Cottonseed Meal Gardening: Is Cottonseed Healthy For Plants?
The most common question asked by gardeners is whether or not they should grow plants grown from seeds or if it’s better to use other sources of food. There are many benefits to growing plants produced from seeds such as ease of harvesting, ease of storage, and convenience. However there are some disadvantages too. One of these is the potential health risks associated with eating foods derived from animals raised on grain fed diets. Seeds from cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys are all considered “pig feed” because their bodies don’t produce enough vitamin A to make them healthy. Other types of meat include fish, chicken eggs and even human milk. All of which contain similar amounts of vitamins A and D but only the last two have been shown to be beneficial for humans (1).
There are several reasons why using animal products for food may be harmful to humans. Vitamin A deficiency causes rickets in children, blindness in adults and a variety of cancers in both young and old people (2). Vitamin B12 deficiencies cause mental retardation, heart disease, nerve damage and cancer. Both nutrients are found naturally in eggs, dairy products like cheese and yogurt, nuts and seeds (3).
Cows’ milk contains vitamin D as well.
Cottonseed is a nutritious and delicious food which is often overlooked as a viable alternative to food from animals. It contains large amounts of vitamins A and D, and good amounts of other nutrients as well, including: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid, folate, biotin, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium and zinc (4). They are high in calories and an excellent source of protein.
There is no cholesterol in cottonseeds, which makes them a great choice for people with heart problems or high blood pressure. They can be eaten raw, sprouted, roasted or ground into a nutritious flour. One ounce of raw seeds contains about 150 calories and 7 grams of protein (5).
Cottonseed is the fruit of the cotton plant and it grows right alongside the familiar white fluffy stuff we put in our clothes. It is not a nut, but it resembles one in texture and taste. Unopened flower buds are green and when they open they turn light yellow. The entire cotton plant, including the fruit, can be eaten raw or cooked.
Cottonseed is easy to find in any city or town in the south where cotton is grown. Most grocery stores don’t sell it, so you’ll have to look in places such as feed stores or rural supermarkets. One place you won’t have any trouble finding it is in any roadside stand or farmers market in the south. It’s often sold roasted and salted in the shell or shelled and ready to eat.
You can also grow your own cotton. It grows best in sandy soil and full sun, but will grow in most conditions. Seeds should be soaked for 24 hours before planting to reduce the amount of hormones they produce. The seeds should be planted 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart.
It takes about 3 months from planting to harvest (6).
Cotton has been grown for food for over a thousand years. During the Depression it was called “mortgage lifter” because farmers grew it to pay off their debts. It is beginning to make a comeback.
Cottonseed is more nutritious than soybeans and tastes similar to them as well. It can be used in any recipe that calls for nuts or seeds. A mixture of cottonseed flour and wheat flour can be used to make pancakes just as you would with regular flour.
In the 1800’s slaves on southern plantations were given a small amount of cottonseed to eat daily. It is delicious raw, but it can also be cooked or ground into a paste. It was once believed that cottonseed was so fattening that it could only be eaten in small quantities or it would cause weight problems. This has since been proven false.
Cotton is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world. It attracts fewer pests when it is grown away from other crops and doesn’t need as many chemicals to thrive.
The black walnut grows on trees that can reach 30 meters in height and live for over a thousand years. Grown commercially in the US, primarily in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Ohio, black walnuts are also found wild throughout the Eastern US. They contain an astounding amount of antioxidants and natural chemicals beneficial to the heart, and they’re one of the most delicious nuts on the planet.
A mature tree will produce about 50 kg (110 pounds) of meat per year. This is about what a person would consume in a year if they used it as a primary meat source. Pick your own or buy it at a farmer’s market. Black walnuts can also be found at some grocery stores or online.
The meat of the black walnut has an excellent, unique flavor. It tastes very rich and a little sweet, and is highly nutritious. It’s an incredibly healthy food that contains high levels of antioxidants, essential fats and minerals. It’s a fair source of vitamin B3 and copper, and a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, folate, and various other nutrients.
It also contains large amounts of natural chemicals like juglone, thioproperazine, meliantriol, and benzaldehyde that are beneficial to the heart.
A small amount of food science knowledge can help you greatly increase the value of this food. You can dry it and then grind it into a powder, which doesn’t have great flavor but makes a great additive to other foods. It can also be boiled with other foods to make a nutritious natural dye.
Black walnut is extremely high in antioxidants, which can help prevent cancer, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and slow down the signs of aging. It’s also high in fat, which makes it a great energy food if you’re on the go. Iodine is one of the main natural ingredients in the thyroid gland, which controls how quickly your body uses energy.
Sources & references used in this article:
Availability of the essential ammo acids in cottonseed meal. by KA Kuiken, M Trant – Journal of Nutrition, 1952 – cabdirect.org
Effect of cottonseed meal with or without soapstock, canola meal, or urea on soil fertility and growth of marigold and redbud by KE Fine, JC Cole – Journal of plant nutrition, 2013 – Taylor & Francis
Lysine supplementation of sorghum grain-cotton-seed meal rations for growing-fattening pigs. by F Hale, CM Lyman – Journal of Animal Science, 1961 – cabdirect.org
Lesquerella press cake as an organic fertilizer for greenhouse tomatoes by SF Vaughn, NA Deppe, MA Berhow… – Industrial Crops and …, 2010 – Elsevier
Protein-phytic acid relationship in peanuts and cottonseed. by TD Fontaine, WA Pons Jr, GW Irving Jr – Journal of Biological …, 1946 – cabdirect.org
Inactivation of aflatoxins in peanut and cottonseed meals by ammoniation by HK Gardner Jr, SP Koltun, FG Dollear… – Journal of the …, 1971 – Wiley Online Library
Use of cottonseed meal in swine rations. by F Hale, CM Lyman, HA Smith – Bulletin. Texas Agricultural …, 1958 – cabdirect.org
Evaluation of protein quality in cottonseed meals by chick growth and by a chemical index method. by CM Lyman, WY Chang, JR Couch – Journal of Nutrition, 1953 – cabdirect.org
Use of cottonseed meal in aquatic animal diets: a review by MH Li, EH Robinson – North American Journal of Aquaculture, 2006 – Taylor & Francis