Whole Leaf Tobacco
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  1. #221
    Senior Member
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    Kirkland, WA
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    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    I discovered a minor disaster in the kiln yesterday... I suppose its part of the learning process, but it still stings...
    A large hand of Corojo 99 that was pressed up against the kiln wall had begun to mold! A similar problem affected the tips of my Florida Sumatra where they contacted the floor of the kiln. I trimmed off all the rotting, moldy leaf and reloaded the kiln with a smaller load.
    I hypothesize that I over-stuffed my kiln to the point where the circulation fan was not effective in distributing heat and moisture evenly. I also wonder whether I should try increasing the peak kiln temperature, which is currently set to 123F at the highest point in the kiln. I'm guessing there is a large temperature gradient inside the kiln, so the bottom never reaches full temperature. Thoughts?


    Quote Originally Posted by deluxestogie View Post
    My crystal ball says that magic will happen starting in week three.

    Bob

  2. #222
    Senior Member Alpine's Avatar
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    Aug 2015
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    Eastern alps, near Trento, Italy
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    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    I prefer my kiln set at 52 to 55 C (125-131 F) and load it so the leaves never touch the sides or the bottom. 75% RH is good for me. With big leaves, loads are small and less efficient in terms of quantity, but I've never seen mold. Cold wet spots are our enemy!

    pier

  3. #223
    Administrator deluxestogie's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    near Blacksburg, VA
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    10,012


    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    Perfect insulation would resolve the problem, but my kiln, with 2" of XPS foam board still allows leaf compressed against the sides to be cooler than the rest of the leaf. It's the heat pump problem again. Moisture is driven to the cooler leaf against the side. And no fan is forceful enough to equalize the temperature behind a mass of leaf pressed against the side.

    You have discovered the remedy. I am less aggressive at filling every bit of space in the kiln, and avoid having the hanging leaf pushed against the sides. A few leaf tips touching the side doesn't seem to be a problem. I currently run my kiln at 124 to 128ºF. I ignore the humidity, and refill the Crockpot whenever it runs low on water (about every 4 to 5 days).

    I will also generalize and say that the lower the kiln temp, the greater the need to monitor humidity. Fermenting a number of varieties of thin, light-colored shade leaf is often performed in the range of 100ºF, in order to retain the lightest color. At these temps, leaf will surely mold above about 65% RH. Above about 120ºF, mold simply cannot grow vegetatively. (Killing mold spores requires very high temps.)

    Bob

  4. #224
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2016
    Location
    Kirkland, WA
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    299


    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    Sounds like I may do well to up the temperature a bit and throw a blanket over the kiln... perhaps that would reduce the amount of condensation that forms...

    Quote Originally Posted by deluxestogie View Post
    Perfect insulation would resolve the problem, but my kiln, with 2" of XPS foam board still allows leaf compressed against the sides to be cooler than the rest of the leaf. It's the heat pump problem again. Moisture is driven to the cooler leaf against the side. And no fan is forceful enough to equalize the temperature behind a mass of leaf pressed against the side.

    You have discovered the remedy. I am less aggressive at filling every bit of space in the kiln, and avoid having the hanging leaf pushed against the sides. A few leaf tips touching the side doesn't seem to be a problem. I currently run my kiln at 124 to 128ºF. I ignore the humidity, and refill the Crockpot whenever it runs low on water (about every 4 to 5 days).

    I will also generalize and say that the lower the kiln temp, the greater the need to monitor humidity. Fermenting a number of varieties of thin, light-colored shade leaf is often performed in the range of 100ºF, in order to retain the lightest color. At these temps, leaf will surely mold above about 65% RH. Above about 120ºF, mold simply cannot grow vegetatively. (Killing mold spores requires very high temps.)

    Bob

  5. #225
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2016
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    Kirkland, WA
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    299


    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    Would it work to stack leaves on wire racking in the kiln? I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to increase the leaf count without the mold problems...
    I'm imagining a large pile of leaves suspended in the middle of the kiln with room on all sides for air to circulate... thoughts?

  6. #226
    Moderator Jitterbugdude's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    Northeast Maryland
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    3,920


    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    You could get yourself a big plastic tub, fill it with tobacco in the proper case, put the lid on and place it in your kiln. If you have a small amount of tobacco you could put it in mason jars and do the same thing. Using a container in a kiln, the only thing you would have to worry about is the temp ( assuming your leaf is in proper case).

  7. #227
    Senior Member OldDinosaurWesH's Avatar
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    Jul 2017
    Location
    Dayton Wa.
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    271


    Re: Are these ready for the garden?

    I have the opposite problem. My proofer / kiln has so much circulation that the tobacco dries out rapidly if I don't keep adding water. I found out last year that it is easy to "toast" tobacco. I have since learned how to deal with that. When I was in high school, a hundred years ago, the FFA motto was "Learn by doing". I guess you are learning.

    Wes H.

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