How to Grow Tobacco

How to grow and process tobacco at home for personal use. This is a non-commercial hobby website.
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 Post subject: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 4:10 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Hemet, Ca
the last round of tobacco taxes has encouraged me to grow my own tobacco- or at least try. I have never grown tobacco before. I picked up a few packages of Virginia Gold, and Turkish. I put most of them in peat moss, with a few in a wet paper towel in a zip lock bag.

I have a real high PH water source, and it has taken me every bit of two weeks to get these seeds started. In some batches of seeds, I squeezed a few drops of an orange into the water to bring down the PH, and they came up in about 8 days, so I'm pretty sure the high PH water is going to be a problem.

I now decided to transplant them into Rapid Rooter and tend them in a propagator until I'm sure they'll take. I picked General Hydroponics' Maxigro for feeding when they get a little bigger, which is 10-5-14, PH 5.8 mixed in distilled water, and I am just using plain distilled water now until they get a little bigger. Some I have given a few shots of extremely diluted maxigro, I will see which take better

my water source is going to be a problem, I didn't want to have to buy water for the plants. I can use PH Down (GH product), but I was curious if there were any other ideas on how to get the PH down. Has anyone else had to reduce their water PH? How did you do it? And also, what kinds of fertilizer do people use?

I'll put up a few pics when I get them all into the mat. I hope I can find helpful advice to make this a successful grow.

God Bless,
Jeff Lucas


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:34 pm
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How high a PH are you talking about?


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Location: Eastern MA, USA
What's your climate like? Do you expect to have to water the plants a lot once they're in the ground? Is your water from a well (I'm guessing that's why the PH is so high)?

Until you put them in the ground, they don't need that large a volume of water, so almost any acid (vinegar, for example) would work to lower the PH without costing you an arm and a leg.

If you think you're going to have to water the plants a lot, you might consider pool chemicals (I think muriatic acid is the most common?) to adjust the PH? Going out on a limb here, but I would guess that's the most cost-effective way to change the PH of large volumes of water and ought to be safe?


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 6:04 pm 
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You're using some mighty expensive fertilizers. Phosphoric acid is the common ingredient in pH adjusting chemicals. It is used because it is a plant nutrient as well as a strong acid. Other acids are called weak acids because their pH is due to factors besides hydronium ion, weak acids are things like vinegar and citric acid, these acids also don't alter pH by the classic means of rebonding to water and a salt as is typical of strong acids and bases.

You're water may be alkaline because of alkalis in the water or it may just be a high carbonate water which doesn't mean it has a high pH as much as it means it has a high capacity to buffer out acids If it is a high carbonate water then reverse osmosis will remove most of the problem and this is much more common then a high alkali water. So it is best to know what you are really dealing with before attempting to correct it.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:50 am
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Location: NW Arkansas, USA
Is there any way that you can catch rainwater? Perhaps a rain barrel under your eaves?
One good note, I saw a seller of only dry climate plants, and they sold tobacco. It may have only been a certain type, but, you might have to experiment with it.
Also oak leaves, make my soil too acidic, you might try soaking some in water, it is called manure tea, and use this to water the plants.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Location: Hemet, Ca
Actually, it's city tap water, with a PH just under 8. I thought of the possibility of a high chlorine content in the tap water, but the bit of acid from the OJ did the trick. I don't know that distilled is the best to use right now, but there is not much alterntive right now.

I'm in Southern California; where it's probably more hot than necessary, and dryer than it should be. We will be getting temperatures of 100+ next month, and it will continue until October. The climate is very dry (no rain to catch!), and I imagine They will drink a lot. I started too late in the year.

The fertilizer is all I know to use. It looked the best suited for tobacco plants that I could find. I couldn't find much on tobacco nutrients. I should have thought about a dry climate strain, that would have certainly minimized the potential water problem.

I took a few pics, I will see if I can upload them- actually, I don't know how.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 9:59 pm 
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For a relatively cheap fertilizer you can buy Miracle Grow Tomato Food fertilizer. It should work just fine. As for the ph problem, are you using a litmus strip to test or a chemical test? I've found that they often give different results.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 4:10 pm
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Location: Hemet, Ca
I have a powder tester and an electronic tester, Hanna Instruments


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Personally, I trust the chem test more than the electronic test. Just my experience. Vinegar is cheap and easy to apply. Good luck with whatever you decide.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:32 pm 
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Location: Hemet, Ca
I had read that tomato and pepper fertilizers are what you want for tobacco, and I saw a few local organic soils that looked pretty good, and I even started to mix my own soil until the water issue came up. But I think I'm going to give the Maxigro a shot, and transplant them into either Cocotek or rockwool pots. GH is pretty good quality. You can get a couple pounds for about 15 bucks, and it mixes 1-2 teaspoons per gallon. I plan to use mychorriza subculture when I transplant them, which is 30-50 bucks for a little jar. I'm not going to use lights.

My growing space is limited, so I'm not sure how many I intend to grow, but I started a bunch. I will probably give most away to my friends when they're ready to transplant.

-The hobby itself is worth the expense. But I will keep tabs on what it costs me all together. I hope to grow a good quality crop of tobacco, and let efficiency come in time.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:52 pm
Posts: 190
Location: Portland, Oregon
You must be in San diego area. You have to chisel that water to get it to fit the glass. Actually the peat itself is slightly acid so that will help mitigate the strong alkali water.

You might want to water your garden with gray water from the clothes washer, but others will have stronger opinions than I on that one.

Leigh M
Portland


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 3:54 am 
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Location: NW Arkansas, USA
I would suggest that you look up drought gardening. There are many things that you can do to conserve moisture for your plants.
If in a garden use a drip irrigation system, you can save alot of water, by putting drip lines under ground, and on a timer. Then, once plants are established and weather is consistently warm, you put mulch on top of the soil. Also, you can add liquid plant foods etc, into the lines. Check your local department of agriculture. I have soil that is on the acidic side, but when the department of agriculture tested my water, they said that I was drinking liquid limestone, hence, I buy drinking water that requires less chewing. Due to oak leaves falling, and watering with this water, it stays close to neutral, just barely acid.
In a planter you can put a soda bottle (2liter) bottomless, upside down and fill it with water, it will slowly water the plants closer to the root zone. And you can still use mulch, just make the soda bottle permanent.
Even shading your plants can help them to grow with less water.
Gray water works great for Tomatoes, not sure about tobacco. But, the EPA used to recommend it for all garden crops, haven't checked if they still do. Check with your local county extension agent about gray water recommendations.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 4:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:07 pm
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You can buy a mychorhizae culture for soil much cheaper from Paul Stamets website, Fungi Perfecti. Paul is one of the best mycologists of the last 30 years. You can also try Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, www.groworganic.com , nice folks and a great selection of organic fertilizers and soil amendments. I remember them selling mychorhizae in a few forms.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 10:33 am 
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Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 4:10 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Hemet, Ca
thanks for that link! The Fungi Perfecti website has some really good deals on it. I'll look in to their stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: PH
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 10:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:56 am
Posts: 144
Location: Colorado City, CO
add miracle grow for acid loving plants to your water. should bring the ph down and fertalize at the same time.


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