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  1. #1
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    Plant spacing in raised bed?

    I intend to plant most of my crop in a raised bed that measures 4' x 15'
    What spacing / layout should I use to maximize yield?
    I mostly have cigar varieties: Corojo 99, Criollo 98, Vuelta Abajo, Havana 142, and Florida Sumatra. I also have Little Dutch, which I was planning to grow in containers.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    Here is the layout of two of my 5' x 12' beds from my 2012 grow:



    I would suggest a similar, staggered pattern. My layout utilizes 3.75 ft2 per plant. You could really just use the same pattern, and add an additional 4 plants, for a total of 20 full sized plants in the bed.

    Despite all my tidy measurements in the diagram, I just visually divide the length of the beds into 4 equal sections, then approximate the best space sharing for 4 plants in each section. Dividing into 5ths is above my pay grade.

    I have 15 beds that I rotate between tobacco and veggies, with tobacco getting the majority. I'll be growing just under 150 tobacco plants this year.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Senior Member ChinaVoodoo's Avatar
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    I've read numerous studies on spacing, and the consensus in every one is that the more plants you grow, the more tobacco you get. So tighter spacing means more plants and more tobacco per acre, but less per plant, and smaller, thinner leaves per plant. I'm sure there's a point of diminishing returns, either in quantity, or quality, but these studies are trying to be practical. They aren't suggesting you plant burley a foot by a foot. My point is, if you've got x# of plants, and they fit with a reasonable amount of space between them, and your goal is poundage, just make them fit. Reasons for tossing a perfectly good seedling would be if you clearly have too many, wanted to do less work, wanted bigger leaves, or wanted thicker leaves. Not, if you wanted more tobacco.

    I've got more space than I'll need this year, so I'll spread them out. I'll get more tobacco. But if I had a bit more tobacco than space, I'd squeeze them in because I'd get more tobacco.

    You might want to think about orientation. If there is a way to arrange them so sunlight is more even with them
    This blanket is a necessity. It keeps me from cracking up. It may be regarded as a spiritual tourniquet. Without it, I'd be nothing, a ship without a rudder. - Linus

  4. #4
    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    One way to consider spacing is by labor cost. For a commercial grower, labor cost is paid to employees. For a home grower, labor cost is your time and effort.

    Unless you are growing a few specimens, like houseplants, growing tobacco is a lot of work (cost). What is curious about growing tobacco is that the cost of growing is not per pound, but per leaf (roughly). There is a labor cost per plant, during the initial weeks of a grow. But most of the labor cost is in handling each leaf, especially when it comes to priming, stringing, (stripping from stalks), kilning, stemming. That all comes together to make small-leaf tobacco, like Orientals, high in labor cost (i.e. tedious).

    So my arithmetic is to maximize the productivity for my labor investment. Crowded spacing for non-Orientals provides only a minimal advantage in final poundage, but a significant disadvantage in total labor per pound of product.

    Recommendations for plant spacing from all of the agricultural extension services in every tobacco state (that is, "traditional" plant spacing) are based on profit per acre. If you have lots of your time and energy to kill, then it doesn't matter.

    Bob

  5. #5
    Senior Member Smokin Harley's Avatar
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwaller View Post
    I intend to plant most of my crop in a raised bed that measures 4' x 15'
    What spacing / layout should I use to maximize yield?
    I mostly have cigar varieties: Corojo 99, Criollo 98, Vuelta Abajo, Havana 142, and Florida Sumatra. I also have Little Dutch, which I was planning to grow in containers.
    Thanks!
    I've grown every one of the ones you're growing with exception to Corojo 99 . VERY Good list you have, you should end up with an enjoyable and rich filler blend. Little Dutch is a pyramidal or squatty hardy plant with long sword like leaves and will do well in containers but I had mine ground planted on the western most side of my plot because of its wind resistant height/shape. It made the winds when they rose up to go over the rest without damaging anything. Those others you have I planted at 20-24 inch centers . Did just fine.
    Your plot is only 4 x 15 . How many of each plant to you expect to put out? That size you will barely get 2-3 of each plant if you stagger them.
    "We make our own Whiskey and our own smoke too, aint too many things these ol' boys cain't do..." -A Country Boy Can Survive ,Hank Williams Jr.

    Entubado...its how I roll

  6. #6
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    Thanks for the feedback! You're right that my raised bed would only accommodate a few of each variety. I haven't though this completely, but my inclination is to reserve the bed space for 2-3 varieties that are likely to be the best producers. Corojo 99 is a given for me. Which other two are likely to be heavy producers?
    The rest will probably go in random spots around the yard, and in large pots. It will be an experiment in part to see which parts of the yard are the most productive.
    Here are my seedlings this morning... do these look like they could be planted in 2 weeks?
    Thanks!
    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Senior Member ChinaVoodoo's Avatar
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    I think raised bed in WA is a good idea. I realize there's everything from desert to rainforest there, but you will be able to take advantage of good soil drainage in the event of an excessively rainy summer.
    This blanket is a necessity. It keeps me from cracking up. It may be regarded as a spiritual tourniquet. Without it, I'd be nothing, a ship without a rudder. - Linus

  8. #8
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    Re: Plant spacing in raised bed?

    It's getting harder to predict weather patterns these days, but traditionally summers are quite dry starting in early July. We've had the wettest spring on record, but the weather folks are predicting a slightly warmer-than-average May. Early May is looking to be a good time to plant.

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