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: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:14 am
Posts: 5
Location: Colorado USA
Hello fellow tobacco enthusiasts!

This will be my first year growing tobacco, and as the daily garden work goes on, my plants become fuller and more robust. I am growing 4 species of tobacco:

N. alata
N. havana
N. sylvestris
N. rustica

My interest in tobacco stems from shamanic practice and a deep calling to work with the plant. I have since been smoking some of the flowers and some un-cured dried tobacco from some of the first few leaves that finished, just to get a taste for the natural smoke.

I have learned much this season, pertaining to suckering, topping, etc. and have a good knowledge of permaculture practices. I have left 1 plant to seed from each species, and they all look extremely happy. I have an understanding of when to harvest leaves and how to color-cure, though I'm always open to suggestions, tips, and guidance. Right now the harvested leaves are bunched into 3's 4's or 5's, wrapped at the stem with rubber bands, with the undersides of the leaves facing each other, and hung in the basement with an oscillating fan in the room. They are sprayed daily with distilled water to help in drying them more slowly. Some of the leaves are still drying green which tells me that they are drying to fast or I picked them too early. Furthermore, I'm a little confused on the curing process as there are so many different ways to cure and each grower has to find what works best for himself.

If anyone has some guidance for a first year grower, my ears are open! Thanks for reading and happy growing!

Peace,
-TM :)


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5541
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
you should not need to mist them for curing...

i prefer to string them on a wire, each separated by a couple inches, but there's plenty of pics in the curing threads of this forum, or in my gallery pics...

...usually too dry inside a house, for curing.

don't pick the leaves until they are mature ! You will know... they begin to change... become yellowish and such.

Good luck
rc


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:58 am
Posts: 14
Hi TM.

While this sounds counterintuitive, spraying green leaves might even lead to faster drying - putting lots of wet towels on the ground or wet the ground might work better.

If you donĀ“t live in a desert (where is CO ?), drying outside under a rain and sun protection might be best choice, but some species are best cured in complete darkness.

Rustica is best stalk harvested in my experience (several weeks after topping), if you top and sucker it well, you will have verry low but verry powerfull leave, the second cut with rustica is still good with the most varietys.

If you harvest the whole plant in the waxing moon (close to full moon), it will likely dry far slower.


Edit: Rustycase was quicker and wrote pretty much the same that I did, while I was writing.


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:14 am
Posts: 5
Location: Colorado USA
Awesome, thank you for the replies!

CO is Colorado, and it's definitely desert dry here most of the time.. To my understanding, the color-curing process needs time and the correct level of humidity (60-90%) to turn the leaves from yellowish-green to brown or yellow. Since the climate here is so dry, what would be the best option with minimal monetary investment? Would pile-curing be more suitable than letting them hang? Do I need to let them hang and dry a bit before piling them up? After viewing the gallery it appears hanging them in hands is not preferable to hanging them individually. Is this correct?

Apologies if these questions seem mundane. I've searched this forum and done plenty of reading, I'm just still confused as to how it is done properly.


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5541
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
Pile curing is labor intensive, demands every-day attention, can destroy a lot of baccy, quickly if you fail to do so, but it can accelerate the initial cure process by quite a bit, if you are in an arid climate.
I would only do it for a short time until most the leaf yellows out, rotating position in the stack and airing out each day, especially in the beginning. I have made use of newspaper between layers of leaf, and tossed that aside to replace with fresh, each day.
No $'s involved...
When all are mostly yellowed, string em on 3ft-4ft pieces of 17g fence wire and hand up in the shade. 3 or 4 bucks for the wire...
Or you could string em to stickers and hang those stickers... 2 bucks for some kite string ? and scrap wood or bamboo for the stickers.
This is obviously for air cured... if it's really dry, hang some rags around them, and soak em from a bucket once a day. More fabric, or plastic, could be used to keep any dry breeze for curing the leaf too quickly.
Flash cure is just Not a good thing !
Mold, from too much humidity is just as bad, or worse.

Flue curing and such Will cost some $'s to generate the heat required.

All this information will be found in detail, in the curing threads of the forum...

Best, rc


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:14 am
Posts: 5
Location: Colorado USA
RC, thank you so much for the information, that answered many of my concerns. I'll continue to research and try what you have suggested. I just don't wanna let any of these big, beautiful leaves go to waste!

Is it better to hang them in the shade outside (as long as towels provide cover and humidity) or in the garage with a similar setup? I was thinking of setting up a curing string in the garage enclosed with some plastic on all sides with buckets of water underneath, wicking up water with some towels, and possibly a small fan, opening the 'chamber' to air out every so often..


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5541
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
Your method described for the garage would work great !!!
and you can control it all !

I used my curing chamber a lot ! The problem was it was too small !

If you put up cheapo painters plastic over the lid and wall... 8' long and 4' out on the lid.
Then poke through and nail on some 2x4 drops you can string your wires between. EZ money !
If dry inside tent, more buckets w/rags...
If too humid, leave tent doors open and have small fan circulation air amongst the hanging leaf.
If humid stays high, use electric heater to warm, and dry the air.
Watch closely every day, especially when first hung up... Easier after they begin to brown out.
Best
rc


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:58 am
Posts: 14
If you run out of space for hanging, I would prefer to pile-cure the rustica and not the havana.

I always lost quality and leave pile curing Dark air cured in my clima - but I got my best rustica with that.

Please tell me if you are intrested - I have little time right now and I did it different and it is a big complicated to describe .


Best luck with your project - always good if people are researching real benefits from tobacco.


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:14 am
Posts: 5
Location: Colorado USA
I've been pile curing the rustica, havana and sylvestris with satisfying success! The leaves are turning nice and dark, rich brown, especially with the mapacho! Phew!

I haven't set up my chamber yet as I've only had to harvest a few leaves here and there, though I'm excited to do so. Turning these piles twice a day would be quite a bit of labor if all of my plants were ready!

Thanks again for the input guys, I'm having a lot of fun learning about this sacred plant and getting to know it.

perma, my ears are open! The more I can learn the better!


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 Post subject: Re: Greetings, from CO
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:58 am
Posts: 14
Hi Tobaccomonkey.

I try to describe it as short and simple as possible:


I cut the leaves into pieces first - maybe letting them wilt a little bit before might be good.

Cutting has the advantage, that it is easier to air them.

Then I wrap the bunch into paper, so it looses humidity not so fast in the day and the color couring is not affected by daylight (for better light protection, I put it in a closed cupboard).

In the evening, I take the bunch and shake it for mixing the leaves, Then I let them open overnight and spread them as far away from each other as possible (a big paper piece should be used, I used more than one squaremeter).

They will loose moisture overnight, next morning, I wrap them again - I repeat this every day.


When they loose moisture significantly, you can wrap them more tight - at a certain point you can even add pressure.

It is important to improve tighness and pressure harmonically in the relation with moisture - too much, and you will have slobber, too less, and the result will be not better than air curing.

At a certain point the leaves will get verry wet throughout the day - than better spreading them out for a short time in the day as well.


It will maybe smell aggressive at one point and mine had a strong smell like seafood at one time in the process.

I see similarity to the perique process (fish smell) - and maybe the processing of Mapacho in the amazon (wetness and pressure).

After letting them air out well and letting it rest for a while, the result has good taste, better throat hit and far more strength than air cured rustica.

It was even stronger than the strongest Mapacho from the Amazon I smoked.


But if you found a running system - better not change it in the beginning.


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