Skip to comments.Growing my own tobacco -I've had it with these prices! (A journal)
Posted on 06/21/2005 8:25:15 AM PDT by RandallFlagg
Since I have to get to bed, I'm just going to paste what I placed into the coffinnails.com forum. There's relevant questions inclused that I'll place on this thread if they get answered.
Day one -finally got my seeds!
Them things are SMALL! Sheesh! I had to fuzzy up the end of a Q-Tip to place them into the trays. Before I screw things up, there's a few questions I must ask. The 200 seeds I got are Dark Virginia. I'm doing 16 at a time.
Will the unused seeds keep for a while? I'd like to grow 'em in staggered stages. Will regular tap water work, or will I have to use distilled or rainwater? I have to used that kind for my Venus's Flytraps. Flourescent lighting. Will it work well for staggered stage growing year-round? Humidity? Someone told me that nicotine is a natural insect repellant. Is this true? Has anyone here saved the $$$ they expected to save? That's why I'm doing this. What's the best soil to use?
Luckily, there's a big place near my home called Paulino's Gardens, where I can find almost all the accessories I need for this venture of mine. I'll update on this thread as I go along.
OH! First entry: Got seeds three days ago and placed them on top of potting soil in 16-cube icetray container with holes in the bottom. Placed trays in my carnivorous plant terrarium that uses three 15-watt flourescent bulbs on a 18-hour timer. Sprayed and soaked with rainwater. Crossing my fingers.
Last question for the day: How long should it be before something actually grows?
I don't know that you need to go to the trouble of starting them indoors, I always just sowed the seeds directly on the soil. You don't want to cover them with soil as the germination is triggered by light. No special soil, no special water.
Don't know what part of the country you live in but the plants are partal to humidity and heat, obviously, as most tobacco is grown in the south.
Once the plants are growing you need to watch for, and remove, the sucker shoots. Just like growing tomatos.
The drying process is the most critical, IMO. As someone posted earlier, you tie the leaves on to a stick so they get enough air around them to prevent them from molding. Hang them in a dark, dry, room. Tobacoo barns used to have big furnaces in them and the sticks would be hung on rafters all the way to the top of the barn.
Once dry and after you have cleaned the tobacco off the leaves it will probably be too dry to smoke. You should get a humidor to put the tobacco in and add a tiny piece of orange peel to add a little moisture back to the tobacco.
This link has quite a few photos:
Is the tobacco good enough to use for cigars?!
I spent every summer of my life until my early 20's on the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland. The beach community was part of a tobacco plantation.
We walked through many a tobacco field in shorts, or bathing suits, and never had a problem.
We would go from the fields, to swim in the bay, and back and forth, so maybe that kept any icky stuff off of us.
Our mother rubbed us down with Witch Hazel every night just in case.
Was down that way within the past two years or so, and all the tobacco is gone.
Yes, dependng on your rolling skill, but in a pipe is much easier. I believe they would roll a cigar, then cut off a chunk and stick it in a pipe when the situation didn't allow the time.
Smoking big ones all at one time was a rich man's perogative, I'm sure.
Growing is easy, it's the eternity of curing that'll get you back to buying the stuff.
I had two green Iguanas in their own big separate housing units with day lights and night lights going 24/7 for almost 10 years. No one questioned our increases in electricity.
I never thought about that, but no one ever questioned us.
When speaking of grow lamps, one needs to differentiate between the small fluorescent mentioned by RandallFlagg, and the 400W -1000W Metal Halides and High Pressure Sodium's employed by growers of other "specialty crops". The later will use a great deal of electricity and may arouse suspicion, while the former shouldn't cause any problems.
It isn't illegal to grow tobacco.
There was a story about this on FR a while ago, but I couldn't find it. Basically, any significant and continuous jump in your bill will do it. Freebird Forever is right though, such low wattage probably won't do it.
But I'd better watch out when I start up some servers at the house.
I know I'm late to the party here - but Jim Johnson's book is not only a great read - but it is practically an encyclopedia of what you need to know about growing and curing your own tobacco (I got it last year!)
The laws for growing tobacco for personal use have all those things spelled out. And the laws for growing commercially are even more detailed.
Thanks for all your advice. I wish I could have spent a bit more time posting, but I'm now, again, stuck at work. I'll look up on that book you folks mentioned.
I may have you mixed up with another Pufflister, but aren't you also growing your own? If so, how's it going on your end?
I used to smoke between 30-35 cigs a day up until I started RYO last Christmas. Now, I'm lucky if I burn through ten.
I speak as one who has worked the tobacco field in my youth, 40 acre plot owned by a friend of the family between Garner and Fuquay-Varina N. C. The pics on the link are interesting in a historical context, but if you are looking for anything approaching what one buys as ready-rolls for the last 40 years, no relevance whatsoever, modern tobacco is cured in seatainer sized metal containers with gas-fired hot air continually forced through the tightly packed leaves, which are crammed into spiked racks and lose about 85-90% fresh picked weight as they dry. The process is quicker, more compact, and a darn sight safer than the old barns pictured in your link.
Those old wooden barns pictured, some had furnaces, some just had a regularly tended bed of coals on the floor and every season a few would flame up. Only reason the VFD even responded was to keep the surrounding woods from going up, the things went up like the fourth of July.
As to cutting the plant and hanging it upside down, someone has tobacco and left-handed tobacco confused. Part of what made 'baccy picking such a nasty, labor intensive job was that the leaves are plucked from the bottom up, starting with the "sand lugs" (four per plant and useless) that literally lay on the sandy soil, and coming up the stalk about 24 to 48 hours apart, two leaves, sometimes four, per plant per pass. Pick two, stuff'em under the arm, pick two off the next plant. Arm gets full, trot to the sled at the end of the row, dump and repeat. Between the heat and the transdermal absorption of nicotine, it was common for workers to hit the end of a row, dump, puke, get a drink, and start the next row. Called "the monkey" in my day.
Starting indoors might not be a bad idea, I would not attempt full growth there unless demanded by the climate. '70, when I did this, the seeds, which are incredibly tiny, were started in seedbeds which had first been cleansed with methyl bromide, a chemical since banned which would kill all competing weeds and bugs, along with the occasionally careless field hand. That evaporated quickly, no doubt improving the area air quality, and the seeds were put in and covered with 10 mil plastic until they got a few inches high, then hand transplanted about two feet apart.
Full grown plant is about six to eight feet with leaf sets about six inches apart up the stalk, had to be suckered regularly, and all this in the hottest, most humid part of the year. On the off chance there was a breeze that day, the rows of tall plants assured that no such relief got to the workers. I leave as an exercise for the student figuring the hand labor involved and translating that into the huge influx of Spanish speaking laborers of questionable legal status in east and Peidmont Carolinas.
Try it if you really want. Factor in labor and I think you will find that buying loose leaf and a good rolling machine is cheaper. No doubt about it, the nastiest job I've ever worked.
As to being too dry to smoke, that is part of the art, catching the cure at the right time. You don't want to dry into autumn leaves that crumble when you crunch. It should crinkle when clenched in the hand, not crumble into powder. As to "after you have cleaned the tobacco off the leaves", I'm not sure what that means. The leaves ARE the tobacco. Possibly, especially on the large sand lugs, one might want to cut out the central veins, which can be as big as a #2 pencil with nearly the same consistency.
As to legality, after the Raich decision on medical marijuana, totally up in the air. Stevens' opinion specifcally linked it to the '42 Wickard case. In Wickard, a farmer growing wheat strictly as a feedstock for his own livestock, no resale intended or alleged by the gov't, was nonetheless restricted under the broad interpretation of the interstate commerce clause in that by growing his own, he reduced market demand for the grain by the amount he grew and therefor did not have to purchase. I have to think Scalia was seduced by the drug war connection, especially since he and Thomas totally flipped on Spector the same day, a case applying ADA rules to foreign flag cruise ships, also under the commerce clause. The surprise to me was Sandra O'Conner's consistency in opposing the expansive interpretation of the commerce clause in both cases. No matter anyway, even with Scalia joining Thomas, Raich and Spector win 5-4 instead of 6-3.
When I lived in Fairbanks, the highest temp I encountered was +90F. The lowest was -56F.
It's a crazy place. :0)
That's what you meant. ;)
I can remember my Mother telling me how much she hated working with tobacco when she was a kid. Makes more sense now.
She had 11 siblings on a 1000+ acre farm and they all worked hard. Grandpa grew sugar cane, corn, cotton, cattle etc. Never heard Mother complain about anything but tobacco, and she was a great worker.
We fried the tiller before I had a chance to get the seeds into the ground - if the tiller can be fixed within the next week or so I will put in the tobacco.
Thanks for the informtive post.
>>> There is nothing in my tobacco that leaves me craving for more.
Huh, you are right. I didn't realize that (day 3 with stuff your own)
Can you expand on that a little bit?
Hummmmm, this is interesting. I gave up cigarettes 11 years ago but husband still smokes a pipe. Growing tabacco for his pipe just might be a solution to the cost of pipe tabacco.
Well, unlike Randall, I can't say that I cut back on smoking. Although I am not a chain smoker and on several occasions, went to light up and thought "Oh I don't feel like a cigarette right now, " and put it back in the case.
I smoke about a pack/pack and a half a day. That's good enough for me. If I am busy around the house, I don't light up.
Where I smoke the most is right here at my computer.
But none of us need to ingest all the added ingredients in anything. Be it cigarettes or food. I never was happy about that.
Another advantage is the stuff your own don't have the burn additives in them that store boughts do. After I switched I learned that I did not smoke up to 2 packs a day - that what I burned in the ashtray while working at the computer. the SYO go out when not being smoked.
>>>>The nicotine is secreted by the plant to ward off critters that might eat it, works on unsuspecting humans too.
Then why on earth are the skunks eating my tomato plants?
The "View Replies" link is your friend. ;-)
>>>>Wow, I had no idea Alaska looked that good. And they pay you to live there.... does it actually get nice and warm sometimes?
For info on Alaska, post to 'Kathy in Alaska'
I found that while swimming down the thread. Thank you for the link and follow up.
Can you expand on that a little bit?
Here's an article by Thomas Sowell that talks about it a little.
I know tomatoes aren't tobacco; but didn't you say it was the nicotine that fends off the critters?
>>> For tomatoes, I do not know. 12 gage? .22? Works for me.
LOL! I'm a blue state denizen. No guns for us :(
>>>>Tomatoes are used at Super Fund sites to treat metal (arsenic, lead, chromium, etc.) contaminated soils.
Do those fruits make it to market??
Seeds will germinate in less than ten days if conditions are right. Warm, wet, and flooded with light. If they don't produce a visible plant within 10 days, they need more light.
I'm very happy with the SYO. Thank you for the link SheLion.
I'm still trying to master the stuffing without destroying ^-^
I have notice a big difference with the taste. I'm not craving a cigarette and yet very statisfied when I have one.
I think you are right about the extra additives in cigarettes and am wondering if it was actually the nicotine that creates the addiction.
I was a democrat when the Feds started breaking into homes and killing people. Now I am a Republican and it seems to me that nothing has changed. How do we explain that to our kids?
Maybe in your neck of the woods, but in Maryland, we cut the entire tobacco plant, speared the plants onto sticks and hung them, top down where they air cured in the barn.
There was no bed of coals, and no furnace, just boards in the sides of the barns which allowed air to circulate.
The plants were speared 4-6 on a 5 foot stick and these set across tier poles with enough room for the air to get through, too close and they'd get moldy. In the mid fall, the sticks would be taken down, the plants removed, the leaves stripped off acording to grade (bright, dark, and tips) and bundled, rikked in the standard 4'X 4' baskets and taken to auction.
Folks as close as Virginia flue cured their tobacco, much like you describe, but Marylanders air cured theirs.
WOW! Thanks. That explains why I had no luck last year - not enough light.
Iirc, the plants are related, both are susceptible to mosaic virus, and I believe the tomatoes will show the effects first.
When we were not hoeing tobacco, we were picking tomatoes as kids, or baling hay, or something, there was no shortage of work to be done.
You've been RYO for three days? You're in for a treat!
BTW, I wonder if any big tobacco folks will hear about this thread and get nervous.....
Look at my screen name. I realized a while ago that neither party is interested in protecting our liberty.
Very interesting - I was under the impression that being planted anywhere near other members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes) was hazardous to the Tobacco because of the TMV.
I seriously doubt they will get nervous - they've been reading these threads for years...........
I think my grandfather used the tomatoes as an indicator of any mosaic problems, before the cash crop was damaged.
Aside from that, we had a lot of tomatoes....I miss that.
Thanks. I think I'm really doing it just because I want to see if I can. Being a rich, white conservative republican (snicker), I can easily afford to buy any kind of smoke I want. But it's really the tax thing that irks me to no end. I'll keep updating this thread as things progress.
Day two. Sprayed seeds. Nothing yet.
(didn't expect any, but I'm a little anxious)