How to Grow Tobacco

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 Post subject: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:54 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
A little history
In 1990 I was selected to be part of the US/UK Non Commissioned Officer Exchange Program. This meant that a soldier from the United Kingdom would come to the US and train with me, then later I'd go over to the UK and train with him. I packed my normal 3 cartons of Winston 100's in my duffle and off I went to London. Was then shipped the same day to a training site in Wales. Most of the UK Soldiers were smoking RYO as regular packs were like 5 pounds a pack (or some unGodly high amount...the memory is hazy as to the exact price...but I do remember it was expensive). Either I planned poorly or my stay was extended, but either way I found myself in need of additional smoking material. So, I went native. Figured "when in what the English do", or was that Rome and Romans?? After smoking my first RYO, I found it smooth to the taste. If I set it down, the cigarette would extinquish itself and not just burn itself out like a regulated fuse. I could then relight at a later time. To do that with a Winston you'd have to press the smoke out by pressing it in a tray and deforming the end of it. Anyway, from that date forward, I've been smoking RYO cigarettes.

Finding RYO tins has always been a little hit or miss. If a store carried it at all, they only carried one or two types, and were even then prone to running out (which is something NO smoker wants to happen). When I found some, I stocked up by buying like 8 tins at a time. The tins were $5 a piece. As time passed, the prices continued to rise. Prices ranged from 8-13 $ per tin up until April 1st. Then Obama did his bit, and now it's $29/tin. Just as bad as the prices were. My suppliers even stopped carrying RYO, figuring that since the price or RYO and commercial smokes was nearly the same, that no customer would be buying them. The only place nearby me in SC that even carried RYO B.O (Before Obama) was CVS Pharmacy, and they only carried Drum. I was driving 2:15 each way up to JR Tobacco in Statesville NC and cleaning them out every few months. Now, A.O (After Obama) they aren't selling it at all, so I find myself scouring the internet, and ordering from AmericanThrustTobacco in NY. They are even runnning out or having products "discontinued". I ordered a case (24 tins) and sometime later, heard that Bali Red was going to be discontinued, so I placed an order on nearly the last day for 2 cases (48 tins) which cost $1200.00 USD. I thought to my self "this is just assinine. Something is just plain WRONG with this picture, but what can I do????

The Plan (or evil scheme)
It was late in May of 2009.
I searched the web and when I found out that growing the stuff was actually legal (for home use, I.E not for sale) to grow, and that there were sites which would be good enough to sell me seeds, and even sites which would instruct me as to how to actually do it. I own 3 acres here out in the "boonies". Already had an established gardening area with vegetables in the process of growning. I have a credit card with some credit still on it (unlike the two my wife has...but, that's a whole different story). So,,,I do have everything needed to grow some smokes and have a reliable source with which to feed my addiction.

Implementation of THE PLAN
Since reading this site, I knew I was getting a late start on the growing season, so I had to hurry. I'd seen the Seedman Site and decided to get going. But what to grow? There were many options and I didn't know Burley from Barney (no,,not Barney,,, that stupid song is in my head again...). Then I had to wonder "how much to grow?", "how much space is this going to take?", and many others. I read the side of my can of Bali Shag Red and it said "Bali Golden Shag is blended from the finest Virginia and Orient tobaccos, with a full flavoured taste like Virginia Cigarettes." So, I needed to try and get close to that, but how? I found the Virginia Gold, and Turkish black sea samsun, but still didn't know if blending these two would do it. There were so many types and so little time with which to choose. I decided to buy several varieties, hoping to get something that would work. I knew I had to hurry, that much I was sure of.

As to how much, I calculated thusly. My tins were 5.29 oz, each tin lasted me X days. Websites showed I could expect from 3-6 oz per plant of dry smokeable stuff. So I needed 1.5 plants per tin smoked. A tin of RYO is close to a commercal carton of smokes. Each plant would be spaced 2' apart in 3' spaced rows. I know now I needed to expand the garden from 16'x42' to 38'x48'. My existing crop would be almost finished by the first of August. I would still have 90 days before first frost, and if I acted quickly and got the seeds in the soil, they'd be the required 6-8 weeks old about the time my existing harvest ended. Time was my enemy.

The Order
From This page at I ordered:
One set of 5 of the ST1020WH Standard 1020 Tray ( Flat )with Holes
One set of 5 of the ST1020CV Propagation Dome for 1020 Trays
One set of 5 of the ST1206 72 Cell Plug Flat Insert for 1020 Trays

I'd read that some germinated the seeds in a tray, to later transplant them to 4" pots, to later transplant them to the ground. As time was my enemy, I figured I'd be planting them a little sooner than most, especially since I didn't have to wait for last frost, so I chose to seed them directly into the 72 cell trays, then transplant to the garden. Skipping one step here.

I ordered the following seeds from this page at
One package of TA14 Common Smoking Tobacco ( Tabacum Burley )
One package of TA101 Golden Seal Special Burley
Two packages of TA202 Virginia Gold
One package of TA62 Yellow Orinoco, but had meant to get one package of TA102 Lizard Tail Orinoco, but I was in a hurry and screwed up.
One package of TA55 Black Sea Samsun Turkish

The shipment arrived one week later, intact, and contained the quantities and items ordered.

From Lowes I purchased:
One bag of Miracle Grow Potting mix
One bag of Peat moss

(NOTE: I'd meant to get Potting SOIL, not Potting MIX. The mix has relatively large chunks of tree bark in it that might get in the way of proper germination. Imagine the seed landing on the bark and not the dirt, Not much root potential there. But I paid attention to the potential problem, and as I'm writing this 5 weeks after sowing, I can say it all turned out fine)

Here we go, the Sowing, June 10th 2009
I'd read the seedlings needed to be watered from the bottom so as to not disturb the delicate roots or even wash the itty bitty seed completely away, but I ordered the trays WITH holes for a reason. I planned to lay a tall kitchen trash bag in the bottom to catch the water that drips from the cell tray. That way, after they've got roots and can be hardened off outdoors, I can remove the bag and gently water from the top and the water can go out the holes in the tray. Meaning, I only needed one tray and not two (one with and one without holes).

I took a 5 gallon bucket. Added two handfuls potting mix, then one handful peatmoss, mixed it in the bucket, then continued adding a two to one ratio until I had enough to fill three of the five 72 cell trays. Roughly, 1/3 the volume of the bucket will suffice. I then remixed the mix until I had a decently blended mixture.

I then used my hands and poured the mix little by little onto the trays, spreading it evenly until each tray had enough loose soil to reach the top of the cell rims. Remember, this is loose soil and will compact when watered. Remember also, I planned to skip a transplant procedure and go right to the ground with the plants. When transplanting you plant the new plant a little deeper than it formerly was. If I just leave the cells with the loose soil level to the cell top, then when I water it will compact to about 1/4" below the cell rims. Leaving me room to add more soil in 3-4 weeks and to "simulate" the missing transplant step and hopefully not suffering the transplant shock phase, and perhaps shave a couple days off the grow . That's the plan anyway. Then gently water your new soil thoroughly, it will take several passes for the water to absorb completely . Take a break and let the water temp warm to the ambient air temp and let the water permeate the soil. 30 minutes should be good enough.

I labelled the provided stakes (came with seed packet) as to the type of tobacco. The plan is to have a full tray of Virginia Gold, and 1/2 a tray of each of the others to blend with the Virginia Gold. Then I poured each pack onto a paper plate. Took the plate to the gardening area. I used my finger tip, pressed them against the seed, then examined my finger for quantity. Knocked a couple off and tried my best to put two seeds/cell, after I was done and still had a lot of seed left. I picked up more and just kinda spread it around as evenly as possible. This was done for each variety. I put the moist seed trays in the bottom trays which I'd lined with a tall kitchen trash bag. Carried them to the house and put them on a table in the bedroom. It has a bow window which faces WNW. Since it's South Carolina, we had the AC set to 80 degrees, meaning the seeds were held at just over that amount as we shut the vents in the bedroom so we don't have to keep that room cool all the time. I then took another of the bottom trays with holes, lined it with a tall trash bag, went to the bathroom counter and filled it with water to about 1" from the top. I then gave each seed tray a dip in the water to ensure it was moist throughout. I left each tray in the watering tray for about 10 minutes. This is how I will water them until it's time to harden them. Then I returned them to thier home in the bedroom and put the clear dome over each one.

I watered them twice the first day, and then only once per day until germination

June 14th 2009
I noticed my first germination of seeds and infact many/most seeds of all the trays showed germination within a 12 hour window on that day. So, it took 4 days to germination for me. I removed the clear plastic domes permanently as this point. Don't think they did much, but hey, I'd purchased them.

June 15th 2009
Place two 27 watt CFL lamps (equiv to 100W regular) over seedlings, on from 8 am-10:30 pm each day.
I cut watering to every other day or as needed to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

June 21st 2009, End of first week after germination

June 23rd 2009
1st true leaf appears on most seedings, thin to two or three plants/cell

June 27th 2009
Place trays outdoora from 8 - 12:50 a.m on table top on corner rail out of direct sun at all times. Start applying fan to plants in bedroom for 3 hours.

June 28th 2009, End of 2nd week after germination
Most are Coresta stage 1001 or 1002. 10% are 1000, 80% are 1001, 10% are 1002. You can rate your own at, or hopefully this link to the Coresta PDF link works. Place trays outdoors 8-12 a.m, then fan in bedroom for 4 hours,. Thin them down to two/cell. Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm.

June 29th 2009
Topped the soil up on 3 rows of each tray with peat moss, to simulate transplanting and burying up to the leaves. No outside trip today, No fan run. Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm.

June 30th 2009
Water, use fan for 3-4 hours,. no outside trip. Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm.

July 1st 2009
Topped off the rest of the cells in all trays, applied fan,. and lights weren't on up until 4 PM (dang wife), no outside trip.

July 2nd 2009
Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm., seem to be surviving the topping off, turn on fan 4 P.M.. No outside trip.

July 3rd 2009
Lights on at 4 p.m. no outside trip. Turn on fan for 3-4 hours..

July 4th 2009
Plants outside on rail, bring in at 11 am, apply lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan for 3-4 hours..Water in P.M.

July 5th 2009, End of third week after germination
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm Add fan for 3-4 hours ..

July 6th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm. add fan for 3-4 hours.. Noticed one Third true leaf. Need to look closer tomorrow.

July 7th 2009
Lights on,

July 8th 2009
Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm, fan on for 3-4 hours,. water in a.m.

July 9th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm. and fan on in a.m.. Most are Coresta stage 1003, a few appear to be entering 1004.

July 10th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan on in a.m.. Noticed the center plants getting taller than those on the two outside edges, moved light to the nearest side to get them more light. Perhaps I should switch to 4' flourescent bulbs?

July 11th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan on in a.m. .

July 12th 2009, End of fourth week after germination
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan on in a.m.. Water in P.M with Fertilizer, transplant extra seedlings to the two empty cells.

July 13th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan on in a.m.. Plants seem to be accelerating in growth. Misted plants with tepid water with mister.

July 14th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan on in a.m. .

July 15th 2009
Lights from 8 am-10:30 pm and fan on in a.m.. Buy more potting mix to use with my existing peat moss for one more trays worth of plants after thinning cells down to one plant per cell. Misted plants with tepid water with mister.

July 16th 2009
Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm, Mixed soil 2 parts Miracle Grow potting mix, one part peat moss and put in starter tray, found out the trays are 72 cell, not the 78 cell I thought they were originally. Watered soil thoroughly. Transferred the 2nd plant in the cells to the new tray; 3 rows Virginia gold nearest the stake, 1 row Goldens seal special burley, one row Common smoking burley, and one row Black sea samsun. Also filled a dozen dixie cups to take to work and give away. Misted plants with tepid water with mister.

July 17th 2009
Today is the day I typed this long post. Just as a side note with no dates. I've already layed out the new garden area, tilled the grass under. Added 10 backhoe bucket loads (about 5 inches worth) of top soil and smoothed. Tilled that under. Did a soil test. Added 16 lbs aluminum sulfate to lower the Ph. Installed the T posts along the border of the new garden (had to steal some from the old garden making it's chicken wire rather flimsy. Just waiting on the wifes help keeping the dogs in the house so we can take down and reuse the chicken wire to fence in the new garden. The dogs would love nothing more than to run through and knock over the corn, tomatoes, beans, peppers, etc. Also have 150' of new 3' chicken wire to add to the old. The old garden currently sits inside the area of the new garden. Lights on from 8 am-10:30 pm, no fan run as wife was using it. Misted plants with tepid water with mister.

Here's an Autocad 2006 Mechanical drawing of my proposed garden layout. Note: .0833 = 1 inch, .17=2 inches, etc. All dimensions are in Feet. Each circle represents a plant 2 foot in diameter. Each group contains 39 plants. 39 plants times 6 groups equals 234 plants in total. If I have enough of the varieties in the "extra tray" (taken when I thinned to one plant/cell, then I can plant them 2' apart instead of the 2' 2" shown in the drawing and add 4 more plants per group, or 24 more plants total.

Note: There is a typo on the Acad drawing. Virginia Gold TA-212, should read Virginia Gold TA-202.

The garden is 1824 sq. ft in size. I've read everything I can in regards to specific nutrient requirements. Compared it to the soil test results and plan to apply the correct amount to get it to where it should be about a week prior to transplanting. I will then apply only the nitrogen and potash it should be consuming from the soil as it grows. I plan to stop all nutrient additions after topping occurs. I also plan to do two applications of liquidized acephate and one application of liquid sevin during the growth cycle. I'll spray the Acephate within one week of transplant, then again 3 weeks later. Then apply just the sevin after that. Hopefully, the acephate half life will have removed nearly all of it by plant maturity. I've also applied "grub-ex" a week and a half ago, and will again prior to planting.

Anyone read this whole thing and have any suggestions, comments, alterations, negations, additions, etc to the plan or development?

July 18th 2009
Got home last nite and could swear some grew 1/4" while I was at work. A recent storm made 80% of my corn lay down facing east. Thought of propping them back up but decided that since we were harvesting them next weekend anyway, that we'd just do it now. Leaving the stalks so I can till them under. Took down the old garden fence, pulled the T Posts and put the posts in on the last side of the new garden outline. Restrung the old fence as far as we could on the new posts. Added new fence to completely fence in the new garden.
Put the trays outside this morning. They got full sun at 1 P.M for about 45 minutes (for the first time). The tray of newly transplanted and the smaller ones in the established trays didn't seem to fair well with full sun. Leaves got really droopy. The larger plants seemed fine. Brought plants in, turned lights on from 2-11 pm. Gave each tray water. Misted plants with tepid water with mister. Spread 16 lbs of Aluminum Sulphate(to lower Ph(second application)), and 10 cu. ft of peat moss across entire garden. Amounted to little more than a dusting of peat. Need to find a bulk supplier as the bags are 18$ for 3.8 cu ft. Most plants are Coresta stage 1004, and a few are 1005. The largest of the leaves measures 2" stalk to tip, and only 1 1/4" is leaf. The transplanted and established plants seem to have recovered from the sun exposure. All except two that is. One of the transplanted Common Smoking Burley plants now has yellow patches. One established Virginia gold (the smallest one) seems to be dead. It's laying wilted on the soil.

July 19th 2009, End of fifth week after germination
Placed all trays outdoors in the a.m. Picked everything except one cherry and one big boy Tomato plant. Tilled the entire garden, working in the Aluminum Sulphate and peat applied yesterday and all the bonus green matter. Bring trays in 12:45 (before direct sun) and put under lamps the rest of the day.

July 20th 2009
Lights on all day, Fan on in the a.m.. Misted plants with tepid water with mister. Called local chemical company that services farms. Ordered two 50lb bags of Super Rainbow for Tobacco Fertilizer. Felt kinda sheepish troubling the "service rep" for just two bags when I'm sure his normal customers have more than just 4% of ONE acre to fertilize. LOL

July 21st 2009
Temps hi/lo 88/68 74% RH at 11 a.m
A really big day for the plants. Decided it was time to start hardening them off. Largest leaves are only 1/4" from the recommended 2" length needed to transplant. The smaller ones still need time to grow. The CFL lighting wasn't giving an even amount of foot candles of light across the tray, resulting in the middle plants growing larger than the outside ones, or atleast that's my assumption. It's too close to transplant time to correct this by moving the lamps from outside to outside edge. Hopefully the sun will lend a hand in this, or atleast make them grow faster. I've set up two sawhorses out under a Magnolia Grandiflora tree just inside the drip line(two feet inside) and towards the NE. Also, I can easily see them from where I sit inside the house, so as to both enjoy the view and to ensure the dogs (four of them) don't get too curious. It's numerous large leaves should protect the plants from sun and most rains (rain running sideways in high wind might get to them). I put four 1x4's on the sawhorses. Removed the trash bags from the trays and moved out onto the boards. At 10 a.m about the 1/2 of each tray has morning sun on them. By 10:30 they were all in the shade.
Big home tonite after dark. Checked plants with a flashlight. All seem fine...Ahhhh....

July 22 2009
Temps hi/lo 92/70, 98% RH at 9 a.m
Water plants with hose for first time. Used the "mist" setting and watered until water came from holes in bottom tray.. Nozzle was kept 3' from trays to reduce the pressure. The larger plants leaned to the soil with the weight of the water on the leaves. Since the plants did fine yesterday, moved them 4" closer to the drip line to get a bit more sun. Due to forest 55' east of the Magnolia, the plants don't start getting direct sun until 9 a.m and should be fully shaded by the tree at 10:30 a.m, so they're getting 1.5 hours direct morning sun and that's it for the day. Night time flashlight check of the plants reveals everything still OK.

July 23rd 2009
Temps hi/lo 92/70 87% RH at 9:34 a.m.
Moved trays out 6-8" in a North Easterly direction from the trunk. The outer most edge of the trays is nearly at the drip line. The Super Rainbow fertilizer site shows that Burley (4,000 lb/A 290-37-321 lb/A NPK) takes significantly more nutrients from the soil than does flue cured (3,000 lb/A 126-26-257) tobacco. My existing planned layout will allow me to use less fertizer on the Virginia since they're seperated from the Burley. Hmm, Is Black Sea Samsun considered Flue cured, or Burley tobacco? From reading the "flue cured tobacco guide from NCSU" it says the uptake quantities for flue cured are 60-15-90 lbs/acre, which is significantly less than the fertilizer site figures. Ofcourse the Yeild rates/acre are different and NCSU figures don't give a yield/acre for comparison. The plants first saw full sun at 8:42 a.m, and were still 80 covered at 11:30 a.m. Some small leaves that were touching the black plastic sides of the seed trays were wilted and stuck to the plastic. Pulled leaves away from plastic, and pushed trays in towards the tree 4". Got home, used flashlight. Any plant that had a leaf touching the black part of the tray now has dead leaf, the damage stops abruptly where the leaf no longer touches the tray. hmmm.

24 July 2009
Temp hi/lo, 95/70
The local tractor supply, lowes, and the farmers milling co did not have a means to supply me with the potash requirements, I'd read about. Several sources say not to use "muriate of Postash" due to the chloride content. I had already purchased some, along with Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulphate), Ammonium Nitrate, Triple Superphosphate, and Gypsum. Finally I found a local chemical company willing to sell small quantities (50lb bags) of a 6-6-18 w/micronutrients specifically made for tobacco. It's called Super Rainbow for tobacco. I ordered two bags to try and make it worth his time, even though at 667 lb/acre, I only needed 26 lbs per year. Anyway, since I had the stuff already before I found the complete fertilizer, I went ahead and put a little of each down today. See below for amount applied (note: I held off on applying the gypsum until the soil tests come back)


Before doing so, I took a soil sample from the new and the old garden. Performed the analysis and it still says I have 6.5 Ph in the new garden and 7.5 in the old.


I've previously spread 8 lbs aluminum sulfate on the old this spring, then 16 more across both gardens after tilling up the grass and adding top soil. I added 16 more last week, and have 16 more sitting in the kitchen to be put down. I found a chart (see above chart) website and it recommends I put down 251 lbs of aluminum sulfate(6.9 times what it would take for Sulphur). What? that's alot of stuff in one little garden. I called the super rainbow supplier/salesman and asked about elemental sulphur, since that should do the trick with just 36 lbs, He asked about the soil's origins, and can't believe it's that high. He's coming out next week to pull a couple samples and send to What great service so far, wondering a little about the bill though. LOL I did finally find a supplier for potash, it's called "K-mag", but they only sell in bulk, and can't do it one gallon bucket at a time. See below pictures in post dated July 24th. We had about 10-15 min worth of good rain today

July 25th 2009
Temps hi/lo, 95/72, 52% RH at 12:25 P.M
Moved trays further from the trunk. Now have Sun from 8:40 A.M.-12:30 P.M. Noticed a couple droopy leaves so I rotated the trays 180 degrees (end for end) so the droopy ones will be in the shade shortly.

Purchased two rolls of 3'X50' 4 mil black plastic and installed it on the NW and SW portions of the fence with about 12 feet covering the SE side of the fence. It is my hope this will cut down on the wind enough that I don't have to make 260 three foot stakes to keep the plants upright. The fence has 3' chicken wire fence, then I applied the plastic sheet and put another section of 3' chicken wire over that (plastic is sandwiched between chicken wire) to keep it in place. Perhaps you can see I already have a nature made obstruction to winds from the North and NorthEast. I call it a forest.

The camera is pointing North. Garden measures 38'x48' (those green things are the remaining two tomato plants)

July 26th 2009, End of sixth week after germination
95/72 60% RH at noon.
EEEK, the ones in the transplant tray are all droopy leaves (noon), some in the established trays are. Lifted tray, feels light compared to when fully watered. Pushed trays up into the shade, and watered liberally. I think they need more frequent watering outdoors than they needed indoors.

July 27th 2009
92/72, 70% RH at 11:25 a.m.
Fertilizer salesman took soil samples to send to He took one look at my only two remaining garden plants, and said "Your tomatoes have Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, and it'll spread to your tobacco. It's caused by Thrips and probably happened at the nursery (aka Lowes). Mixed 1/4 teaspoon 75% Acephate to 8 ozes water and applied to the tobacco plants with a spray bottle. Noticed holes in the leaves.

July 28th 2009
95/72, 63% RH at 1:00 P.M.
In an effort to kill any thrip that might possibly infect my tobacco, I used a fertilizer dispenser (attached to garden hose) that is adjustable as to the rate it takes the chemicals out of the bowl and adds it to the spray water. Poured in 3 - 4 ozs of Sevin (22.5%), topped off with water, and sprayed the tomato plants, hoping to catch the critters still on the plant. I also sprayed everything (including the tilled soil) within 30 or so feet from the outside edge of the garden (including the garden). Had to mix up new bowl full twice. Let it set for an hour, then took some trash bags and bagged up the tomato plants for disposal. Didn't carry the bags anywhere near my tobacco starts, nor did I touch the tobacco the rest of the day. They have a two week life cycle (egg - adult) and can live 30 days, but only can be infected with TSWV during the first instar of their life by feeding on an infected plant. I'm hoping to kill enough of the current generation that by the time I transplant, that generation will be gone. I.E get rid of any source that can infect the new generation.

July 29th 2009
88/72 77% RH at 11 am
Really boring now, waiting on the soil samples. watered liberally. Got 45 min worth of rain. Wasn't home so I don't know how much got through the leaves of the tree to reach the plants..

July 30 2009
90/72 79% RH at 10:30 a.m

July 31st 2009
92/72 78% RH at 10:10
What a difference a week makes.
This picture was taken on July 24th. The largest leaves measured 1.75" stalk to tip.

This was taken today (one week later), the largest leaves measure 3.75" stalk to tip, so thy've grown 2" in a week. Man they don't grow fast until the roots get established, do they?

Ended up putting down the entire 40lb bag of gypsum. Tried to do only 20 lbs, but to keep the application even I had to. Gypsum was added for it's water retentive properties, not just the nutrient properties.

August 1st 2009
92/75 95% RH at 10:28 a.m.
Since Acephate is systemic and the plant growth is tremedous, I worry that the new growth isn't as protected at it should be, so I added 1/4 teaspoon 75% acephate to 8 ozs of water and misted the plants again.

August 2nd 2009 End of seventh week after germination
88/72 83% RH at 9:53 a.m.
Water liberally. I wish I could put these in the ground, they're definitely ready. Just waiting on soil samples to see if I need Sulfur or not to lower Ph. Also waiting on Fertilizer, but that wouldn't stop me. Will definitely have to remember to start hardening when largest leaves measure 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" stalk to tip next year, they're just too huge now to be in the little tray cells. Today is their 12 day hardening off, so the two week hardening process looks like it will happen.

August 3rd 2009
90/72 78% RH at 10:45 a.m.
Did some research, found out that Sulfur AND fertilizer don't have to be mixed in deeply with the soil via a tiller/hoe. Got tired of waiting. Tilled the garden in prep for transplanting. Laying out the string (see horizontal rows in Acad print below) so I can hoe the soil up into straight raised rows. More like small piles of dirt at each plant location.

August 4th 2009
98/72 54% RH at 12:00 p.m.
Ran the string at two foot intervals (see above cad print) vertically to lay out the precise plant locations. Now I have a grid to work with. Still haven't gotten the sample results back yet.

August 5th 2009
95/72 82% RH at 9:36 a.m.
Got the Soil test results. New garden 6.8 Ph, 7.8 Ph buffer. Old Garden 6.5 Ph, 7.8 buffer. Put down 4 lbs Aluminum Sulphate on Old garden (640 sq ft) and 12 lbs on the new garden (1184 sq ft). Will post pics of the soil tests after I get home from work. Water liberally, plants on the edges of the tray starting to wilt

To be able to read the following, click on "full size" on the bottom left after opening these images.
Here's soil sample test result one.

Here's soil sample test result two.

And heres a summary:

August 6th 2009
92/70 77% RH at 11:49 a.m.
Having lost all patience with the fertilizer guy. I've made a dozen calls to local places trying to find "elemental sulfur" or "flowers of sulfur". NO luck, must be noone in the south ever needs any. The local Lowes store doesn't have it, but the website does, but only in 5 lb bags @ $9/bag. I ordered 5 and they're shipping it to the local lowes for pick up(whenever that happens).

I placed the order for two 50 lb bags of Super Rainbow 6-6-18 for tobacco on July 20th. On the 27th he took soil samples and I inquired about the fertilizer. He stated it was on the truck and had left Mullins SC. On the 31st I called about the soil samples and the fertilizer. He informed me it would be here Monday (last monday), and he'd call about the samples and call me back. No call.

I ended up calling the head office the fertilizer guy works out of on Wedsnesday and they have no record of my order. They even contacted the warehouse manager and another store. They did recieve the snail mail copy of the results of my soil sample on Tuesday and would scan them and email them to me (why didn't the salesman call when he got the email copy on Friday????. They're going to check with the salesman and get back with me about the fertilizer. Great, now what do I put down pre-transplant. Transplanting is going to have to be Saturday and Sunday night as I work second shift and can't do it this week at night. Grrrr.

August 7th 2009
95/70 73% RH at 10:21 a.m
Turns out the guy at Lowes lied about them not having Sulfur. After my online order I looked back at the email and the status had changed to "processed, ready for pick up". It had only been three hours, I'm thinking they must have the best transfer system around, OR...... I called the store to confirm, and they said, "yeah, we have it. I pulled it from the shelf and it's sitting behind the service desk waiting on you". This morning someone from the fertilizer place called and said my order was in there as well. I picked up both and made it to work with 5 min to spare. Will be applying the Sulphur and 16 lbs of the 6-6-18 fertilizer in a broadcast application tonight after I get out of work (way past dark), then water in the chemicals tonight in preparation for tomorrows transplanting. Will also water the trays one last time tonight.

Got home, parked the truck to shine the headlights onto the field. Spread out the Grubex, 6 lbs of Sulfur on the old garden, 19 lbs of sulfur on the new, spread out roughly 1/3 of the 50 lb bag of 6-6-18 fertilizer and watered for 45 min from each of two locations (sprinkler won't cover from just one spot). water plants

August 8th
Transplanting day

95/68, 100% RH at 8:18 a.m.
Here's what they look like before transplanting:


Before the sun was upon the garden, I managed to get the whole group of Black Sea Samsun and 1/2 (the left half) of the Yellow Orinoco. The Yellow Orinoco was ordered by mistake and is listed as chewing tobacco, so I decided to only plant 1/2 group and will fill the other half with Virginia Gold. Waiting now on the setting sun to plant more....

Planted the other 1/2 of the second group with Virginia Gold, then put in the 3rd group with Common Smoking Burley. Yeah, Garden 1/2 planted.

August 9th 2009 End of eigth week after Germination
95/72 80% RH at 10:26 a.m.
Finished planting the garden. Every plant had root out to the sidewalls of the cells and about 3/4" deep at least. Since they had just one root on July 16th when I made up the "transplant tray" of extra plants, they have developed roots quickly as it's been only 24 days. Watered entire garden for 45 min from each of two positions This is what the garden looks like today:



Sevin was then sprayed in a 30' or so band around (not in) the garden in an attempt to kill nearby thrips. Round up was applied at the fenceline both inside and out. The layout string was collected up. 2 Tablespoons 75% Acephate/2 gallon water was mixed and 1 gallon of the mixture was applied to the plants. Which I must say, have some that are looking pretty sad. Watered the remaining starts that are still in the tray, "just in case".

August 10th 2009
100/72 59% RH at 11:23 a.m.
Water garden for one hour at each of two locations

August 11th 2009
98/72 71% RH at 10:02 a.m.
Water garden for one hour at each of 2 locations I'm watering each day after initial transplantation to keep the roots from drying out. Most the transplants were put deep in the ground with all the soil from the tray, but a few came out of the tray with only about 3/4" of soil so I want to keep enough moisture in the soil by watering often until roots get established. At one hour per location I'm not seeing any puddling even where the spray overlaps, however, I do see the top part of the soil staying wet looking longer in the overlap areas. Puddling/run off will cause Leaching of nutients (especially nitrogen) from the soil, so perhaps I've picked a good amount to apply.

August 12th 2009
88/72 83% RH at 12:12 p.m.
Plenty of water as it's rained three times in 24 hours, no need for water.

August 13th 2009
85/70 89% RH at 11:48 a.m.
Ground still damp/wet from rains, with a small storm approaching. did not water today. Whilst looking at my young plants I notice they are being eaten away, little by little. I suspect slugs/snails, so I applied 8 ozs Hi Yield slug/snail bait

August 14th 2009
88/72 82% RH at 11:12 a.m.
A number of plants don't appear to have survived transplantation. This is why I kept the "extras" watered this week. Plan to replace the dead ones tomorrow (If I have enough). I know I'm out of Virginia Gold, so what I have is what I have. I also have alot of extra yellow orinoco I don't plan to use left over.

August 15h 2009
90/72 57% RH at 2:41 p.m.

August 16th 2009 End of ninth week after germination, and end of first week after transplanting
92/72 69% RH at 6:35 p.m.
I experienced a 23% death of plants (60 dead of 257 planted) during the first week after transplantation. I had only 23 to replace them with. I planted all the spares I had, and will still have holes. Have to remember to sow that much more next year. I planted them deep, perhaps that has something to do with the loss?

Used a scale to measure the rest of the 50 lb bag of Super Rainbow used to do the initial broadcast pre-transplant application. Turns out I'd used 20 lbs. Divided the remaininng 30 lbs into two groups of 15 lbs each. Applied 15 lbs today of the 6-6-18 fertilizer today in a narrow band around the plants. I still have the other 15 lbs to apply and also 4 lbs of ammonium nitrate for later application.

Here's what they look like now. Note: the white pipes are used to label plants which aren't the same as the rest of the group (I.E they're replacements)




August 17th 2009
92/72 80% RH at 10:19 a.m.
Water for one hour from each of two locations

August 18th 2009
92/72 93% RH at 9:33 a.m. 57% RH at 7:28 p.m.
The largest plant so far is one of the Black Sea Samsuns, and it's leaf measure 8" long.

August 19th 2009
95/74 94% RH at 9:48 a.m.

August 20th 2009
92/72 69% RH at 11:35 a.m.
Water for 20 min hour from each of two locations.

August 21st 2009
88/72 65% RH at 12:13 p.m.
water for 1 hour 10 min from each of two locations. Yesterdays watering was cut short, so I watered again today.

August 22nd 2009
92/68 83% RH at11:22 a.m.
Picked weeds. Divided 4lb 2. ozes of Ammonium Nitrate into 6 baggies of 11 ozes each. Spread each bags worth of Ammonium Nitrate on a group of tobacco. Applied 8 ozes of Hi=Yeild snail and slug killer in broadcaster over all garden.

August 23rd 2009 End of tenth week after germination, End of second week after transplanting
88/65 88% RH at 9:55 a.m.
Here's what they look like after two weeks in the ground.




August 24th 2009
92/65 62% RH at 11:25 a.m.

August 25th 2009
92/72 78% RH at 10:01 a.m.
Saw several holes in leaves. Found a brownish small catapillar. Applied 5 ozes liquid Seven (22.5% concentrate) to garden using hose.

August 26th 2009
92/68 95% RH at 9:18 a.m.

August 27th 2009
92/72 89% RH at 9:09 a.m.
Water for one hour, from each of two locations. Either Yellow Orinoco doesn't like my soil, my growing technique, or something likes them, as I now only have 6 of the original 18 plants. From the camera's point of view. The Yellow Orinico are in the second group from the left and behind the shovel laying on the ground. The plants in front of the shovel are Virginia Gold.

The best growers so far are the Black Sea Samsun plants (far left group)

August 28th 2009
85/70 73% RH at 11:16 a.m.

August 29th 2009
91/69 92% RH at 9:20 a.m.

August 30th 2009 End of eleventh week after germination. End of third week after transplanting
90/68 68% RH at 11:00 a.m.

Weeded around all plants. Left pathways with weeds for now. Measured out the remaining 6-6-18 fertilizer and divided by 12 groups so that I could put 1/2 down this week and the remaining 1/2 down next week and put the 20.4 ozes of fertilizer into six baggies and put on the plants in a narrow band near the stalk.

Here's what they look like after three weeks in the ground.




I have 188 plants left and 24 of those are sickly. To bookmark this for later, here's what I have left/sick
Virginia Gold 78/8
Golden Seal Special 32/4
Common Smoking Burley 19/4
Yellow Orinoco 10/1
Black Sea Samsun 47/8

From questioning the fora and giving pictures, the best guess for the sudden wilting death that I'm experiencing is that I'm watering to much/to frequently. I'm now cutting back on watering.

August 31st 2009
78/62 89% RH at 10:25 a.m.

September 1st 2009
80/62 82% RH at 10:13 a.m. Weeded the walkways on 1/2 the garden.

September 2nd 2009
82/62 66% RH at 10:00 a.m.
Applied 4 gallons of water/acephate mixture (1 tbls 75% acephate/gallon of water) to the plants themselves, and picked one (now dead) green catarpillar.

September 3rd 2009
82/62 62% RH at 10:15 a.m.
Weeded the walkways on the other 1/2 the garden. Weeding complete for now.

September 4th 2009
88/62 67% RH at 10.24 a.m.
I was out mowing today, and noticed I had one Black Sea Samsun plant that's almost up even with the top of my 3' plastic (as viewed across the garden fence, sighting from one side to the other). I went in and found it was 1/2 way up my thigh. According to what I've read. The period from transplanting to knee high is called the "early growth" stage. The next stage is called the "rapid growth" stage, boy, I thought they grew fast the last 3-4 weeks, can't wait to see what "rapid" looks like.

September 5th 2009
90/65 49% RH at 11:03 a.m.

Found a site which explains the needs and timing of irrigation pretty well. It's It appears that I should have only put .5" of water down at transplant, then let nature do the rest until about the 5th week after transplantation or so. With this info, it appears my "rapid wilting death" is indeed due to my apparent over watering.

The following chart shows the amount of water tobacco needs during the weeks after transplanting.

September 6th 2009, End of twelfth week after germination, End of 4th week after transplanting
88/65 72% RH at 9:53 a.m.
Divided up the remaining fertilizer into six 20.4 oz baggies and applied each to a group. This is the final application of fertilizer, and the nitrogen should be depleted to encourage budding around the first week of October.

Here's what they look like after four weeks in the ground.




Plants wilting and hasn't rained in two weeks, haven't watered since Aug 27th, so I watered today for one hour from each of two spots. Used a vessel and measured the amount of water. It says I put down 1/2" where the two sprays overlap. Going to get real rain gauges tomorrow.

September 7th 2009
85/65 76% RH at 9:49 a.m.

September 8th 2009
88/65 62% RH at 12:04 p.m.

September 9th 2009
88/65 94% RH at 6:36 a.m.
Got a little rain this morning.

September 10th 2009
85/62 82% RH at 11:55 a.m.

Here's a drawing of how many inches (approximately) that my garden recieved using the rotating sprinklers from the middle of both ends of my garden for one hour from each location. The sprinkler doesn't give a linear amount relative to the distance from the sprinkler. The dead plants largely existed in areas where watering would have been heaviiest, but there are exceptions such as the yellow orinoco dying while the virginia gold right next to it lived. perhaps there's also some genetic suseptibility to overwatering on different species.

September 11th 2009
82/62 54% RH at 3:35 p.m.
Wondering if there was some correlation between the deaths of my plants and the water application rates pic shown above. I overlaid the water applications rate pic over the plant location pic. The marked down the location of each of the dead plants (even though I later put a replacement in some of these spots). I don't see a clear correlation, but do see some fuzzy ones. I wonder if the genetic properties might not also be playing a part in explaining my loss?
(note: the dead plants have had the circles filled in)

September 12th 2009
88/65 64% RH at 11:44 a.m.

September 13th 2009, End of thirteenth week after germination, End of fifth week after transplantiing
88/65 65% RH at 10:30
Applied 8 ounces of Hi Yeild slug and snail bait.

Here's what they look like after 5 weeks in the ground.




September 14th 2009
88/65 83% RH at 10:00 a.m.

September 15th 2009
88/65 82% RH at 10:00 a.m.

September 16th 2009
88/68 75% RH at 9:22 a.m.
Needed to make some bags to cover the buds/flowers before they bloom. This is so they don't cross pollinate with other varieties. If I were only growing one variety and was sure noone within miles of me were also growing tobacco, then I wouldn't need the bags. I plan to keep some seed for next years use.

I went to Walmart and bought one $9 King size sheet (white), and a couple packs of shoe laces (56"). I took the shoe laces, stretched them out and folded in 1/2. Marked the mid point. Then wrapped both sides of the mid point with electrical tape. Then I cut the shoe laces, and then fused the loose ends with a little bit of flame from my lighter.

I spread out the sheet which measures 8' x 8 1/2'. I cut off all the existing seams. I then marked out 44" length wise and cut the sheet into two pieces 44" wide. I then used the sewing machine to put one hem down the length of the long sides of both pieces. Then I folded each piece in two length wise. The fold will be the top of the bag. I then marked out every 15" and cut to make 14 individual sheets measuring 15" x 44". I refolded the sheet in 1/2 matching seam to seam with the bad side of the seam outwards and ran all 14 through the serger (a sewing machine would also work) It should look like the following.


I then turned the bag inside out and it looks like this.


Now to attach the shoe lace. I figured (incorrectly) that I'd make and attach two really wide (4") belt loops (like on jeans), so I did so. I put it on a broom handle for a test fit only to find that only having 4" loops meant to much of the string/fabric wasn't contained inside a loop and figured that wind would pull loose the bag and allow bugs in, so I quickly (yeah right) made and attached a couple more narrow belt loops 1/2 way between the fat belt loops to help keep the bag closed. Looks like this.


I then test fitted them to a broom handle and it looks like this.



I then made up the other 13 bags the same way. I got fourteen 14"x22.5" bags out of one king size sheet.

Watered for 45 min from each of two locations. Haven't watered since Sept 6th. No rainfall either. I'm guessing that 45 min from each will give me .4" of rain in the middle. Rain gauges will tell. I had purchased three $3 rain gauges and put them in a line perpendicular from the short side of the fence, down the middle walkway, spaced at 8', 16', and 24' (middle of garden) from the edge of the fence. The rain gauges said I put down .20" near, .18" middle, and .25" far(middle of garden) in this watering. According to the water needs chart, this amounts to just over a days worth at this stage. There is a possiblity of rain the next 2-3 days.

September 17th 2009
85/68 83% RH at 10:34 a.m.

September 18th 2009
78/68 94% RH at 9:31 a.m.
Intermittent rain has put down 0.4" of rain overnight.

September 19th 2009
85/65 79% RH at 10:09 a.m.

September 20th 2009, End of 14th week after germination, End of sixth week after transplanting.
85/68 83% RH at 10:03 a.m.

Up until now, I took the weekly photos from the same spot, and used the top of the distant 3' tall black plastic as the top of the shot. Now that the plants are taller than the black plastic, I have to start pointing the camera higher. I have maintained the standard of placing the camera on top of posts, so the camera is placed 4' 3" above the ground.

Here's what they look like after 6 weeks in the ground.




September 21st 2009

September 22nd 2009
I still had a gallon of the acephate/water mix in the sprayer. I added 4 ozes of Sevin, then topped up the sprayer and applied it to 3/4 the crop. I then mixed up 2 teaspoons acephate and 4 ozes of Sevin along with two gallons of water, and sprayed about 1/2 on the rest of the garden.

September 23rd 2009
85/68 69% at 9:18 a.m.

September 24th 2009
Proud parental moment.... I found my first bud. The plant is almost as tall as I am.




It is the only one, and it was on one of my few remaining Yellow Orinoco plants.

September 25th 2009
79/66 66% RH at 11:34 a.m.
2 inches of rain fell after sunset

September 26th 2009
Had to work all day. On my way out, I stopped by the garden to record the rainfall and couldn't see my bud as I approached. That plant and nearly 1/2 the garden got weighed down to the ground. I got about 1/2 of it stood back up before darkness, removed bottom leaves, and packed a hill of dirt around the stalk to keep it up. Have to get the rest tomorrow. I see a storm approaching on the radar. Hope it spares me.

September 27th 2009, End of the 15th week after germination, End of the 7th week in the ground
0.2" of rain fell overnight
Picked up the rest of them, but two are too heavy to stay up unaided. Will have to get something to hold them up. Topped one plant. I'd put the dirt leaves from the last time I did this on string under the car port. Temps were from 85-90 to 60 and humidity seemed to wander day to night which placed the average around 70%. Thought things were going good. Most had changed color, then last night I looked and they all including ones hung a week ago had mold growing on them. Now that the daily temp ranges are lower, I'm searching for alternate methods. No big loss so far.

I picked many more dirt leaves last night and today. The ones from last night I washed today and rolled up inside 3 towels overlapping the leave by 1/2 to fit them all in. Hopefully the wife will not blow a gasket (maybe I should give her cash for new towels, and just use all the existing one????). Didn't have time to get the weekly pics today, but will tomorrow and you can see the damage.

September 28th 2009
Here's what they look like after seven weeks and one day in the ground.




September 29th
78/52 44% RH at 12:30 p.m.
Started construction of cooler based curing mechanism. Running test batch through from the leaves picked off the bottom of the plants which fell and had to be removed to pile up dirt. Not mature leaves.

September 30th 2009
78/48 49% RH at 12:30 p.m.
Made adjustments to temperature inside the cooler/heater so that it's running roughly to 107 F. It has around a 20 deg differential in the thermostat (dual element, lower thermostat, $9 at lowes). Need more time to measure accurately.

October 1st 2009
78/55 42% RH at 12:00 a.m

October 2nd 2009
78/60 71% RH at 12:00 a.m.

October 3rd
82/52 81% RH at 10:30 a.m.

October 4th 2009, End of 16th week after germination, End of 8th week after transplantation
82/58 84% RH at 9:00 a.m.
Placed my bud bags on 3 Black Sea Samsun plants and 1 Virginia Gold plant. Topped most the Black Sea Samsun. Most plants don't have buds yet, but the BSS seems to be ahead of the rest.

Here's what they look like after 8 weeks in the ground.



October 5th 2009
62/58 99% RH at 11:00 a.m.
We recieved 1" of rain overnite and throughout the day. It was a soft drizzle and didn't hurt the plants

October 6th 2009
68/62 91% RH at 10:21 a.m.

October 7th 2009

October 8th 2009

October 9th 2009
88/68 100% RH at 9:30 a.m.
Since I got a late start planting. I'm now concerned about them not ripening prior to the onset of frost. I've read that topping earlier forces the plant to ripen faster and I'm testing that out. Rather than waiting to top just prior to first bloom, I'm topping those with any formation of a bud, no matter how small the bud is. If it had a bud, wasn't going to be used for seed production, then I topped it. Some were only thigh high plants. My first frost is Nov 1st (3 weeks away), so I'm hoping to get them as ripe as I can before being forced to harvest them anyway. I'd guess (as I didn't count) that 3/4ths of the crop indeed did have a bud formation and were topped.

October 10th 2009
88/62 68% RH at 10:15 a.m.

October 11th 2009, End of 17th week after germination, End of 9th week after transplant
75/60 82% RH at 1:30 p.m.
I repositioned the bud bags higher up onto the plants, they had grown upwards and were being confined by the bag. They need more room, so I gave them some. There are blooms on the buds.
Here's what they look like after 9 weeks in the dirt.



In the short row/group of Virginia Gold (really in the Yellow Orinoco group, near the Black Sea Samsun) I have already put a bud bag on one plant. Today I've ID'd other VG plant in the VG groups that have buds and will need bagging soon.

This log has reached the character count limit set by the website. I'll carry it on in the next post down

The following is added just to be able to reach 60K exactly, and be the longest post possible.
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 12 This post is the LONGEST POST that will ever exist on this site, there'll never be a longer one.

Last edited by SC Yankee on Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:36 pm, edited 232 times in total.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:53 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
The website has a 60K character limit on any post. I'll carry it (my log) on in this post.

October 12th 2009
65/60 94% RH at 10:48 a.m.
We got 2.8" of rain this afternoon It's to dark to see if any damage occured.

October 13th 2009
78/58 69% RH at 11:30 a.m.
Only one plant was down. It wasn't a big plant, so I left it down. A couple of the others that fell earlier but resisted being propped back up were left down. The leaves continued to grow and the tip of the plant started growing skyward. Seems to do no harm leaving them down. Other than I have to step over them. Suckers do start coming out of the base of those plants though.

I topped the ones I'd missed earlier, plucked suckers, and even topped the ones I'd topped earlier lower on the plant and took any leaf not exceeding 8" in length. Chances are that they wouldn't achieve a useable size in the next three weeks or so. Hopefully more energy is put into making the existing leaves bigger and thicker.

October 14th 2009
60/50 90% RH at 9:30 a.m.
It's rained 0.1" thus far today and rain continues

October 15th 2009
62/52 93% RH at 9:13 a.m
Picked up another 0.4" of rain since yesterday. The radar shows more coming today.

October 16th 2009
68/45 94% RH at 10:30 a.m.
Not much rain 0.05" since yesterday

October 17th 2009
58/42 75% RH at 9:40 a.m.
Put a bag on one more Virginia Gold plant. Noticed that the two VG plants I've previously bagged seem to be drooping and am concerned that one of them might fall so bagging 3 is an insurance measure. Black Sea Samsun plants starting to put on many suckers from the leaf nodes. Plucked them all (I think), not seeing suckers on the other varieties just yet.

October 18th 2009, End of 18th week after germination, End of 10th week after transplantation.
58/38 49% RH at 11:00 a.m.
Here's what they look like after 10 weeks in the ground.




October 19th 2009
65/38 55% RH at 11:12 a.m.
There was a "Frost Advisory" today, but none came. Time's running out.

October 20th 2009
72/42 83% RH at 10:13 a.m.
The weatherbug issued a "Frost advisory" for today, but showed 38 degrees as the low. There was no frost here, and it got down to 37 degrees. Temps expected to increase over the next week.

October 21st 2009
75/48 97% RH at 10:00 a.m.

October 22nd 2009
80/58 86% RH at 9:45 a.m.
Pulled some more suckers, checked for ripeness signs. None found. Found some small holes in lower leaves, they appear to be new. Planning to apply Sevin.

October 23rd 2009
78/65 100% RH at 10:38 a.m.

October 24th 2009
78/50 94% RH at 2:42 p.m.

October 25th 2009, End of 19th week after germination, End of 11th week after transplantation.
72/50 59% RH at 11:00 a.m.
Bagged one VG bud on the north group of VG.
Pulled approx 45-50 lugs/dirt leaves from the "common smoking burley" for processing in the chamber that I'll post about later.
Pulled suckers, today there were MANY suckers to pull. I got to the end of a row of Black Sea Samsun, turned the corner and contiinued suckering the next side and I saw a plant that was only 4' tall with narrow leaves. Followed the stalk down and found it was a ground sucker off another plant. LOL left it to grow. Must have missed that one.

Mixed up Sevin in the two gallon sprayer at a rate of 2 oz/gallon, applied 5 gallons across the entire garden. Cleaned out sprayer and put up for the winter. Should't need it any more this year. If you've read this whole thing then you know my last application of Acephate 75UP was on September 22nd and was lighter than usual in dosage. The acephate has a half life of 15 days and should pretty much be gone by harvest.

I should add that I saw a few catapillars earlier on, but none lately. I also haven't seen ONE aphid. I wonder if it's past their season, or the acephate kept them away? Lately, I'm seeing spiders and grasshoppers, but not in great numbers. I put the sevin on because it was my last chance to do so sufficiently before harvest to ensure I don't have a bug problem.

Here's what they look like after 11 weeks in the ground.




October 26th 2009
62/52 68% RH at 10:05 a.m.
Pulled out the Golden Seal Special and put in the Common Smoking Burley in my curing chamber.

October 27th 2009
62/62 94% RH at 12:10 p.m.

October 28th 2009
82/55 86% RH at 10:00 a.m.
Received 0.9" of rain the last 24 hours So much for the Sevin application. Hope it was on long enough to kill some critters.

October 29th 2009
78/55 71% RH at 10:32 a.m.

October 30th 2009
72/58 71% RH at 11:30 a.m.

October 31st 2009 BOOO!........Happy Halloween
78/58 94% RH at 11:30 a.m.

November 1st 2009, End of 20th week after germination, End of 12th week after transplantation.
65/50 100% RH at 10:40 a.m.
Yeah, made it to November 1st, plants still not ripe, but the stickiness is going further down the plant. Think I see some signs of mottling (could be my imagination). Was just the tops/suckers that were sticky. I've seen two different "first Frost dates" on the web for my area, one was November 1st, the other was November 16th. I'll take the 16th if it'll come to pass. LOL Did some suckering today. The day is overcast, but warm enough to work it. Put one more bag on a bud that was starting it's extension phase. Still have a couple more buds to cover soon.

Here's what they look like after 12 weeks in the dirt.




Last Monday I took some Golden Seal Special (dirt leaves) out of the kiln/flue curing/fermentor (whatever it is), and put in some Common Smoking Burley(also dirt leaves). The Common Smoking Burley had color cured and dried and will be coming out today. Not sure what I'll put in the thing.

I had the "hand" of Golden Seal in a plastic trash bag with a damp paper towel to get it back into case. Anyway, I pulled it out to keep it from getting moldy. On the table infront of me were the wifes' scissors. I don't know why but I grabbed 2 leaves, one was pretty thin and the veins were thin. I cut out the midrib, folded the one leaf in 1/2 end for end to find the middle and cut it across the narrow side to get two equal length pieces, also cut up 1/2 the second leaf, and crumpled up sort of like an accordion. I then used the one 1/2 a leaf and rolled a little cigar. My FIRST on ever. Took pics and here it is,,, my first roll effort. No binder used. Spit was used to glue the end of the leaf at the head.




I had a slight grassy flavor, but that didn't stop me. I got an occasional puff that satisfied me. Have to wait until I can ferment some of it. I think that'll get rid of the grassy taste. That little cigar burned well and for almost 30 minutes.

November 2nd 2009
60/45 76% RH at 11:15 a.m.

November 3rd 2009
72/45 100% RH at 10:00 a.m.
The forcast says I have atleast another week for ripening (crosses fingers).

November 4th 2009
72/45 40% RH at 3:15 p.m.
The forecast is still promising for the next 7 days.

November 5th 2009
72/38 29% RH at 12:00 p.m.

November 6th 2009
65/35 37% RH at 10:00 a.m.
There is a Frost advisory in effect for tomorrow. Making plans to get up really early (4 a.m.) to apply sprinklers to the crop in an effort to protect my investment.

November 7th 2009
Morning update....Got up at 4 a.m. Saw no formation of frost, temperture at 36 deg F. Reset alarm, crawled back into bed.
70/42 90% RH at 7 a.m. It's currently 35.1 deg F
Looks like I dodged the frost bullet again....

November 8th 2009, End of 21st week after germination, End of 13th week after transplantation.
75/48 77% RH at 10:00 a.m.
Did a quick suckering, sure I missed a few. Found Aphids on some plants. Broke the sprayer back out of retirement and applied Sevin at the rate of 1 oz per gallon. Applied 6 gallons across garden, paying special attention to the underside of the leaves on the top of the plants. The leaves on the Black Sea Samsun have begun to get noticeably thicker. The increased stickiness I mentioned last Sunday, appears to have gone away.

To give some height reference about the tallest plants. I'm 5' 11" tall, extending my arm straight upwards places the tips of my fingers below the buds.
Here's what they look like 13 weeks after transplanting.




November 9th 2009
75/58 71% RH at 11:00 a.m.
The forecast says I'm good until the 15th.. woo hoo

November 10th 2009
65/58 94% RH at 10:00 a.m.
Tropical storm Ida is giving me some gentle rain. No winds as of yet to speak of. If it turns East as predicted, then I could be in for some rain.

November 11th 2009
62/48 95% RH at 10:32 a.m.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida left 3.7" of rain on the garden.
So much for the Sevin I applied Sunday. Hope it had time to do it's work, and the rain washed away the dead bugs.

November 12th 2009
52/48 88% RH at 9:30 a.m.
Received an additional 0.1" of rain from the remnants of Ida
Winds were present, but don't see any damage from them. The rain was more of a heavy mist and has been coming down since yesterday morning, continuously. The plants all look like they've had a tough day, leaves flipped upside down, leaning, and such.
The forecast says I'm good out until Tuesday the 17th.

November 13th 2009
62/48 72% RH at 12:00 p.m

November 14th 2009
74/48 89% RH at 7:43 p.m.

November 15th 2009, End of 22nd week after germination, End of 14th week after transplantation
78/45 52% RH at 12:30 p.m.

Picked 50 or so leaves from the Golden Seal Special to put in kiln. I did a "Grande Suckering". Whilst doing so, I noticed the Virginia Gold with some lower yellowing leaves. YEAHHHH Bagged the buds of the remaining Golden Seal Special and Common Smoking Burley (4 total). The bagging is now DONE.

Here's what they look like after 14 weeks in the dirt.




November 16th 2009
78/49 46% RH at 1:33 p.m.
Well, there were two "first frosts" dates for my area. The first was November 1st, the second was today. The forecast says I'm good for another week. Wonder how lucky I'm gonna get?

November 17th 2009
70/55 82% RH at 11:00 a.m.

November 18th 2009
68/55 92% RH at 8:30 a.m.

November 19th 2009
72/45 73% RH at 11:30 a.m.

November 20th 2009
72/45 98% RH at 9:00 a.m.
The forecast says I'm good until atleast Thanksgiving. Something to be thankful for, I'm sure.

November 21st 2009
65/48 87% at 9:40 a.m.

November 22nd 2009, End of 23rd week after germination, End of 15th week after transplantation
52/48 66% RH at 9:50 a.m.
Rain has started.

Here's what they look like after 15 weeks, or 105 days after transplantation.



November 23rd 2009
55/45 91% RH at 11:00 a.m.
We received 1.05" of rain yesterday.

November 24th 2009
58/45 87% RH at 9:30 a.m.
Picked about 50 Common smoking burley leaves and started them in the small chamber. I'm now about 1/3rd the way up the stalk on them.

November 25th 2009
58/42 87% RH at 10:00 a.m.
We received 0.07" of drizzle yesterday.

November 26th Thanksgiving day 2009
65/35 63% RH at 11:15 a.m.
Frost is predicted for the next 3 mornings. Cut down 1/2 the garden with a machete, and plan to attempt to use a sprinkler to save the other 1/2 as I can cover 1/2 the garden with the sprinkler from one spot.

Here's what it looked like pre harvest:

Here's after cutting them and piling them to wilt:

Here's the individual varieties piled and left to wilt while I go build something to hang the stalks under my carport (24'x24'):

This pic shows the primed leave holders, which are made of 1"x2"x4' boards with 8dx2.5" galvanized finish nails every 4". I should probably add, that I'd made the sticks for use in my new large 4'x4'x8' curing chamber, where the leaves would be dry in a week. There is considerable overlap using 4" spacing which may tend to get mouldy if used just for air hanging to dry.

These pics shows the Primed leaves of the seed plants hanging. Each stick holds about a plants worth of leaves. I put them up in left to right order, lugs to tips.


This pic shows the same nails driven into three 2"x4"x12' wolmanized lumber at 12" spacing for the stalks. I ended up having to hammer the stalks over the nail heads, so I probably should have driven them through at an angle. I finished the stalk hang after dark, so pic to follow later.

Here's a pic of the harvested 1/2 the garden after priming the seed plant leaves (the earlier pic doesn't show it as the leaves made it look more full than it was).

and finally, here's a pic of the leaves after wilting on the ground for 3 hours.

Quite a few leaves were knocked off in transport, so I'll wash and hang them tomorrow. I'm two days from finishing a batch in my cooler, so 1/3rd the primed leaves you see hanging will be going in then.

November 27th 2009
55/32 58% RH at 9:30 a.m.
forgot to mention that I ran the sprinklers for an hour yesterday and should have put down 0.5". This was done to help fight off the predicted frost. After finishing yesterdays work, the forecast changed and low temps changed to 38 degrees last night and they dropped the frost advisory. Still have a freeze warning for tonite though. I'm told that applying water to the soil will help it retain a degree or two of heat. I'll be using the sprinkler today to dampen the entire area both in and outside the garden in an effort to create a favorable micro climate.

November 28th 2009
62/38 42% RH at 11:00 a.m.
Got up looked out the window. No frost anywhere in view. Temps only got to 33.1 degrees. Ran sprinkler before sun was upon the plants for an hour anyway. Between yesterdays, last nites, and this morning sprimkling, I'm guessing I put down 1-1.5" of water.
Designing a bigger version of the cooler/curer in my mind atm. Had planned to already be out this morning getting materials and building, but I just can't decide on the best and cheapest solution. Down to a few possibilities. Decided to just go and buy stuff, and figure out which while constructing it. The amount of leaves that broke off and fell on Thursday had to be around 45 as they have just now filled the cooler/curing chamber. I thought about pictures, but it's a bit messy right now after 5 loads. Next time, I'll clean and take pics.

November 29th 2009, End of 24th week after germination, End of 16th week after transplantation
70/45 62% RH at 10:30 a.m.

Working on larger curing chamber. Here's that they look like after 16 weeks (112 days) in the dirt.




November 30th 2009
68/42 80% RH at 10:00 a.m.

December 1st 2009
62/45 37% RH at 11:00 a.m.
I've now had a whole month more growing than I suspected I would.

December 2nd 2009
68/52 95% RH at 12:00 p.m.
We got 1.1" of rain since yesterday.

December 3rd 2009
65/38 63% RH at 11:30 a.m.
Got 0.8" more rain
Glued more sticks on the right side of the curing box

December 4th 2009
58/45 61% RH at 12:00 p.m.
Glued more sticks on the right side of the curing box

December 5th 2009
55/32 63% RH at 1:00 a.m.
Got 0.25" of rain
Finished the left side of the curing chamber.

December 6th 2009, End of 25th week after germination, End of 17th week after transplantation
52/35 58% RH at 11:10 a.m.
Woke up, found frost on truck, turned on sprinkler, ran for 1/2 an hour and put down 0.5" of water. There's no update pics today as the wife has the camera at Disney until Tuesday.

December 7th 2009
55/42 75% RH at 9:32 a.m.

December 8th 2009
52/52 73% RH at 10:40 a.m.
The low Thursday night is the upper 20's. Glued together to two top and bottom pieces of the chamber. Primed the rest of the Golden Seal special and Common Smoking Burley that was in the garden. Now the back 1/2 is gone and the middle two groups of the front half. Leaving me just the Black Sea Samsun, and Virginia Gold to harvest.

December 9th 2009
72/42 83% RH at 12:00 p.m.
Made a dozen or so more sticks to hang the leaves from. got 1.0" of rain since yesterday. Here's what they look like after 122 days in the dirt (after transplantation). Thinking of pulling the rest of what you see tomorrow, although I have nowhere to put them.




The wife got back from Disney with the camera intact, so here we go on how I've chosen to build my kiln/curing chamber.

I bought 4'x8' sheets of 3/4" R-3 polyurethane aluminum backed foam board, 6 pieces.
Lowes carries a decent assortment of 1x2's by different lengths and 1x4's of different lengths and that's the lumber shown in the pics. List of tools so far; Hammer, 1/16" drill bit, drill press, skilsaw, caulking gun, 8d x 2.5" galvanized finishing nails (big box), tubes of "foam board adhesive and liquid nails heavy duty, pencil, drywall square, box knife, and a couple saw horses.

I layed out lines spaced 4" apart, starting from 3" in on one side, then the same but started 5" in on the other. This leaves a 2" offset to where the nails come through. I then predrilled holes at an angle near the bottom of each line. The angle points the tip of the nail slightly upwards to hang onto the he leaves. The boards are 1"x2"x4' long. I made up 33 of these total.


The foam board I got actually measures 48 1/4" wide, so If I used a full sheet on the front and back that'll leave 1/8" slop on each end. I measured the leaves already hanging from the temp hanger I made on Thanksgiving and found that a 30" seperation would suffice for me. So cut 8 (four for each side) of the 1x4's down to 46 5/8" and glued one vertically across the bottom of the sheet to be the base of support for the side frames and so the weight of the hanging leaves doesn't puncture the bottom. I then cut uprights pieces so that the bottom rail is 30 3/8" off the bottom, then the second and third rails are 30" above eachother. After it was pieced and glued to the foamboard, I cut down a 1x2x8' piece to fit at each of the sides near the front and back, then glued and clamped it so it'll give sides some rigidity, and provide me with someplace to glue the front and back pieces on later. There should be a 3/4" section of foam all the way around to glue the front, back, tops and bottoms into.

Here's a pic of the left and right sides before assembly with a couple extra detail photos thrown in:





Note: see how the side rails rest ON the bottom support rail, that way all the weight is spread across the board, not the foam.


Note: the top rail is just a 1x2 not a 1x4 like the bottom, and just allows me to glue to top to something.

I cut two of the foamboards in two by cutting 46 5/8" from one end. I then rotated the piece and glued the long piece to the shorter piecs so there was a 3/4" lip in the bottoms and tops to fit into the sides fronts and tops. Here's what that looks like. (need two of them, one for top and one for the bottom).


Had to run to lowes and get 6 more tubes of heavy duty Liquid nails for tomorrows activity. Today I used liquid nails on the parts where wood meets aluminum, and the foam board adhesive where foam met foam. glued the sides to the back and glued the bottom and top pieces in place. Held it together with truck cargo straps and a few clamps. Used my drywall square to square it up. Didn't need much as the end pieces provided the squaring action needed. I put metal (aluminum, fibreglass reinforced tape on the easy to get to edges. Here's what it looks like from the ground.


Here's what it looks like standing on a step ladder at the top end looking down into unit. The far end is the bottom of the fermenter.


December 10th 2009
55/28 32% RH at 10:00 a.m.
Harvested the rest of the crop. I piled up the leaves in coolers, and shelves until I can finish the fermenter/curing chamber. Gotta hurry now.

Here's the last of the weekly 3 picture series. They're all gone. Frost free. 123 days in the ground total. Some showing signs of mottling, most not. Didn't see increased stickiness nor any of the other commonly suggested Ripeness indicators. Perhaps it was growing so late that made them not appear. Some of the leaves appear to be rotting on the stalk as it were.




It's all down to processing now, and planning next years seeding(which is only two months away).

December 11th 2009
48/32 37% RH at 9:43 a.m. Hmm, don't know why I'd continue the temps and humidities, unless it's to keep an eye on the air curing tobacco? Perhaps I'll keep it up.
It's too cool to use the liquid nails this morning, so I might not get much done on the box. Pulled the mixed lot of leaves from the 150 qt cooler and will be putting in Virginia Gold.

December 12th 2009
42/38 33% RH at 12:00 p.m.

December 13th 2009
Decided to stop the daily updates. Will only be posting when something is done in relation to the 2009 crop. Will be starting the 2010 log shortly as it's about 2 months to starting those seeds.

December 29th 2009
My gosh, has it really been 16 days since my last update? Well, the 4x4x8 chamber really isn't done. I have the bottom, top, left, right, and back all glued on. Had many cold days (to cold to do gluing) and obligations which kept me from this project. I finally just filled the top rack with already primed color cured Golden Seal and Common smoking Burley and put the still green recently picked Black sea Samsun on the middle rack. Put in a 1200 Watt heater with a lower water heater thermostat inline with it, an aluminum roasting pan filled with water, and a 30" box fan(set on low) leaning on the heater on the bottom of the chamber. I then hung two towels off a couple sticks put on the bottom rack, hanging down into the pan for humidity. With the fan on an angle, I'm hoping for good circulation. I found that just the towels didn't give enough humidity and I inserted a vaporizer (Vicks) that looks as if it holds a gallon and a 1/2.

After my final Priming, I'd stacked the Virginia gold in the house, but in and on a cooler. The Black Sea Samsun was put in 4 stacks on the open air workbench under my carport. The Virginia Gold started yellowing in 3 days and I tried my best to rotate it every day, but I forgot some days and ended up trashing 1/2 the VG. I hurriedly processed it in my small cooler/fermenter to save the other half. Strange thing is that the Black Sea Samsun piled up outdoors didn't even start to turn after a week or two. My guess is that the lower outdoor temps (32-58) inhibited the process, thus saving it until I could put it in the big chamber.

I took the last of the VG out of the small chamber, and have been removing the already color cured Burleys from the big chamber and am putting them in the small chamber to dry (120-135F). I still have all the Thanksgiving day stalk cut tobacco still hanging. The Burleys are color cured and actually drying out there. The BSS and VG are slowly changing, but I'm seeing signs of mold on them but not the burleys.

I find it interesting that the Burleys color cure so quickly, while the BSS and Virginia Golds don't. Also the burleys got yellow, while the BSS and VG went from Green straight to Brown. While processing the same way in the small cooler, the burleys were yellow in two days, while the VG and BSS would take over a week to brown.

Not sure how much I can add to this. Hope I can translate my experience this year to a better 2010 year. I've started my 2010 grow log. Thanks for reading this and sorry the processing part isn't as fully described as it might have been, but it wasn't my best part.

I took the bags off the plants yesterday. The Black Sea Samsun pods were probably 50% brown. The Virginia Gold had lost many of the pods but did have about 8 brown out of the 3 bagged plants. The Golden Seal Special and Common Smoking Burley pods were nearly all in the bag, broken from the stalk head. I suspect I tied the bag to tight and they grew into the bag and the whipping winds removed them prematurely. I got about 2 ozes of BSS and one teaspoons worth of the VG. There are still more pods on the BSS and a few on the VG so I'll get more from them. There's only a couple pods still on the Burleys, so I may not get any from them.

Here's the seed harvest so far:


These are 2 oz jars that I got from the Seedman and the white bags are dessicant bags from there also.

When it comes to harvesting seed pull only the brown ones, and just before they open up to drop their seed. The seed bags aren't necessary once all the flowers are dead as pollination isn't possible.

Good luck with your grow.

December 30th 2009

I took a bunch of pictures to try and show what I'm trying, and what I've found out whilst trying. Let's start with the cooler based chamber Here it is:



Walmart sells a 4 rack shelf that happens to fit right in the cooler after cutting the legs down.




Later perhaps I'll show the small fan/heater (note: I don't use the heater) that is only 5.5" tall, and the heating element which I mounted to a small cookie rack and placed on ceramic tile on the bottom.



These pics show the lower thermostat from a water heater (lowes $9) and the wireless temp/humidity transmitter.


These Common Smoking Burley leaves are dry but the midrib is till fat with moisture. I have the temp up to 125-135F at this point to dry the midrib. After the leaf is dry then raising the temps won't hurt it. I also start the process with fresh leaves and a towel holding the lid open slightly and temps at 100f. The humidity is naturally from 98-83% as provided by the leaf. I however have placed a small bowl in the bottom with a couple bar towels hanging from the first shelf into the bowl. After the leaves color change I turn the heat slowly up to 120 and wait, the humididy will drop to around 50%, then after 12 hours or so, I check the leaf to see if it's drying, and turn the temps up to 130f and remove the towel so the lid closes. At some stage here the bowl of water will be gone and I leave it empty. At this point RH is about 16% until it's dry and the midribs are dry too. I then bring them back into case, make hands and put them in the trash bags shown above. This cooler will hold about 6 racks with the bottom rack placed about 6" off the bottom.

The BIG chamber is just a modified version of the same. The next four pics show what in it now. The top is the primed leaves from Thanksgiving harvest, the middle is the Black Sea Samsun I primed last.





Temps this far haven't exceeded 100F and the high so far is 97f. The top leaves are color cured and ready to be dried by turning up the heat, but the BSS isn't color cured yet, so as the leaves in the small cooler dry, I'll rotate leaves from the upper rack to the small cooler until the BSS is ready to have the heat turned up. Then I'll dry all the remainder in the big chamber.

Once it's all dried I can either just leave it in storage to age, or put in one/both the chambers and then ferment the leaf. If I'd exceeded 135f then I'm told it'd kill the enzyme needed to ferment but I don't KNOW that.

Here's pics of the mechanisms I've put into the big chamber:





You can see the 30" box fan (on low), the old electric heater, Vicks vaporizer, and part of the aluminum turkey roast pan and towels. Also another of the same thermostats and wireless temp/humidity transmitters. I'm out of "fresh" leaf to experiment with so next year will be the year I amend the big chamber.

To be able to get the temps up to 130+, I opened the heater, took the thermostat control and safety overtemp shutoff out of the circuit. This is now a fire hazard. I've got this chamber out in the open of my drive/carport area so if fire does result, I'll just have a pile of molten plastic and ashes to deal with. Do watch yourself if you choose to override any safety devices. don't use it indoors.

Here's a couple pics of the tobacco hanging stalk curing since Thanksgiving (5 weeks). I don't like the way it looks. I think I can save the Golden seal and Common smoking burley(second row back and a nice brown), but the VG and BSS just look BAD.





Well, that it folks. My experience so far shows that hang curing under my carport pretty much always leads to mold, and so I'm leaning towards the faster processing of the chambers.

December 31st 2009
I've been promising pics of the small chamber and today I took out the dried burley, and hosed it out. Here's pics of the fan/heater I use (walmart 10$) for the fan only. I took the overheat protection out of one of these and the damn thing caught fire at about 136F so don't do that. This was used because of it's short height and was used as a fan for circulation only.



These are the bar towels I got while serving in England/Wales with the British Army and they're used to wick up the water from the bowl and impart that moisture to the air with the assistance of the fan.




I took the 75 watt heater element ouf of my Ronco food dehydrator without permanently ruining it's basic shape, used stainless steel tie wire and a four 2" conduit locknuts to secure the element to a small cookie rack. I then took an existing cheap extension cord, cut open the insulation, cut the black wire, crimped on two ring terminals and attached them to the lower element thermostat from a water heater (lowes $10). This will turn on and off the heat as desired. I placed the rack on two 9" square kitchen floor tiles to keep the heat from warping the cooler floor.






Here's what it looks like before putting the rack and towels in.


Then follow the instruction on curing found in ... _cured.pdf especially the chart on page 210. Just leave out the 165F temps, stick to the 135F, and add a bit of time to dry out the tobacco, then rehumidify, tie into hands, and put into storage till ready or you can use the same chamber to ferment the stuff and get smokeable tobacco quicker.

This cooler will color cure and dry between 40-50 leaves freshly primed from the garden putting 6-8 leaves on each of the six racks. If you already have color cured leaves and just want to use it to dry the leaves, it'll process 80-100 leaves.

Best of luck to you.

It's 11:33 P.M on New Years Eve, so the SC Yankee 2009 log is hereby completed. Look to the SC Yankee 2010 grow log for more on my experience and trials.

I've got this log up to date. Thanks for letting me share this years adventure with you

Last edited by SC Yankee on Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:52 am, edited 143 times in total.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:34 pm
Posts: 2738
Sounds like you've got a plan to me, good luck! :D

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:13 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Nashville TN
I like it when folks record their own procedures and findings. Good post.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:12 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:34 am
Posts: 315
Location: Virginia, USA
Howdy SCYankee,

Thanks for sharing the details of you're planting log and stories! I enjoyed the army story!

SC Yankee wrote:
A little history
I was driving 2:15 each way up to JR Tobacco in Statesville NC and cleaning them out every few months.

Been there, Done that! Except I go to the Burlington outlet and my pilgrimage is 02:30. And I stop at Caribou Coffee and purchase 8-10 pounds of coffee and that is all coming to an end soon too! We are purchasing a coffee bean roaster and roasting our own beans.

SC Yankee wrote:
The Order
From This page at I ordered:
One set of 5 of the ST1020WH Standard 1020 Tray ( Flat )with Holes
One set of 5 of the ST1020CV Propagation Dome for 1020 Trays
One set of 5 of the ST1206 72 Cell Plug Flat Insert for 1020 Trays

I'd read that some germinated the seeds in a tray, to later transplant them to 4" pots, to later transplant them to the ground. As time was my enemy, I figured I'd be planting them a little sooner than most, especially since I didn't have to wait for last frost, so I chose to seed them directly into the 72 cell trays, then transplant to the garden. Skipping one step here.

I've got this up to date. Be Back later to add more tales of tobacco growing

How are the tray working out? I am looking at purchasing the 18 x 4" deep cell units. I currently have the APS units from Garden Supply and like the fact that to transplant, you can simply push your finger up in each cell and transplant that cell. Garden Supply has the deep cell units, but they're rite spendy.

Great job on the planting journal and the AutoCad drawing! I have a twiki topic setup on my mac, but all I've done so far is put an entry into iCal for each event. Chuck.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:03 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
ChuckP wrote:
...Been there, Done that! Except I go to the Burlington outlet and my pilgrimage is 02:30. And I stop at Caribou Coffee and purchase 8-10 pounds of coffee and that is all coming to an end soon too! We are purchasing a coffee bean roaster and roasting our own beans.

I didn't have a bad experience with the Seedman that some others seem to have had. I was at their site the other day and was just scrolling through it, picking items of interest, and ran across "kona coffee" seeds. I started wondering if I couldn't grow them too. Ofcourse it wouldn't really be "Kona", but should be a good seed to start with. I have ground my own for more than a decade, maybe two decades,...god I'm old.... Currently I get my beans from "" and get the "city roast columbian supremo" or if out, then I use 8 O'clock coffee from Piggly Wiggly.
ChuckP wrote:
How are the tray working out? I am looking at purchasing the 18 x 4" deep cell units. I currently have the APS units from Garden Supply and like the fact that to transplant, you can simply push your finger up in each cell and transplant that cell. Garden Supply has the deep cell units, but they're rite spendy.

I thought $2.25/tray was a bit pricey, and looking at reusing them (after cleaniing and sterilizing with a 50% bleach solution) The trays I bought have a hole in the bottom about the size of a pencil. I'm going to try using a pencil to push the soil and plant out of the trays. Guess I'll find out if that works in 2-3 weeks. So far, the 3 of the 4 trays are holding up. One of them cracked on the outside lip when I first picked it up loaded with soil and seed. I picked it up wrong (just holding the outside lips) and it bowed and cracked before I could put it in the bottom tray. From that point forward, I eased the ends up and got my fingers under the cells for more support.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:00 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
Here's a couple pics of them on July 24th, 2009 (40 days from Germination).

This shows them just inside the drip line.

This shows all 4 trays, the right hand one is the one the extras got transplanted to.

So, my question is. In your opinion, how much time do I have until I can put them in the dirt?

Last edited by SC Yankee on Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:34 pm
Posts: 2738
My opinion is that they are big enough now to put them out. You'll need to harden them off for a week or so before you plant them out in direct sunlight. They look great! :D

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
FmGrowIt wrote:
By any chance...can you include time lines with your updates? You seem to be generalizing just a bit. :shock:

I read your post...reread your post. Thought about your post. Reread your post. Went back and read the log. To be honest there's many things I could do differently and am constantly editing, so I'm not sure specifically what you're asking for. Could it be a master timeline showing major events? Intraday timelines showing daily activity? Perhaps more like an outline with each daily event listed vertically? I've already color coded "watering, misting, Fan, and Lighting" operations so anyone could just scroll through and see the frequency I used without actually having to take the time to read the whole thing.

P.S What's your thoughts on my transplant readiness question? I put off the application of the additional Aluminum Sulphate until the Fertilizer man gets here to get soil samples. He estimates 3 days of so to get the results. The earliest I could do the final tilling would be next weekend. Then I need time to layout the planting locations with string and hoe the soil into mounds. The earliest I can see transplanting would be two weekends from now(just shy of 8 weeks from germination).

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:19 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:50 am
Posts: 1624
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet
I have many plants in the ground growing that are not half the size of your transplants. I say plant them, as soon as you can.

I understand you have things to do. But, those plants are ready when you are. They look really good.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:34 pm
Posts: 2738
I agree, remember the age clock is ticking the longer you wait the less time they will have to reach a really good size. I waited 9 weeks to put mine out due to bad weather and most are about 3 foot tall with a few at 4 foot and flowering.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:38 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:34 am
Posts: 315
Location: Virginia, USA
wydeboi wrote:
I agree, remember the age clock is ticking the longer you wait the less time they will have to reach a really good size. I waited 9 weeks to put mine out due to bad weather and most are about 3 foot tall with a few at 4 foot and flowering.

I agree with Wydeboi, get'em planted asap and don't make the same mistake I made in waiting for perfect weather. Great detail you're log entries, I just made a little note that was very general in iCal, just to mark the date. Chuck

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:46 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
Posts: 2056
Hi --

Nice log! I also agree with above postings, harden them off and plant 'em deep to develop a bigger root system from the stem and to help with mechanical support.

One overall comment - I haven't seen an economic breakdown and what you've done seems very expensive. I'd like to see a rough idea of the operations cost annually, the capital cost initial and spread out over 5 years or so (or about how long most of the one-time purchases will need replacing) and the expected yields in $'s per pound of ready to smoke product.

As a grower, I have to watch my expenses carefully or I might find myself paying my customers to take my crop! lol.....And my labor isn't free either!


 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:20 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
I might just do that (meaning, I'll have to dig for the receipts).

The entire crop is meant for my consumption and maybe that of my wife, if I can ever get her to give up those "beloved" Marlboro light 100's box. It's my hope to get 3.49 ozs per plant in dry useable smoke. If I get that, then 1.5 plants is needed to fill a tin of Bali Red (5.29 oz). Each tin costs me $29, so then each plant is worth $19.14, or the entire crop is worth $4988 in savings to me.

The way I see it, I could put in decent greenhouse and build a small curing structure for less than the amount saved in just this crop alone. I may give/sell seeds if I ever end up with any though. Let's not forget the value of being able to silently and peacefully tell Obama just what he can do with MY tax money, because he won't be getting more from me.

 Post subject: Re: The 2009 SC Yankee (first effort) growing log
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:50 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina

Here's what it costs so far.


and here's the price/lb at various harvest rates.

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