How to Grow Tobacco

How to grow and process tobacco at home for personal use. This is a non-commercial hobby website.
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 Post subject: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:00 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Rhode Island
I just set up 5 raised beds, at 36 sq. feet each and plan on practicing "square foot gardening" (still need to create the grid over each one this weekend). I have 180 square feet, or 180 "squares" to work with, so that's a substantial amount of food to be grown. I used to plant based on seed packet recommendations, but for small home gardeners this isn't practical and wastes a lot of space by growing strictly in rows.

I'm still a newbie when it comes to gardening (this is my 4th year). With food prices rising (or rather, packages shrinking while prices remain the same) I feel passionately about people growing their own food. I'm creating raised beds for friends and family and getting them jump started, even if it's only 8 sq. feet of space. I have a 72 peat pot greenhouse under grow lights starting lots of seedlings (along with tobacco of course!!) to get an early start on the season. I live in Rhode Island and we have a fairly tight season for growing so it's imperative to get as much started early as possible.

So far I highly recommend raised bed gardening. I did a test bed last year for my inlaws that worked amazingly better than anything I was growing. My wife also likes the fact it just LOOKS organized, and not just a bunch of dirt piles with stuff growing out of 'em! I used naturally rot-resistant Cedar boards and for a 36 sq. foot bed it cost me about $30 for the wood. That's the cheap part. Filling that with good soil is the expensive part. At places like Home Depot, you'll be paying $5+ per cubic foot of soil. Not very cost effective!

For those looking for cheap, good soil, I recommend you investigate your local city and its municipal compost. Most cities provide free compost to residents, and if you contact the person in charge they can provide you with detailed soil tests. Where I live you can pick it up yourself for free, or pay $50 to have 5 yards worth delivered to your house which is what I did. Each city has different standards and practices in creating their compost so you want to ask questions and get soil tests before you feel comfortable using it. Federal standards require them to have little to no heavy metals in the compost, such as lead. But, ya gotta make your own compost to be 100% certain about what you're getting!

Here's what I have. Behind these on the other side of the busted chain link fence, I set aside some strips of land to grow the tobacco, about another 128 sq. feet.

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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 667
Location: The Real Columbia River Gorge in Skamania County Southern Washington State Member # 1439
That does look pretty organized.
I make my own dirt by mixing worm castings / dirt / and manure compost evenly split amounts.
So far it has a good track record I use a home made worm bin for worm castings

Before I painted it to match the house

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After I painted it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:44 am
Posts: 905
Location: North-central Texas
Lincoln:
I'm growing as many heirloom varieties as I can fit into my 23x50 plot, so maybe next year we can exchange some seed. Price of seeds has gone crazy, along with the prices of the vegatables. Now if we can only get some rain here, we'll be off and running!
Good luck this year, Neal


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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Rhode Island
Here is my current "planned" layout for my SFG beds. First image shows the veggie types and # per square. Second screen shows a summary of how many plants I'll have, and a handy planting/harvesting schedule. Again this is my first year doing SFGing but I'm already sold on its theory. As you can see, this has the potential to grow a whole lot of produce!! I still have 1 empty plot to fill (already has some strawberries growing there and spread out all over, so may not plant too much extra). I'll be doing a separate layout for my two tobacco beds soon.

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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:51 pm
Posts: 1130
Location: near Blacksburg, VA
Very nice. What software are you using for the layouts?

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Rhode Island
I did a quick search the other day for a garden planner, and I ran across this: http://www.growveg.com

It has a 30 day trial and then $25 per year. I'm still doing the trial and unsure if I'll pay for it. For how much I'm growing this year with SFG I needed something like this to track everything properly.


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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:47 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Reno, NV
The last full blown garden I did was a sq ft garden. it was about the same size as your beds are. I fed three families with the vegetables that came out of it and still tossed out a huge pile for compost. I even had some corn but not a lot. Onions and potatoes that fed my family for a year. Most of the time I was looking hard for anything to do. When a days work in the garden becomes setting 16 new starts or a dozen leaf lettuce starts. there is not a lot to do in there. Gardening quickly became a few minutes with my kids every day as they scrounged for something to eat. An amazing amount of produce can come out of that method. It was also maybe the single most healthiest garden I have ever grown as well. True no weeding. I think I had to pull two weeds in the entire garden in one year. Plus you can follow the rule that if you pull a weed stuff a plant i it's place cause it is proof something more has room to grow. I tend to think the same thing about suckers and Tobacco. if it has room to sucker, maybe it has to much room.


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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:45 pm
Posts: 1857
Location: Houston, TX
We went to raised beds a while back and really like being able to reach everything without moving around too much. Weeding is definitely easier. The software looks very interesting and I will check it out later today (after work). Thanks for the URL.


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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:46 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Rhode Island
This program showed how much of a noob I still am to gardening. I didn't realize so many plants could go out pre-frost, so I set out 3 squares last night of carrots, lettuce and onion. Tonight will be the broccoli and peas. Now I do have some starts of lettuce and broccoli...I have not "hardened" them off yet, but are these more resilient to transplanting out when the whether is still cool? Should I harden them off before transplanting? I was considering putting them out tonight as we have cloud cover, but it'll be sunny in the 50's over the next couple of days before more rain. Or would ya'll recommend some clotches to place over them just in case?

Daniel: Thanks for that, my original idea for this garden a few years back was to produce so much that I could give it away or sell it. Until I heard about the SFG method that didn't seem like a possibility. Glad to know we can expect a sizeable harvest like that (barring weather, disease, insect, and critter attacks!).


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 Post subject: Re: The Backyard Farmer!
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 5:43 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Rhode Island
5/28/11 Update!

Doesn't take much time to turn that barren dirt in the first pic into this. Have over 12 different plants growing now. Not much to use yet except onion clippings and butterleaf lettuce. 2nd pic is my Penn Red. I managed to plant 3 Penn Red and 3 Havana 263 and they're all doing great. Just for shits and giggles, I sowed a bunch of seeds outside in a small area just to experiment on growing directly. 2 weeks later and I have about 15 sprouts, so a success so far.

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