From seed to Swedish snus Planting the seed

The tobacco growing season 2020 is here, starting with planting the seed. Here you can read about the start of the 2020 season, what seeds I plant and the decision behind choosing those plants. It all starts with a tiny seed.

From seed to Swedish snus Planting the seed

The tobacco growing season 2020 is here, starting with planting the seed. Here you can read about the start of the 2020 season, what seeds I plant and the decision behind choosing those plants. It all starts with a tiny seed.

Why grow your tobacco

Most tobacco today is grown by large corporations or bought by large corporations. But homegrown tobacco have been around for centuries. If you grow your tobacco yourself you know what ends up in your snus, cigar, or cigarette. And if you don’t sell your tobacco, you don’t have to deal with a sudden tax increase by the government. Something I wrote about in the post about Prillan snus tobacco.

So if you want to be self-sustaining, growing your tobacco is something to consider. It is a lot of work and many things to learn, but the reward is worth it.

A hardy plant

The tobacco plant is very hardy and will grow in almost any soil. But it grows better in well drained soil. The color of the tobacco is affected by the soil where the tobacco is growing. If the soil is lighter, the tobacco will have a lighter color and vice versa.

Prefer dry and warm climate

Something you can’t affect is the weather where you grow your tobacco. Tobacco prefers a warm and dry climate for the best result. I live where it’s not always dry and warm, so I use the hardiest and quick growing tobacco I can find on the market.

Tobacco prefer temperature of 20º-30º C (77º-86º F) without excess water from heavy rainfall. The first season I grew tobacco (in a greenhouse) all my leaves dried green and was unusable for snus. The second season I planted some outside the greenhouse and got a better result. So, this season I try two new types and two from the last successful season. The plan is to plant them outside the greenhouse.

Planting the tobacco seed

You start your growing by sprinkling the small tobacco seeds over the surface of seed starting mix. Make sure that you don’t bury the seed as they need light for germination. The starting mix contains everything the seed needs for healthy growth. All the nutrients and compost the plant need is in the mix.

Tiny snus tobacco seeds

Tiny snus tobacco seeds

Once you have sprinkled the seeds over the soil, you lose track of them. They are so small that you can’t see them once they land on the soil surface. So it’s preferable to keep track of where you have sprinkled the seed too avoid to many plants in one compartment.

I use four trays with room for 24 plants in each one, a total of 96 plants. Depending on how many seeds you sprinkle, you often get a lot more than one in each compartment. But as the plant grow it gets crowded and you have to replant them to a bigger pot or container. The seeds should be grown indoors for 4 to 6 weeks before you take them outside.

The tobacco seeds require a temperature around 25ºC (77º F) to germinate properly. I grow my seeds in the boiler room where the temperature if just perfect for this. After 7-10 days you should see the first seeds starting to germinate.

Tobacco seed trays with light

Tobacco seed trays with light

After a week

After 7-10 days you should see some of the first green leaves of the tobacco plants. Of the four types I planted, Adonis was the quickest to come up. The Shirey tray looks more like a lawn as I sprinkled the seeds generously over the compartments. I have to weed out most of them to give room for one to grow big and strong. Something that can be difficult if you wait too long as the plant entangle as they grow.

Keep the soil damp

You should keep the soil damp, but not soggy, at all times. A spray bottle is perfect for the first weeks when the plant is small and delicate. You should never allow the soil to dry out completely. The tray I use has a water container below and a fibrous cloth that draw up the water from the container. The tray, with holes in the bottom, is standing on the damp cloth and thus keeping the soil moist from the bottom.

Tobacco fertilizer

Tobacco is related to tomatoes and require the same type of fertilizer. So if you don’t find a specialized fertilizer for tobacco, you can use one for growing tomatoes. But don’t start using fertilizer from the beginning, wait a couple of weeks so the plant has a chance to develop.

The tobacco I grow this season

The seeds I use this season you can find all over the internet at different seed companies. I bought mine from a Swedish site, but I have seen the same supply in many international sites.

My requirement

Mature quickly

The requirement I had was that the tobacco should mature in as few days as possible and have a moderate nicotine content. I wanted tobacco that matured as quickly as possible due to the not so warm summer climate where I live. The first season I grew a type that took a long time to mature. It developed flowers in September, the same time frost nights was starting.

Low nicotine content

The second requirement is moderate nicotine content because to high nicotine content makes my heart beating double beats. Something that made me give up snus for 6 months a couple of years back. But as it’s hard to kick the n-vitamin craving I started again. At the beginning with one or two pinches a week, and after some time one per day. And then there was the summer holiday and I soon was back at my regular consumption. But I found out that my heart was okay if I used low or medium nicotine content tobacco in my snus. Double heartbeats can develop by stress, lack of sleep, caffeine or nicotine.

Little Dutch tobacco

Little Dutch is an old heirloom variety that grows to about three feet high and is early maturing. It has long and narrow leaves and after curing has a sweet distinctive aroma resembling Yara tobacco and it also have a distinct odor when growing. It was popular in the Miami Valley of Ohio but is no longer used in commercial production. This tobacco variety was used in the 1800s and was developed and imported from Germany before 1880. It was used in pipe blends as binder and filler for cigars and was once a widely grown tobacco in Miami Valley. It was used in cigar production until the middle of the 20th century.

The plant is relatively small, around 3 feet, compared to other tobacco varieties and therefore a candidate for growing in a flower pot or closer planting in a field or flower bed. The narrow leaves, on average 16, grows up to 30” long and they matures in only 45 days. The cured leaf is milk-chocolate brown with average nicotine content.

Adonis Tobacco

This is a dark air-cured new breed of tobacco with a low nicotine content with a spicy flavor. As Little Dutch this tobacco is developed in Germany and can stand a cooler climate and is an early season grower and grows to 5 feet. The dark green leaves are heavy and closely spaced. It has a low and dense growth making it resistant to bad weather and mature plants have some frost resistance.

Shirey tobacco

This is a high-quality dark Virginia tobacco I grew in 2016 and it produced seeds to last me a lifetime. So this time I cut back on the flowers and just keep one or two. The leaves were large, sticky and very thick compared to the other types I tried, Burley and Brown Leaf. Snus made from this tobacco had a fruity, floral fresh taste that I liked very much.

Shirey is a dark Virginia with a more full flavor than regular Virginia Gold. The cured leaves get a medium brown color. It is a plant that is hardy and can cope with some late season frost nights up to zone 8. It matures in 65 days and can grow 5.5 to 6 feet in height.

Burley Ktd4 tobacco

This is a Burley, USA certified Ktd4, that I also grew in 2016 and saved some seeds for later use. It did not produce as many seeds as the Shirey but more than enough for this season. It is easy to grow this tobacco, “plant and forget”. It is said to grow as weed with a minimum of care. It is popular among commercial growers in the north of the USA and is adapted to the northern climate.

My 4 tobacco seed trays after 10 days

My 4 tobacco seed trays after 10 days

Replanting

After 3 weeks you have to replant the tobacco into a larger pot. So you are welcome back when it’s time for that.

Useful equipment

Leave a comment

Do you grow your tobacco? What is your favorite snus tobacco? Leave a comment and let me know.

Take it easy and snus on

Anders

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