Both! The burley will be stalk cut and air cured in a friend's garage. The virginias will be taken as they ripen and flue cured in some kind of contraption I feel suddenly very far behind in constructing.
The semois, I have to ask about.
Darin - PM sent! Thank you very much for offering to share what you know with me.
For anyone else lurking this thread - if you've ever thought for even a fleeting moment about growing your own, please let this log serve not as an example of how to do it "right", but to show how forgiving the process is. This tobacco will almost certainly not be premium grade best in show, fullest potential met, but it grew almost in spite of my efforts at the begining and my lack of efforts at this stage.
Ugh. Hornworms. I was hoping first crop on virgin soil would be pest-free. No such luck.
On the plus: I might be able to start harvesting this weekend, and I'm starting to build my flue curing chamber.
Well, I'd say that's a pretty damn good stretch without any pest issues for any plant, and you're almost to the finish line, so there's hope for minimal loss. Good luck, and don't forget to show us your flue in action!
I would walk through and pick them off by hand every day, last year. This year I took a suggestion from the grow forum and put down a landscaping cloth over the area where they are growing. I put the cloth down, and then cut holes to plant them in. The hornworns emerge from the ground after being larva/grubs in the ground, and if the emerge under the fabric they die. I haven't had a single one this year.
My problem this year is the drought. Not a single day of rain in over 60 days. My tobacco may taste like chlorine from the tap water. ::
Very cool thread!
Being a longtime homebrewer, I'm totally in sync with the "do it all yourself" approach. Although I grew up on a farm, I don't live on one now, and all I grow are some peppers, herbs and flowers in containers on my deck.
Doing a little research on the whole process, from seeds to getting the tobacco pipe-ready, nothing looks outrageously difficult or requiring of expensive equipment. I think this may be doable for me on a very small scale.
Just ordered a packet of these seeds, and I'm going to give it a try: Little Dutch is an heirloom variety dating back to the 1880's. It is sweet aromatic tobacco used in pipe blends and as a cigar filler. It grow to around 3' in height and has narrow leaves growing up to 30" long. The long narrow leaves also make an excellent cigar wrapper. It matures in only 45 days and is a good choice for container growing.
Another explorer! It's really neat and so far for me at least, pretty forgiving. The proof is in the plum pudding, tho. There is still a lot to learn and try before I can really say to someone "this is good tobacco. I grew it myself".
True of home-brewing, too.
Cosmic- I will definitely do landscaping cloth next year. I had ideas to do a cover crop and crimp it like a professional no-till farmer might, but further research into what that would actually involve having, knowing, and using well has me thinking a $20 roll of fabric is a much more accomplish-able plan.
Exactly. And pursuant to my experience with homebrewing, it took me several years before I could say "this a very good beer," so I'm keeping my expectations low.
As mentioned earlier in the thread, my first goal is "better than the worst tobacco I ever tasted."
I've been neglecting to post even though the harvest has begun!
Here are some of the first leaves I took off the plants. I tried it with all 4 varieties even though it's only traditionally done with flue-cured virginias. You can see in the second picture (after 3 weeks hanging) that I picked some too early and they set green. Books and forums can only tell you so much. "Ripeness" is a thing only experience can confirm.
I've been talking to a commercial flue-cured farmer who a blender I met at the Chicago Show put me in touch with. He reccomended that I "let it stand in the field until you're convinced you've ruined it" and just air cure the whole stalk like burley. So I think that's what I'm gonna do. Maybe over winter i will try to build a flue.
So here are the remaining leaves still on my bright leaf virginias, looking a LOT more yellow than the ones I took 5 weeks ago. Live and learn!
Cosmic - the four seeds from Jitterbug That I got to this stage are: yellow twist bud, Belgium burley, semois, and Virginia Brightleaf.
Didimauw - this required hardly any patience. These plants are in the ground on some property my wife and I plan to retire to. It's a hundred and six miles from where I sleep most nights and we get up there two or three weekends a month. I'm sure there's a level of control over the final product that I'm missing out on having for not being able to handle it every day, but it seems to be doing well enough mostly on its own.