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: Curing chamber or kiln?
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 11:36 am
Posts: 61
Location: CentralMissouri
Curious if curing chamber or kiln is better for fermentation of tobacco or are they the same? Also any advice on what material is most recommended for construction, I've read of wood, foam, etc? Would like to use whatever is most effective and lowers risk of fire. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Oh yeah first timer here if you couldn't tell!!


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 Post subject: Re: Curing chamber or kiln?
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 12:39 am 
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Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 10:04 pm
Posts: 104
Location: new zealand
id call them the same. theres plenty of info, just do a search. check out the croc-pot kiln thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Curing chamber or kiln?
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 4:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:16 am
Posts: 798
Location: near Rising Sun,Maryland USA
This seems to be one of the most confusing aspects of preparing tobacco. CURING is when you harvest your leaves and them them air dry over the course of several weeks ( usually 6 to 8 weeks). FERMENTING is taking the already cured leaves and keeping them at a temp of about 110 to 120 degrees F and leaving them there for about 2-4 weeks. A curing chamber would most likely be a barn, shed or attic, while a fermenting chamber would be much smaller and have a heat source and water source(for humidity). You can use whatever you want for a fermenter, but the more insulated it is, the less heat you will need to run it. I use 2 inch thick rigid foam.

Randy B


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 Post subject: Re: Curing chamber or kiln?
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 7:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:47 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Reno, NV
So far I use my living room to cure (hung to let dry and turn brown) tobacco. Keep in mind I have only cured the leaves of a couple of plants so far. One thing that surprised me is that even with our very dry air the leaf has enough moisture to take a couple of weeks or more to dry out. I do have to mist with a spray bottle an area of leaf now and then. but for the most part when the leaf changes color it is still very limp and most. more like wilted than dried. It then takes several more days to dry out with the area near the mid rib taking longer. It sort of dries from the edges toward the mid rib as well as from the tip toward the stalk portion of the leaf. Hope that description is helpful. Nothing special is done during this process. just hang it and make sure there is a little room between each leaf. once it dries. I let it get crispy dry mainly because it is crispy on the edges long before it gets close to dry in the center. I do something to make it slightly moist again. in my case I just give it a light mist with the spray bottle. But I want it to get limp and flexible again but only a little bit. at this point I will shred enough to make on cigarette and smoke it. Trust me this means smoking some really bad cigarettes. But it is this test that helps me decide what to do next. At this point there are a lot of choices. First if it is good enough it can simply be smoked. Otherwise it needs to be fermented in one way or another. Fermenting is meant to change the taste of the tobacco by getting rid of some of the bad tasting stuff and getting some of it to simply stop being bad tasting. or at least that is how I understand it. At the very least fermenting or otherwise called Aging the tobacco makes it better. There are other methods of curing tobacco such as piling it up in piles to let it turn colors. but you need to learn about how to do them correctly or you can ruin your leaves quickly. I have read of digging a pit and throwing them in it to cure them as well. so once again you have many options to pick from in this regard. simply hanging in one fashion or another seems to be the most common though.

Two basic ways to ferment the tobacco is to simply store it in this semi moist condition for however long it takes to age and taste better. the other is to put it in a kiln at high temp and high humidity. the kiln simply speeds up the process. It is still the same process though. Simply aging the tobacco can take months if not years. the kiln can do the same thing in weeks or months.
There is also one more step that some may take. Flavoring and baking. I put the two together because to me they are both a way to permanently change the flavor of the tobacco. Baking is quick and pretty easy it also effective in getting bad taste out of the tobacco. Btu be careful because fro what i have heard once you do it you end the ability of the tobacco to age on it's own again. comments vary on that point though. Flavoring also seems to be done after the aging process. I figure this is because if you are going to try and flavor it you want the self flavor changing stuff to pretty much be complete. sort of like trying to put the final spices on a dinner that isn't finished cooking yet.

Now for each of those steps above you will find several ways to get them done. for curing you can cut individual leaves from the plant or cut down the whole stalk leaves still attached and hand them to dry that way.

for aging or fermenting there are a lot more options. handing them in sheds, boxing them up in attics, wrapping them in plastic or bagging them up in plastic bags. storing them in paper sacks etc. those are just a few ways i have read others have done it. You local conditions will determine a lot about what you will have to do for a long term storage and aging process.

As far as a kiln. You need a container large enough to hold your tobacco that can be kept at 120 degrees or even a little higher and around 70% humidity. I have used a Styrofoam box for small bunches and an over sized refrigerator for larger ones. I have had to age some leaf i did not grow. believe it or not the humidity is harder to get than the temperature by far. i started off with light bulbs for my heat source. 100 watts in the styro box and 500 watts in the fridge. both controlled temp wonderfully. but the humidity wanted to go way to high in the styro box and never got close to the 70% in the fridge. even small leaks will cause me to loose the humidity. I finally went thrift store shopping and found a large electric roaster. Sort of like a crock pot without the crock and much larger. I used it and it seemed to fix the humidity issue.

Sorry if you did not need all that info. i wrote it not so much because I thought the op needed it as i did for everyone else reading this thread with the same question.

It does not seem to me that anything about tobacco has just one simple answer. Not even what type to grow, how to cure it , how to age it, how to flavor it or even how to smoke or chew it. Many many avenues to explore. that is part of the fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Curing chamber or kiln?
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 11:36 am
Posts: 61
Location: CentralMissouri
Thanks for all of the info! My youngest son "5," is going to help me build my first kiln in the morning. I am cart before the horse here, but looking to work out bugs early. Also we will be beginning the transformation from tool shed to tool/growroom. If what I have learned here so far is indication of tips of the trade for future ref, then I think I can get through my first grow!!! Thanks again for the help.


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