Growing tobacco in a greenhouse in Scandinavia
In the process of gathering information on growing tobacco I realized that it would be difficult to do without a greenhouse. Another grower, in the south of Scandinavia, got a much better growth for the plants in the greenhouse than for those who was plated outside in the field. As I’m living in the middle of Scandinavia (as far north as middle of Canada) I think a greenhouse is a must. At least if you are trying to grow pepper. Maybe the tobacco could have grown outside, but not as good as it has in my greenhouse. From the tiny seed they have now grown to over a meter in height and still growing each day.
The greenhouse I bought is a simple tubular frame covered with a plastic tarp. A simple but still effective solution compared to more complex and elaborate solutions. While waiting for the greenhouse the plants where growing all over my window sill. I probably waited a bit to long to replant them as the roots could not develop in the small pots. They also got entangled and was hard to separate when I removed them. The tobacco leaves are full of small hairs that act like Velcro and they stick together. As they also are very brittle it’s very easy to tear the leaves when moving them. But if you don’t try you don’t learn new things. Now I know the next time I grow tobacco.
Pallets and rims
To keep the soil tempered and warm I am using seven pallets with pallet rims, six for the tobacco and one for the pepper and some pots and pans for the rest of the plants. For each pallet I am using 120 liter of soil, that fills it almost to 3/4 of the height of the rim. As each sack is 40 liter, I used 21 sacks for the pallets and then some for the pots and pans.
To keep the water in the soil and the soil from falling through the pallets I place sheet of plastic in the bottom of the pallet and on the sides of the rims.
I planted 15 tobacco plants in each pallet, but as they have grown I see that this is too much. They are growing okay, but it is as a green wall you can’t see through. The snails can make a mess without you see what’s going on. Other growers recommend half of a meter between each plant.
Tobacco need fertilizer to grow properly. For my plants I’m using chicken manure as it was the only manure I could find. As this is the first time I’m growing anything, the plants are doing okay with this fertilizer.
I gave the first dose when they have stabilized in pallets and after that once each month. But now they have grown so thick it is hard to reach the soil. But it’s not a good idea to spread the manure pellets from the top and think that they follow the water down. The manure and the water seem to take different ways through the foliage. So I probably have to rinse each leaf in water after the harvest to get rid of stuck manure.
I have had some problem with snails eating on my tobacco leaves. They are hard to see as they are mostly night active and the plants are to close. So if I grow tobacco again I will put copper tape or copper sheets as a snail barrier. Apparently the snails don’t pass over copper as it produces a small current which they don’t like.
I hope I get flowers on my tobacco plants so I can gather some seeds for next year. Then I have to harvest and air dry the leaves so that they can be stored. According to Swedish Match they store the tobacco for at least two years before they use it in Swedish snus production. But I’m probably to curious to wait before making my own homemade Swedish snus.
Ideas for next year
As for the pepper I have learned that they need nine month to produce fruits. As I’m writing this 11 of August the first flowers beginning to develop, so I’m don’t know if I get any peppers this year. But next year I will plant the seeds in the middle of January instead of middle of February as I did this year. I think the same apply for the tobacco as no flowers have developed on them yet. But they grow as weed and that is a good thing.
Some kind of wood stove or other heat source would be a good thing to have in the green house. Then you can move the plants into the greenhouse earlier in the spring as well as keep them warm longer when autumn comes.
I probably try to hibernate some of the peppers inside over the winter. I have read that those who do get pepper fruits in late spring or early summer.
Do you grow your own tobacco at home? If you have any suggestions, tips or questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know.