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 Home Grown Tobacco

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elshano

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Location : Sarasota, FL, U.S.A.
Registration date : 2012-05-16

PostSubject: Home Grown Tobacco   Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:51 pm

Greetings BoBers!

I'm relatively new here, probably not even a year old, and this will probably be my first post.
I've been considering for some time, and am currently looking into the details of growing my own tobacco. Of course this is a very involved endeavor, and it might have no appeal to others at this site (could not locate a similar topic on this site), but I thought I'd give it a try.

I live in southwest Florida, so it may be even more "interesting" (in the ancient Chinese, or English sense) for a native Floridian, than for those of you living in the prime states of Virginia, N. Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Louisiana - to name a few of the more well known tobacco growing U.S. states - let alone other parts of the world where tobacco is known to thrive. Northwest Florida, in particular, and other areas of the state have had a tobacco growing past, but it would seem the farther south you go, the less likely it would be to grow-your-own. Still, I'm going to investigate.

Are any of you out there interested in, or even in the process of growing your own tobacco?
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kaiser83

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Age : 34
Location : Wherever the smoke clears
Registration date : 2012-02-22

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:10 pm

I purchased some low light burley seeds to try to grow here in Illinois. There are a couple decent forums out there on growing tobacco you can check out. Definitely post up some pics as you start to grow and process.
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mark
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Registration date : 2008-07-02

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:43 am

http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t18526-growing-tobacco

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Aristokles



Location : Pittsburgh, PA
Registration date : 2010-10-02

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:49 pm

Every time I see a thread about growing one's own tobacco (as tempting as the idea is) I think about starting one about growing Marinara Sauce...
I mean the difference between raw tobacco leaf and a properly cured, aged, balanced smoking mixture seem about the same as between raw on the vine tomatoes and Mama Lina's cooking. Laughing
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williamcharles

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Age : 66
Location : Indiana
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:00 pm

I'm from Tennessee and worked in a tobacco field for a short (shortest that I could arrange!) time. It was grueling work. I was just a kid. Maybe it wasn't actually as bad as I remember it but I'd not choose to do it again if I had my druthers.

The curing barn was less than 100 yards from our house. Smelled great in that barn. Now and then someone would grab a leaf, wad it up and have a chaw. Foul tasting stuff when chewed but was almost tasteless when smoked. It was burley. I rolled it into cigarettes then. The tobacco didn't hurt me but I thought ma was going to murder me. Very Happy

I've smoked virginia straight from the barns too and when I read posts from folks complaining about casings I have to smile. If they could smoke untreated tobacco, burley or virginia, right out of the barn they might change their minds. A little sugar water can work magic. I've treated home grown burley with molasses and water, twisted it and let it dry. It was smokable and that's all I'll say about that.

A small patch might be fun but don't expect it to be easy. It's a lot of work. Preparing the ground, starting the seed indoors or in covered seed beds outside and then transplanting the seedlings, weeding, suckering, topping...it's a ong list.

I don't know if Florida has a problem with a tobacco worm that gave us fits in Tennessee but if they do, watch out. Green with a brown middle. We called them saddle worms. Stingers on both ends and hurt like hell when they get you.

IF you decide to gopher it (I know...I know), good luck.
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EC Outlaw

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Age : 71
Location : Kentucky
Registration date : 2011-11-24

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:28 pm

As to your location, they grow tobacco in Cuba and other countries bordering on the gulf of Mexico, so I don't think you will have any trouble with the latitude.
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bosun1

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Location : fly over country
Registration date : 2012-10-23

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:15 pm

You can grow tobacco in Connecticut and Wisconsin for that matter. Only thing holding me back is the curing process. I don't have the room!
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elshano

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Location : Sarasota, FL, U.S.A.
Registration date : 2012-05-16

PostSubject: Home Grown Tobacco   Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:02 pm

Well, if I were as affected by things that people say, as most seem to be, I'd be about 85% discouraged, but I'm not. I appreciate every response and really don't know whether I will try even a small patch of it. Obviously, as pointed out, the curing - once you get past the somewhat labor intensive end of growing tobacco - is a huge part of the process, and going from raw tobacco to a somewhat pleasing pipe blend is a considerable endeavor, when even possible. I will still continue to consider it for some time, in the very least enjoying a learning process that will only deepen the appreciation of each bowlful that lies ahead.

Florida and Cuba, though separated by a mere 80-150 miles, are still quite different. I look forward to the replies ahead and now see other similar posts, pre-dating this thread and will shortly start into them.

Thank you all for your responses, I didn't expect this many ...
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mark
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PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:48 am

Just growing a small patch is a worthwhile adventure. Even if you don't cure and process the leaves, the knowlege gained in growing may come in handy down the road if you someday NEED to grow for whatever reason. Having mastered the growing portion you can concentrate on the processing procedures confident you'll have a crop to experiment with. Besides, flowering tobacco is quite a sight. Good luck whatever you decide.

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elshano

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Location : Sarasota, FL, U.S.A.
Registration date : 2012-05-16

PostSubject: Re: Homegrown Tobacco   Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:03 am

Appreciate the encouragement, Mark. It will be a while before I take this up, if I do at all, and then probably very small scale. I agree that it is a beautiful plant and think of coffee growing in the Caribbean, particularly in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Wonderful plant - leaf, flower and fruit, and terribly maligned due to consumer ills and the practices of industry.
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Northern Neil

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Age : 34
Location : Calgary AB. Canada
Registration date : 2012-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:00 pm

I tried growing Tobacco for the first time this summer. Unfortunately, I discovered that the Northern Pairies of Canada does not offer the proper climate for tobacco. I was able to grow and harvest it, after getting it killed by hail twice (very resilient plant). But it was in the drying where I ran into problems.

In the prairies we have a very dry climate which caused the tobacco to dry out too quickly which made it keep it's green pigment. Next year I will need to make sure I have a humidically controlled room for drying (65% humidity).

As for the fermenting, I have not had a chance to experiment with this yet, however, I did build a kiln out of an old fridge which will work as my curing chamber when I am finally ready.

I would encourage you to try growing your own. I found it to be a lot of work, but also to be very rewarding even though I did not get to smoke any. Also, I do not think you will run into the problems that I did (hail and low humidity) in Florida.

It will be very dificult to grow enough tobacco to never need to buy from the store again. But it would offer a nice blendding component to add to personal or existing blends. "A leaf that no one else in the world would have access to." That has a beautiful ring to it.
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BigCasino

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Age : 49
Location : North of Pittsburgh pa
Registration date : 2012-11-27

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:55 pm

Hey Neil, I am planning to grow some this summer, I have been reading about the whole process so I (hopefully) am prepared when spring gets here, Now I have read that you should wait to harvest the leaves after they start to turn yellow or after they have turned yellow, did you wait till then or did you pick them green?

Also I don't know if you have found the Tair Trade Tobacco Forum yet but it has a lot of good useful information there.

Some one from that forum gifted me some samples of their homegrown some Va's, Burley, and few turkish and even a cigar tobacco called copan, I blended the Va with some burley and a touch of the turkish and copan with some store bought latakia, and I have a blend that to me, tastes a lot like night cap

I can only hope that I can get through the curing and aging/kilning process with out trouble, but I like to grow things anyways so even if something goes wrong in that area the whole growing my own will be a new learning experience
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:38 pm

williamcharles wrote:
Foul tasting stuff when chewed but was almost tasteless when smoked. It was burley. I rolled it into cigarettes then.

I've smoked virginia straight from the barns too and when I read posts from folks complaining about casings I have to smile. If they could smoke untreated tobacco, burley or virginia, right out of the barn they might change their minds. A little sugar water can work magic. I've treated home grown burley with molasses and water, twisted it and let it dry. It was smokable and that's all I'll say about that.

After smoking some of Mark's tobacco crop, I have to wholly agree. People's romance with "purity" and simplicity is fine and dandy, but what if the steak could taste...even steakier...with just a pinch of salt? It isn't pure beef anymore, though. Concept versus reality! Smile

Though, I still have a bit of his leaf--and tap into it every once in a while. There's something raw and intriguing about it that reminds me of exactly what you stated here, Chuck...it's a great thing to do, but I find myself appreciating what blenders do for our leaf, "pure" or just a little something added to tune in the flavor receptors a little.

Cool
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elshano

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Location : Sarasota, FL, U.S.A.
Registration date : 2012-05-16

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:08 am

Northern Neil: I've heard and read good things about Canada grown tobacco, though I haven't had the opportunity to smoke any yet. Florida definitely presents it's own concerns, with nematodes being at the top of the list. I don't know when, or if (concerns about using the little land available here) I will get around to growing, but I wish you the best with the drying process.

Big Casino: What little I do know about picking and selecting suggests that there are different types, or qualities of tobacco to be had between the light green and yellow leafs, but I haven't gotten that far and would have to do much more research into it. Obviously that is an important stage before drying and curing, to determine the outcome with regard to subtle differences that will make a huge difference at the end of the process and in the pipe. I'm glad that others are sharing samples with you. It seems that quite a few growers are happy to do so. I've heard of Copan from long ago and wonder if it's anything like the "fronto" I knew in Jamaica. Honduran, I believe.

I also wish you much luck with your venture, B.C..

Kyle: I've heard that time and time again, about straight tobacco, but again, in reference to Jamaican fronto, this was quite flavorful, but obviously not what most pipe smokers might care for. It is all worth exploring, though aside from "foul taste", I know that the head and stomach need be prepared for the effect.
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Northern Neil

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Age : 34
Location : Calgary AB. Canada
Registration date : 2012-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:27 pm

BigCasino wrote:
Hey Neil, I am planning to grow some this summer, I have been reading about the whole process so I (hopefully) am prepared when spring gets here, Now I have read that you should wait to harvest the leaves after they start to turn yellow or after they have turned yellow, did you wait till then or did you pick them green?

I can only hope that I can get through the curing and aging/kilning process with out trouble, but I like to grow things anyways so even if something goes wrong in that area the whole growing my own will be a new learning experience

Unfortunately, I had to harvest before the frost, so i picked some green, and some when ripe (drooping / slightly yellowed) I actually ended up stock harvesting rather than harvesting each leaf individually. I did this because of the dry climate I live in, apparently stock harvesting helps maintain relitive humidity within the leaves and keeps them from drying too quick. Ideally, you do not want to harvest until everything is ripe.

The curing, aging and fermenting process is definetely the hard part. More time consuming than hard. Colour curing (drying) takes about 3 months to complete. Then the aging process, professional tobacco growers age for a minimum of one to two year, but I am waiting until the end of winter. Then the fermenting (kiln) takes an additional 6 to 8 weeks. All in all, it will be about one year after harvest before you have a smokable product.

That being said, well worth the effort in my opinion.
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Northern Neil

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Age : 34
Location : Calgary AB. Canada
Registration date : 2012-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:33 pm

elshano wrote:
Northern Neil: I've heard and read good things about Canada grown tobacco, though I haven't had the opportunity to smoke any yet. Florida definitely presents it's own concerns, with nematodes being at the top of the list. I don't know when, or if (concerns about using the little land available here) I will get around to growing, but I wish you the best with the drying process.

I know that all tobacco commercially grown in Canada is grown in Southern Ontario (around the greatlakes). They are much fruther south (latitude wise) than I am, and do not get the hail and frost I experience. That being said, I know a couple of personal growers up here in Alberta and they have had a lot of success. Mind you, they have a nice humidically controlled rooms for drying and aging. I will have to find myself something along those lines.

Also, I have very limited land as well living in a city. I know one option is growing tobacco in 5 gallon jugs rather than in the ground. This allows the plants to be moved if required.
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elshano

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Location : Sarasota, FL, U.S.A.
Registration date : 2012-05-16

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:13 pm

Have heard of tobacco from, mostly, Ontario, as well as Alberto. Don't know of success with it any other place, for example, the more temperate B.C. clime. Not a motorist (bicyclist), I happen to have a couple of 5 gallon jugs that have been unused since a split from my car owning girlfriend. Your tip has pointed me in an otherwise obvious solution.

My main "problem" (if that's what it is) is not procrastination, or laziness, or even the land issue, but simply organizing a BT brain to do it. I'm enjoying some Peterson's Sherlock Holmes, earlier, and now some Gatwith and Hogart "Kendal Gold" and wondering how well these light Virginians will do here, along with other choices, probably based on how well they do in somewhat similar climates and environments.
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Northern Neil

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Age : 34
Location : Calgary AB. Canada
Registration date : 2012-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Home Grown Tobacco   Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:16 pm

It is an adventure if nothing else... that is for sure. If you were to do it, start small. The more plants you grow, the larger the commitment.
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