Growing Tobacco in the Desert

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phxrock

Senior Member
Aug 18, 2014
322
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I have been thinking about this for awhile. I live in the Phoenix Metro area and would like to try to grow my own Burley and some Virginia. With the summer temps being so high and the humidity being low. I am thinking about doing it in the winter here.

Can anyone recommend some articles or books that can help?
Thank you

John

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
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John ... check out the threads on growing tobacco at fairtradetobacco.com
It's a good group of very knowledgeable folks there and tons of info.
I have several seeds going right now ... Golden Seal Special, Tennessee Red, Orinoco and Semois.

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
1
Definitely do-able. The difficult part will be curing in your low humidity environment. A work around for curing would be closing off an outbuilding and provide a big bucket(s) of water. As the water evaporates it will increase the humidity. You could also cure in your house.
+1 on Cobguy's suggestion for FairTradeTobacco Forum.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,923
95
Extremely counterintuitive, but probably done various places with various crops. I think first of hydroponics or some similar kind of enclosed system, on a very small scale for tobacco. Might winter be too cold? Maybe fall or spring? A lot of pot growing is indoors, so perhaps this would work for tobacco? I don't grow, so I don't know. Let us know what you do on this.

 

deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
7,724
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Hydroponics is useful in that you cannot over-saturate your soil with fertilizer or suffer the residual effects thereof.

 

wallace

Member
Nov 20, 2012
127
0
I grew up in Gilbert, once known as the hay capital of the world. With the high temps and flood irrigation alfalfa, corn, sorghum, cotton, cut flower crops and many more have done really well. I think with some shade screen and plenty of water you would be off to a good start. I'm no pro tho. :)

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,929
116
The desert is fine. There is already an establishment of tobacco farmers in the Southwest for American Spirit, and rustica is grown there. I'm not completely sure about Virginias, but my giess is that C&D get their Virginias from the desert, he he. :puffy:
Besides, you'll find tobacco grown on the equator also.
As for hydroponics, (I can't speak for now) but, back in the 90's tobacco was started as a hydroponic and then farmers would buy them and transplant them... at least in North Carolina. Most likely, someone is doing it somewhere. But, start up is expensive, compared to... well, dirt.

 

deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
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Hydroponics with natural light and a dirt-like medium (rock wool) makes sense however. As usual, you are insightful, Cosmic.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,529
129
Monterey Peninsula
Talk to friends and neighbors about growing tomatoes. Tobacco is a cousin of tomatoes, an the growing conditions should be similar. Good luck!

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
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tobacco was started as a hydroponic and then farmers would buy them and transplant them..
They still do that and they're called "float trays"

I made a deep water tub like this for very little money:


 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
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What growth medium are you using?
I've used various things ... Perlite, Hydroton, Coconut fiber and even plain old River Rock.
I have never grown tobacco, only tomatoes.
Tomatoes ... yeah, yeah ... that's what I'm growing. :mrgreen:

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,929
116
Tobacco is way easier than tomatoes. And, curing isn't exactly rocket science. It can be as simple or complicated as you want. I was even smoking the dried lugs off the plants. It wasn't Escudo, but it was a way to bond with the plants.

Next year, I'd like to play with some cigar leaf, maybe learn to roll, as well as grow some for my pipe. Maybe make some cabachons.

 

deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
7,724
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I like dirt growing, generally, even if it's a bit more of a pain in the posterior regarding parasites and nutrient buildup.
Cosmic, you need a 60-ton press so you can make classic American plugs.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,929
116
I do have a 20 ton Bonnie Doon press. But, I enjoyed hand rolling the rope twists. It felt more artistic. But, maybe one year. No ine else makes a Virginia/cigar leaf plug, do they?