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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Air Curing setup I am thinking about trying--first timer.

Joined
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#1
So, the mudlugs are starting to fall off, so I think I am close to harvest time.

The area under my house is somewhere between a crawl space and an unfinished basement. There is a vapor barrier, I can stand up (only 5'5", but still room for me to do so). I keep my tools down there and I have not noticed a rusting problem. We keep cloth suitcases under there and have not really noticed a mold problem (maybe a light film on an old gun case I have had down there for 5 years, but nothing too bad).

I am considering hanging my leaves under here with both a box fan and a dehumidifer (I already have both down there, it would just be running cords). The temperature stays above freezing in the winter, and cool in the summer as the house is right on top of it. I'd guess it stays within 10-15 degrees of whatever the house is.

From my understanding, tobacco will cure at any temperature as long as you watch out for drying on one end of the humidity spectrum, and mold on the other. I am in no rush, and am enjoying this process. I had originally thought of trying to air cure it outside on my back deck, but it will be inconvenient. I read on another forum about curing tobacco in a "cool dark place with a fan to prevent mold" and that made me think of this under the house solution. I can easily make some runners with holes drilled in them to hang the leaves from if I use the wire method.

Am I overthinking this, or missing something?
 

CT Tobaccoman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
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Southern New England
#3
So, the mudlugs are starting to fall off, so I think I am close to harvest time.

The area under my house is somewhere between a crawl space and an unfinished basement. There is a vapor barrier, I can stand up (only 5'5", but still room for me to do so). I keep my tools down there and I have not noticed a rusting problem. We keep cloth suitcases under there and have not really noticed a mold problem (maybe a light film on an old gun case I have had down there for 5 years, but nothing too bad).

I am considering hanging my leaves under here with both a box fan and a dehumidifer (I already have both down there, it would just be running cords). The temperature stays above freezing in the winter, and cool in the summer as the house is right on top of it. I'd guess it stays within 10-15 degrees of whatever the house is.

From my understanding, tobacco will cure at any temperature as long as you watch out for drying on one end of the humidity spectrum, and mold on the other. I am in no rush, and am enjoying this process. I had originally thought of trying to air cure it outside on my back deck, but it will be inconvenient. I read on another forum about curing tobacco in a "cool dark place with a fan to prevent mold" and that made me think of this under the house solution. I can easily make some runners with holes drilled in them to hang the leaves from if I use the wire method.

Am I overthinking this, or missing something?
Try to wait until the leaves are really ripe, starting to get yellow edges while on the plant (depends on what kind of tobacco you are growing.) In curing, it is important that the leaves go to yellow. If they are yellow, they will go to brown. You might not want to dehumidify green tobacco too much. You would run the risk of the leaves drying too fast and drying green. Sometimes it is necessary to bulk the leaves and turn them yellow before drying them. Curing at low temperatures, it is even more important to ensure that the leaves go from green to yellow, any way that you can make that happen
 
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#4
Thanks! I was just coming here after a bit of hiatus to post.
I'm still snipping flowers/topping. Is that normal for the end of September? I have one leaf at the base of one plant that I think is ready, but it's just above mudlug height and has holes in it.

I know the flavor may not be as bold, but I may have to try whole plant curing with garbage bag curtains to help with humidity. I have some very thin polystyrene cut out to make a box, but haven't gotten to it yet. It should be 3' x2' x 2' and hopefully able to cure the leaves if I hang them in there with a water source.
 
Joined
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Nashville, TN
#6
Unless Nashville is less humid than I recall, you shouldn't need a water source for color-curing.

Bob
It has been pretty dry, but in my garage, I have trouble breaking 65%.

I may be able to make my styrofoam box and put it outside and see if it's humid enough. If I go the whole plant route, I could hang from a trellis out back, but it might get rained on.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
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near Blacksburg, VA
#7
You can try to imitate tobacco barns by opening the garage (at least a bit) at night, and closing it during the day. If it's got AC, then all bets are off.

Bob
 
Joined
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#8
You can try to imitate tobacco barns by opening the garage (at least a bit) at night, and closing it during the day. If it's got AC, then all bets are off.

Bob
The wife doesn't like it open all night because...bad guys. And the garage isn't AC'ed, but the rooms to the side and above it are. So, not the ideal place.
I'm thinking of a friend who may have a shed.
 
Joined
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Location
Southern New England
#9
Thanks! I was just coming here after a bit of hiatus to post.
I'm still snipping flowers/topping. Is that normal for the end of September? I have one leaf at the base of one plant that I think is ready, but it's just above mudlug height and has holes in it.

I know the flavor may not be as bold, but I may have to try whole plant curing with garbage bag curtains to help with humidity. I have some very thin polystyrene cut out to make a box, but haven't gotten to it yet. It should be 3' x2' x 2' and hopefully able to cure the leaves if I hang them in there with a water source.
"Normal" for topping would be around late July, but as long as you won't get a frost anytime soon you are fine. After topping the leaves grow large and the August sun helps them grow, but it is not too late where you are
 
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