Harvest tobacco in a greenhouse
The growing season 2015
Do you have a greenhouse? Why not try to harvest tobacco in a greenhouse? But I probably started the season 2015 to late and waited a bit to long before moving the plants to the greenhouse. This because my ignorance and that I was waiting for the greenhouse to arrive. Having the plants on my window sill in to small pots was a restriction to the root growth. When I finally moved them to the greenhouse the plants took a few weeks before they really started to grow.
After a cold and rainy spring, with the warmth of the summer and the protected environment in the greenhouse the tobacco really took off growing like crazy. At the end of the season most plants was over two meter in height (6.5 foot). Many of them had also developed flowers, but they did not develop any seeds. I think they needed more time for that and the cold nights was back in October.
Another thing I did not do was pruning the tobacco. The ideal, I have learned, is to keep the plants at 10 to 12 leaf pairs. I you do this the energy of the plant is directed to the remaining leafs instead of constantly growing new ones. You can keep a few plants from pruning if you want them to flower and eventually produce seeds.
Almost from the start the plants was attacked by snails. Because I had planted 15 plants in each pallet the growth got so thick that I could not see the snails. This season, 2016, I only have six plants in each pallet, but I can see that this also is a bit much.
For the next season I have bought a snail trap, a little container where the snail drowns in beer. But the snails can only eat so much, there’s plenty for you to make snus from. But I can do without them in the future.
The thing that ruined my plans for making snus from my own tobacco was green leafs. Almost no leafs turned yellow on the stalk, not even the early leafs. From what I have read the leafs should turn yellow on the stem when they are matured. But that did not happen on my plants.
I had to start the harvest in mid August because the plants had grown so thick that it was hard to enter the greenhouse. I tried to dry those leafs outside, but they quickly dried in a green state.
I then tried to stack more leafs together to prevent them from drying to quickly. I also moved them into the barn, but all I got was rotting leafs, moldy leafs or dried green leafs.
In October I still had no solution to the problem of dry green leafs. But the cold nights was back and I decided to harvest all the remaining leafs.
Drying the leafs
Drying the leafs outside did not work. Drying the leafs in the barn did not work and drying the leafs in the garage did not work. I had read that if you stacked the leafs under a towel for a few days helped the leafs turn yellow. But after keeping the leafs stacked for weeks all I got was rotten, moldy or dry green leafs.
Mold and rot
This was a dilemma. If the leafs dried to fast they dried green. If I tried to restrict that drying I got rotten or moldy leafs.
I also tried to separate the leafs for better ventilation and pour water on the floor to get correct air humidity. But they either dried green or got rot or mold.
In December I gave up realizing that I would not get any usable leafs from the harvest. Maybe I started to late, moved them to the greenhouse to late or that I used an unspecified Virginia tobacco. The next season I will be growing three different tobacco varieties and hope for better luck then.
Although I only got green leafs I had to try my new stone grinder on the green leafs. It’s only a small model and the grinding is rather slow, but the result was satisfying. But the snus I made from the green leafs was disgusting. I would imagine that you got the same taste quality if you tried to make snus from hay. But the compost has to live as well.
Here you can read about the start of the growing season.
What’s you experience of growing tobacco? I would appreciate any tips
and tricks you may have to help me in the future. So please, leave a comment and let me know.