helmy and Konstanze Abouleish,
as they examine the properties of the new cotton harvest.
The evening that the inspections take place, everyone comes together to enjoy a celebration of the harvest with delicious food and entertainment. Preparations for next year’s cotton harvest will then start in a few short weeks.
The cotton you see in these photos will be ginned, spun, woven and knit into fabrics for Under the Nile’s 2021 winter collections. A reason to celebrate indeed.