How to Grow Tobacco

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 Post subject: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:48 pm 
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This fall and winter I decided to germinate some tobacco seeds to see how long it takes these plants to reach a good transplant size in my basement under lights. My main reason is because I have a very limited grow area (4'X2') under lights and in the spring I start my peppers, tomatoes, onions and so on under there, so want to know when I should plant tobacco seeds to fit them into the mix. I plan to seed in 3" pots and keep them there until time to transplant in the garden. So I tested out a few ornamentals plus a virginia (failed to germinate), a turkish (germinated but lost the seedlings) and a rustica. Here's how the rustica did, in case others want to estimate the size after X weeks.

Rustica at 6 weeks from planting the seed. This I think is the size I will aim for in the spring:
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Rustica at 7 weeks, really taking off. A nice size, but with my limited space and the way this plant spreads sideways, it is too big to share space will my other bedding plants now:
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Rustica at 8 weeks, growing a stalk now:
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So now I'm just letting it grow until I need the space for bedding plants. Here's rustica at 10 weeks, getting flower buds. My lights are on chains so I can raise them up, but there's a limit to how far so hopefully this doesn't get much taller. Be interesting if I could get it to flower and set seed, as certainly no risk of having it cross-pollinate indoors.
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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:43 pm 
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These are my Shirazi plants at 9 weeks all done outside.

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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:38 pm 
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Gimli, those are very impressive for 9 weeks. You are probably growing in better conditions than a Canadian basement in January, with a constant temperature of 17C (63F). Took almost 2 weeks for my seeds to germinate at those temps, then slow for another 2 weeks, then things began to happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:00 am 
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don555 wrote:
Gimli, those are very impressive for 9 weeks. You are probably growing in better conditions than a Canadian basement in January, with a constant temperature of 17C (63F). Took almost 2 weeks for my seeds to germinate at those temps, then slow for another 2 weeks, then things began to happen.


Ah, Canada... Where good maple syrup comes from.

Yes, it is summer here at the moment in Australia so the temps are pretty warm and great for germinating. I think my seeds take 4-6 days at most.

Could do with some snow right now...


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:21 pm 
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First flower! I transferred pollen from the stamens to the pistil with a Q-tip. Are these flowers self-fertile, or do I need pollen from another plant to get seed?
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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Location: central coast of Kalifornia
the baccy is self fertilizing in most cases I have heard of, Don. But you are certainly doing a fine job of it!
rc


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:38 pm 
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Location: Clover S.C.
Thats a beauty don555. Is the flower truly yellow?


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:34 pm 
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butwiper, when they first open they are pale yellow or maybe even a bit greenish-yellow. By the next day they have turned cream or pale yellowy-cream, and by the 3rd day the flowers start to die. Here's a pic from today showing fairly accurate colors and a mix of flower stages, from some newly opened ones in the lower-left to a cream colored one towards the upper-right, to the now-dying flower from my previous photo in the upper-left. I find them quite beautiful but they are I think more impressive in photos than in reality, since in reality each flower is only about 3/4 inch in diameter.

Rusty, thanks for the tip on the pollination.

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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:19 pm 
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Wow that is fantastic, thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:40 pm 
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On planting early, You can give them a hair cut. Just clip the leaf. What will happen is the roots will put out nicotine for protection and still grow back better than it was. It will allow You more pot time with the plant befor transplant. It will not harm the buds if done early. I only clip the leaf. There is a vidio of a guy on youtube using a lawnmower with no wheels in a green house mounted on a rail, doing it from above. Clipping tobacco. Mad-


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:33 pm 
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Mad, thanks for the tip. For this plant though, it will be trashed before spring and fresh seedlings will be started for outdoors.

11.5 week update. I'm amazed that just 4 days after each flower opens and gets pollinated, the old flower drops off and a developing seed pod is already obvious. The plant is mostly still at flowering stage, but more and more young seed pods are showing up. Rustica seems to operate at lightning speed, I wonder if the seed pods will ripen as quickly or if this will be the slow stage of this plant's life cycle?

I had not mentioned this before, but this plant had siblings in the same pot it was started in. Most of them were pulled out and discarded, but one was transplanted to its own 3" pot as a backup in case this first plant had something bad happen to it (you can see it and the main plant in the second pic in this thread, near the top of this thread). Transplanting set the second rustica plant back by about a week, but this second plant recently started to put up its own flower stalk, so I cut off the stalk to see how this plant would grow after being "topped". It's only been 3 days since then, but I swear the leaves on the topped plant are already much bigger. Here's a pic of the two plants together today, I'm looking forward to how the two compare in another week or two.
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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:29 am 
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Location: North GEORGIA
this is VERY impressive!
I am in the process of growing indoors too this year.
what specific lights are you using?

I have started with out lights and converted to using LED lights.
My plants are not as healthy as your though.
Mine are more "Stalky"


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:40 pm
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Location: Coastal Texas
Great photos Don!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:34 pm 
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Thanks, both!

JMG, I am using shop lights that I got somewhere like Home Depot. Each fixture takes two fluorescent T8 bulbs, 4 ft. long. I use one warm white and one cool white in each fixture for a broader spectrum light. I have them on chains so I can raise and lower them as needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Rustica trapped in a 3-inch pot under shop lights
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:59 am 
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February 15 update. Now 90 days since seeding, or just shy of 13 weeks. Still running an almost constant 17 C (63 F) in my basement, around the clock. Plants on a daily cycle of 16 hours of light, 8 hours dark.

Here's the two rusticas, planted at the same time, but the topped one was transplanted so was set back by about a week. I think these have reached as big as they are going to get in 3" pots. The topped plant definitely has bigger leaves but not vastly bigger. But these are weird growing conditions stuck in a 3" pot, so I don't know if that says anything about outside growing and topping. But if you were indoor growing and looking to maximize leaf production, then topping seems the way to go, especially since it prevents huge vertical growth for limited indoor spaces. Looks like I could remove and cure a few of the lower leaves on both of these soon.
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If you want to grow indoors for seed, then rusticas can be contained in 3" pots so long as you are vigilant with watering for such a root-bound plant. I can't say for certain if these will ripen and produce seed, let alone live seed, but these pods do seem to be developing and look good so far at least.
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