Posted on http://nworbleahcim.blogspot.com/
I'm not a smoker - but that's not going to stop me from learning how to grow, cultivate, and enjoy some good nicotiana tabaccum. Last spring, bought a pack of Scherazi Tobacco seeds - an Iranian variety - and was able to get 1 plant to maturity.
I started 10 seeds in Feburary, at least I think I did - the seeds are so damn small I wasn't sure if they made it into the starters or if they floated away. They stayed under indoor grow lights for about 2 months, until 4 plants were about 4 inches tall.
At this point I moved them outside - for a few hours only at first, working up to full days. Three plants didn't survive this process - sunburn.
The one plant that did make it grew about 3-4 feet tall and eventually produced beautiful pink flowers.
After the flowers bloomed, the leaves towards the bottom started turning yellow. Once I saw some yellow on the leaves, I'd snap them from the stalk and thread them on string to hang.
I read about several methods to dry and cure tobacco. I decided on the simplest method - sun drying. The first batch came out great - nice golden leaves. The second batch, however, hanging under my covered patio, went to mold over night during a rain storm. I was amazed how quick this happened. [BTW I'm not smoking the moldy tobacco.]
The next batch I moved indoors to avoid the mold, but this time the tobacco dried a bit fast and left some green specks on the leaves - chlorophyll. From what I've read, these are still fine to smoke. My wife is unsure about our new curtains.
The final step - and the hardest to decipher the 'best' method, is curing. The suggested dates range from 3 months to 3 years. I'll see how long I can hold out, but the first batch will have been curing for 4 months at Thanksgiving, and I sure would like to celebrate my Native American ancestors with a good toke from a peace pipe.
SIDENOTE: this single plant produced a ton
of seeds. After each flower comes a pod. After these pods dry, I've picked them. I have about 25 pods now, and each pod has a 100+? seeds in it. So let me know if you want to seed swap.