This is a temporary page for me to share my experiences so far in growing and hopefully, curing, and rolling cigars.
I decided to germinate and first grow the seeds indoors, as is done by most tobacco farms.
I attained a 250 Watt Halide (Pretty sure it's Hallide) light. It's a beast, but it shines bright and gets the job done. I also got a timer for the light, so I don't have to bother turning it on and off. I started out with 12 hours a day, but now have it up to 13 hours a day of light. You could easily do 18 hours for full potential, but I had problems blowing circuits in our old house, so I could only have it on for so long.
I also got potting soil, Spray and Grow, and Tomato Plant Food.
The Spray and Grow is a catalyst that increased the output and speed of growth of the tobacco.
Since Tobacco is very close to tomato plants, using tomato fertilizers work well.
I set up in the basement, which you can see in some of the pictures.
Continue watering them at LEAST once a day. Make sure your dirt has proper drainage, because although tobacco needs a lot of water, they will die if they get flooded with water.
Here's a picture of the small seedlings.
Here's some more photos of the plants around this stage.
I put my hand in two for a reference point. I'll try to get one last picture before I transplant them outside. (Yes I know it's late in the season, but I'm experimenting with all of this.)
-Update- I didn't get one last picture in before transplanting them, but I do have pictures of them after being transplated outside. I had a lot of troubles when I moved to outdoors and it took me weeks to get it all down, but I have learned from my experiences.
First off, when you transplant to outside, what you want to do is cover the plants with a white sheet so that they have lots of shade, but still get sun. You do this because the plant's roots haven't taken in yet, and they will suck up very little water, meaning direct sunlight will cause them to wither. I found this out the hard way. Also, don't give them any plant food while they are in this stage, you must wait for their roots to take. You will want to water them once a day, and give them plenty of water, but once again, make sure there is good drainage. Having the "ditches" inbetween rows helps.
Here's a picture of them after the roots took and they grew an extra foot or so.
If you look closely you'll notice discoloration and torn up leaves towards the bottom of the plants. This has to do with some more learning the hard-way stuff. I learned the hard way that you shouldn't water the plants during the day. The water droplets will accumulate on the leaves and act like a magnifying glass and burn the leaves. Here's a picture of that in action
Another important thing is bug control. You will want to spray them once a week with some kind of NATURAL insect repellent. I used something called Bug Bang, which is basically a mix of water and soap. It seemed to work very well once I got in the habit of using it. This is something else I learned the hard way...here's some pictures to proof it.
Once I got my watering down, my spraying down, everything went great and the plants grew large robust leaves. They also began to bud. Now what I did was top, or remove the buds, from all of the plants except for one, because I wanted this one to produce some seeds.
Here's a picture of the buds.
I simply ripped these off with my hand for the plants I topped, and occassionally had to go back and do it again when they grew back, but after a while they stopped growing. Soon enough the plant that I didn't top, flowered.
And eventually when the flowers started dying off, seed pods appeared. Tobacco is capable of self-polination, that is a single plant can polinate itself. If you put your plants outside, natural will take its course and polinate for you. If you keep your plants inside completely, you can also polinate yourself with something as simple as a pipe cleaner or Q-Tip.
Here's a picture of the seed pods. It's a little blurry, but you get the idea.
Finally, after a while I decided to harvest the plants because I knew the frost would be coming soon and I was unable to keep them indoors. For harvesting, all I did was break the leaves off of the stalks and left the main stems there. Here's a picture of the plants after being harvested.
As you can see, the large leaves have been removed.
Next came time to dry the leaves. You can do this by hanging them up some where, or piling them. I chose to pile simply because I didn't have any where to hang them. However, when you pile them to dry, you need to take them apart and shuffle them around to make sure they are drying evenly. You may also want to get a dry towel/rag and press it against each leaf when you do this, especially when you see sap coming out of the leaf. When they release sap, it can be damaging to other leafs if it's pressed against them for long periods of time so make sure you wipe any off. The leaves will be dry when the leaves turn brown and the main steam is dried out. Then its time for curing.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com