Chilllucky Crop 2019

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chilllucky

Member
Jul 15, 2018
282
32
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
Took the first steps towards growing some tobacco next year on our property in Southern Wisconsin. This will be my first ever attempt at gardening, and therefore necessarily at growing tobacco, so there will likely be some hilarious amateur mistakes you all can learn from or laugh at or sympathize with.
Step one was to mow down a patch of the overgrown hayfield that is our land.
Step two was to rake all the cut grass and stalks into an even mat over said patch.
Step three was to take a soil sample for testing.
Finally, black plastic was laid down over the area and weighed down.
The plan here is to kill and turn to mulch all the plants formerly growing there, which are all suddenly considered weeds now. If the soil test shows that I need to add anything to make healthy soil for growing tobacco, I will add that material and till it in come spring. If the soil is ok, I will lay down mulch and try no-till gardening as it seems a little easier during the season and much better for the soil long term.
In a few months, I will order seeds and start growing them semi-hydroponically under lights at home for transplant in spring.

 

bluto

Preferred Member
Aug 24, 2018
739
2
My mistake was to overwater the seedings
Got them to start fine , I had a nice green carpet , if I let them dry a bit with better drainage they would have stretched and deeply rooted .
But alas , I was overzealous with my water spritzer and while they thrived , they got no bigger than sprouts .. :(

 

chilllucky

Member
Jul 15, 2018
282
32
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
I haven't. Research into what I might want to produce has been slow, but delicious! :puffy: Most likely it will be a couple of burley types and a couple of virginia types, just to see what takes.
My goals for the project over all are:
1. Keep the plants alive.
2. Experiment with curing methods.
3. Produce something I can smoke without making faces.
4. If everything else goes well, and I feel in control of the final product (not counting on it), I would like to use some of the other resources on the property to contribute to a blend or two. I think a honey and black walnut aromatic could be nice. As well as perhaps trying to smoke and/or flame cure some stuff with some wood from the land. There are a lot of old, accidental, unproductive fruit trees that need to come down.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,163
533
They are easily prone to dampening off. So yeh, keep the soil moist but not wet. I usually stretch plastic wrap over the seedling tray to maker it more like a terrarium, to keep it from needing watering.

If you are going hydroponics, keep in mind that the roots they grow in hydroponics will not be the roots they need when you transplant them. But, you probably know that.

 

bluto

Preferred Member
Aug 24, 2018
739
2
I picked up a half dozen varietals from eBay sellers to set up a small matrix to see what would grow well ... but alas , the best laid plans of mice and men.
Shouldn't you be tilling and amending the soil this year , to be ready for spring ?

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,163
533
I picked the last of my tobacco Saturday. I will till it this week, and plant peas in the beds. I almost wrote "Pease," ha ha, which would be cool if I could just plant some Haddos Delight or Stonehenge Flake.

 

bluto

Preferred Member
Aug 24, 2018
739
2
Is that for nitrogen fixing ?
I planted oat grass a few years back , seemed to improve the soil .

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,163
533
peas are for supper :puffy:

My experience is that legumes don't seem to add as much nitrogen as some suggest. But, it is good to rotate in a cover crop, just to keep it alive with microbes and such. I sometimes will grow Turnips in the beds through the winter, and then just till in the turnips that we don't eat in the Spring.

 

chilllucky

Member
Jul 15, 2018
282
32
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
Killing the hay to turn it into mulch/compost is my attempt at amending the soil/preparing the seed bed for spring. I decided to forgo a cover crop, based on nothing, really. AG/gardening info on the interwebs is copious and contradictory.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,885
819
Monterey Peninsula
Shouldn't you be tilling and amending the soil this year , to be ready for spring ?
Tilling practices have changed vastly over the last several decades. Sometimes it's counterproductive.
But a cover crop- almost any cover crop- is good for the soil as long as it's nitrogen friendly (either adding N or not taking any N)
Chili- You may be able to get some help from your local Ag Dept. or Master Gardeners, depending on where you live.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,163
533
It all really depends on your soil make up. This is why I suggest everyone who wants to farm to join your local cooperative and take classes. Take some of the guesswork out of the work, and know for sure whether tilling is right for your soul.

 

chilllucky

Member
Jul 15, 2018
282
32
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
Not to get too off-topic, but yes. Like most things I've never needed to think about before, it seemed to me like all the tools to turn over earth (plows, discs, harrows, tillers, cultivators) were available because it was some kind of order-of-operations problem. It's much more of a what are you starting with - what do you want to end up with - what do you have kind of matrix-y question.
In the end, I chose to kill down the hay with the tarp over winter instead of plowing it under now because it was easy to do.

 

chilllucky

Member
Jul 15, 2018
282
32
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
Update 1/1/19: Soil test sez good N, Low P, Low K. So when the ground thaws, a couple weeks before planting, I will pull off the tarp and turn in some potash and fertilizer.
I will be picking up a seed starting "hydroponic" set up from a Brew and Grow store in town here for $100-150. Most of the cost of that is in the lamp and the prepared trays. You could accomplish the same thing for probably $25, but I am hoping to use this for tomatoes as well as being able to hang on to it for a few years.
I'll order seeds by the end of the month and start 'em soon after. I still have no real clue what to order beyond "a coupla virginias and a coupla burleys". The disconnects between planters - graders - blenders - consumers is like international trade. Very different words to describe the same thing.

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
This might help in your tobacco selection: http://nwtseeds.com/seed_list.htm
Or, PM me, I don't have a lot of seed varieties on hand.. maybe just 30 or so.

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,143
74
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
I'll be interested in this, Lucky. I have 5 acres just south of the WI border, near Harvard. I've been trying to sell it for five years with no luck and it's costing me damned near $2k/year in taxes. It would sure be nice to get SOMETHING out of that albatross.

 

carolinachurchwarden

Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
1,682
2
Raleigh, NC
I'm going to keep an eye on your progress for sure. I'm going to be moving back to an old homestead of sorts my family owned and we always kept a garden. My idea is to separate the garden in a small portion I want to try some tobacco on, the rest will be vegetables. Just gotta make sure no one picks the baccy thinking is collards...that'd be a helluva meal... :|

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,275
37
Hydroponics is the way to go. Whenever I go to incidences of "grow" operations going bad I look at how the "crop" is being handled. The high end operations are all hydroponics. The low end "slash and burn" "grows" are 5 gallon shrub buckets with drip tubing that originates in a shower stall with bigger bucket of chemicals to siphon.
btw, the fires are always the overtaxed air handlers installed to cool the "product".