How to Grow Tobacco

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 Post subject: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:14 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Iowa USA
I am on my second year of growing. My 1st went frickin awesome. Last year I did 20 plants and got 2 good solid harvests. That crop lasted me about 6 months. This year I doubled to 40 plants so I could have enough for a year. I am growing burley and black fire and I will only be making chew and some wannabe snus. This year here in Iowa, we had a very late winter, a very wet spring and now we are in a severe drought. Because of the crazy weather I did not get my plants in the ground until mid April. A full month later than I wanted. After planting, we had floods and the plants never had a chance to dry out and actually grow. For several weeks I was concerned about them surviving, My plants have not gotten very big at all. About half the size as last year. The flower stalks haven't even started forming yet. This time last year I was already harvesting the first crop. I am very concerned about having a big enough harvest. The plants are not ripe. I have been thinking about going out and harvesting what I have now. My reasons for this are so that I could hopefully get a second harvest in order to have enough product. I think if I harvested now there would be enough growing time to get another harvest. Last year I had some dry green but after fermenting it turned out just fine for chew. Should I do this? If it dries green will it be ok since I am not smoking it? What should I do?


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:41 pm
Posts: 874
Location: NE Washington
If they haven't started to bloom yet, I would let them keep growing. They will add a few more leaves and be easier to cure if they are riper. Let a couple suckers low down keep growing too. Some types will through out a ground sucker that will almost get as big as the main plant. I'd prime the leaves as they ripen and let everything else grow until the day before you get the first frost. You probably have close to 2 months until you get frost (i'm guessing) and they will do a lot of growing in that much time.


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:17 pm
Posts: 218
Location: West Central MO
Yeah, same problem here. Weather this year is crazy, and it has really affected growth. But don't worry - 'hot-and-dry' will mature the plants fine, and curing should be fine.
Most of my plants are smaller, and smaller leaf size. I think it is the too-wet-spring that is causing this.
And don't waste your time and effort on a 2nd crop. I tried that last year. Others in TX or Florida may be able to get another crop growing, but we're too far north. I had starts in the ground in early July, and while they matured before frost, the cooler & drier weather of fall/winter made air-curing almost impossible. 90+% dried green, and was trash.


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5539
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
This year I was late getting started, the WX was late getting hot, and I was nervous about my crop, as usual!

An awful lot for me to learn about farming !

Best to do as Sky says and let the plants tell you what shape they are in, rather than the calendar.
We just might get a long, warm fall, this year... really difficult to second guess Mother Nature !

Good luck
rc


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 68
Location: South Florida
Skychaser wrote:
Let a couple suckers low down keep growing too. Some types will through out a ground sucker that will almost get as big as the main plant.



What is the reason to let a sucker or two grow out? You guys have it instilled in me that suckers are the devil's plant :D .


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:51 pm
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Location: near Blacksburg, VA
FALaholic wrote:
What is the reason to let a sucker or two grow out? You guys have it instilled in me that suckers are the devil's plant :D .

Some folks grow a second (or even a third) crop from a sucker, once the primary plant has been harvested. The general consensus is that sucker leaf may be OK, but it is seldom of the same level of quality compared to the primary leaf.

If it's for cigarettes, then it doesn't matter too much about the quality, since you will likely be blending it. For cigar leaf, suckers are not particularly good, even for filler. This is, of course, just my own experience with suckers.

In sub-tropical areas, such as Florida, suckers may do much better than here in Virginia.

Bob

EDIT: If you have excess curing space, and not enough ground, then a sucker crop may make sense. If you have sufficient ground, then just planting more to begin with will help synchronize your tasks.


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:22 pm
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Location: South Florida
So using a sucker is essentially cloning?
How does one go abouts in doing so? Let the sucker get to 3-5 inches, sucker, add rooting hormone, and plant?


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:46 am 
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Location: near Blacksburg, VA
It's not cloning. The sucker sprouts from the root or stalk of an existing plant. Just let it grow.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:25 pm 
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I have left bottom suckers on my plants and they are growing nice...

but I hear tobacco and tomatoes are related... With that said can the top suckers be put into the ground to root like mater plants?


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:29 pm 
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Location: near Blacksburg, VA
Tobacco suckers can be rooted like that.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:14 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Iowa USA
I am pretty sure the burley is getting ripe. Could the lack of rainfall cause the leaves to get ripe prematurely? They are nowhere near being ready to produce a flower. However the bottom half of the plants are definitely close to being ready to harvest. Some of the leaves are almost past their prime. The leaves are yellow, white, brown, and alligator like. If I had already topped them I would be harvesting the bottom leaves right now. Dang weather anyhow. Dirt is bone dry and dusty several feet down. I dug down about 2 feet and it is very dry. I have cracks in my yard in many places that are roughly .5 inch wide. Perhaps I should have been watering them more. Probably should have watered them all along. I think I am going to start harvesting the ripe looking leaves. If not they are just going to get ruined.


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:41 pm
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Location: NE Washington
First off, if you add your general location to your user profile, it will show up in your posts and help people answer your questions in a more meaningful way.

If it is that dry, you should be watering. Tobacco is drought tolerant, but it's not cactus. I water mine regularly. It hasn't rained here in over a month now and has been in the 90's for most of July. A lack of water will cause the leaves to yellow. I'll cut my watering in half next month and stop all together by September. That helps trigger ripening. You can start priming your plants now by picking and stringing the lower leaves as they ripen instead of waiting to cut the whole plant. You can pick them every week to ten days. That is the way many people do it.


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:14 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Iowa USA
Skychaser wrote:
First off, if you add your general location to your user profile, it will show up in your posts and help people answer your questions in a more meaningful way.

If it is that dry, you should be watering. Tobacco is drought tolerant, but it's not cactus. I water mine regularly. It hasn't rained here in over a month now and has been in the 90's for most of July. A lack of water will cause the leaves to yellow. I'll cut my watering in half next month and stop all together by September. That helps trigger ripening. You can start priming your plants now by picking and stringing the lower leaves as they ripen instead of waiting to cut the whole plant. You can pick them every week to ten days. That is the way many people do it.


On the first post on this thread I put that I am in Iowa. I will add it to my profile right now. Is it ok to start priming even though they haven't even flowered yet?


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 Post subject: Re: harvesting questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Location: central coast of Kalifornia
Steve...

Yes, you can prime any time a leaf is ready... that is 'priming', by definition.

I agree 100% with Sky... You should be watering!

I favor drip irrigation.
It puts water only where needed and is quite thrifty on the water bills.
Downside... It will probably cost about $150 to get set up and started in drip irrigation.
Do not, use soaker hoses.
Unless you have perfect, pristine water, with No minerals in it, the little tiny holes will plug up and there is no recovery from that.
Drip irrigation emitters can be taken apart and blown out with the water pressure, and cleared.
I favor the 4gph/16lph flag drippers. They don't plug up so easily.

Gosh, pictures of your situation would help...

Good luck
rc


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