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Whole Leaf Tobacco

first time growing tobacco

millertime

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Jan 8, 2018
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south arkansas
#1
hey yall, ive never grown tobacco before. im in south arkansas. i just ordered my first ever seeds. when should i plan to start them and how long does it take from seed starting till harvest? i think ive got a very basic understanding of the starting process, but ive read several different methods with several different starting mediums. any suggestions on the starting process are welcome as theres quite a bit of contradicting information out there. thanks all and yall keep it smokey!
 

LeftyRighty

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#2
Start seedlings about 6 weeks before your average 'last-frost' date. Don't transplant outside until weather patterns indicate no more frost.
Harvest will be about 2 to 2 1/2 months after transplant, depending on which tobacco strain.
Everyone has slightly different seed-starting procedures, stick to the basics and do what works for you.
 

Smokin Harley

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#3
Welcome to FTT - growing tobacco is fairly easy once you get it started . its fast growing and can be labor intensive . Start seeds somewhere warm, If you have a basement or spare room I would suggest getting one of those greenhouse flats you'd find in lowes , menards or home depot garden depts. Get the one with the heat mat , whole kit is like $20 and a bag of (Jiffy)starter soil mix, not the kind made from shredded coconut husk ,Ive used the coconut husk kind and the seeds/seedlings tend to rot in it. While you're there get a small bottle of Superthrive . I'll get to that more in a minute. You'll also need a 2 or 4 ft ,fluorescent light and some way to suspend it over the flat.
Ok get your potting area set out , the flat with the 72 (divided into 8- "9 packs")pack cells on top of the heat mat base make sure the flat they sit in has no holes as you'll be bottom watering . Take the starting soil and open it ,run your hands through it breaking up any clumps and remove sticks . Once you get it fluffed up , pour it out on top of the flat packs and gently spread it out ,filling all the cells to the top or run a screed over it such as a paint stir stick. Do NOT press the soil down it, you need it as light and fluffy as possible. Take the entire flat now that it is full of soil. Hold it about 3 inches over the table and drop it , this will settle the soil and be perfect .
Get some warm water ,non-chlorinated and non-softened . Right now , put no fertilizer in it. Take one of the 9 packs out of the flat and pour the water into the bottom flat slowly. the soil will wick it up . Once the soil is moist ,let it drain a few minutes. Sow your seeds on top of the moist soil ,do not cover with soil. I usually sow 6-10 seeds in a 9 pack cell rather than a row just because the packs are pretty much separated ,just held together by the corners. I found that 9 plants of each variety will yield a hand at harvest/priming times. Let the now seeded packs bottom soak and drain once more in plain water ,the soil will settle and the seeds are at perfect depth. Keep the flat over the heat mat ,under the fluorescent light as close to the soil surface as possible(almost touching)and plugged in 24/7 and with the clear plastic cover on maintaining about 80*F until you see green sprouts (3-7 days),the roots will look like tiny white hair and they are fragile. NOW, take the Superthrive and mix up the spoonfeeding rate at half strength. and again ,bottom water until the soil wicks to the soil surface and let drain. Keep it covered on heat mat and under lights .Try not to keep the soil soaked or root rot can happen. But do water it only when the soil surface looks dry.Start a weak solution of 10-10-10 or similar Miraclegrow in your waterings When my seedlings get to 2 sets of leaves , about a week or so I take a pair of tweezers and thin them out to 3 or 4 seedlings per pack cell. Pull any that are yellow . Do not disturb the strongest ones. Give this another week under light and on heat and those seedlings will have doubled in size . At about the 3 week mark , you can see if you need to thin out any more plants. Eventually you'll get them down to one plant per cell. I have had them kind of stall and had to replant these seedlings to fresh starter mix using a pencil and tweezers , they take off by the next day. I don't know why .This whole time, your lights should be raised to just above the plants. I'm talking like almost touching. By week 4 your plants should be almost the size of a quarter and almost touching each other. By week 5 definitely ,almost doubled again in size . Once they start touching and crowding each other , take a sharp clean pair of scissors and cut the largest leaf of each plant in half . This will stimulate root growth, by the next day they'll have grown stronger. As early as week 6 or 7 if you have a covered plot or insulated cold frame you could plant these out but by week 8 definitely as long as your frost dates have passed . Plant them in the afternoon so the mid day sun doesnt burn the little guys. Keep the nitrogen levels in your fertilizer low . Tobacco fertilizer is 6-18-18 if you can find it . Thats about it , good luck and post pictures .
 

millertime

New Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2018
Messages
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Location
south arkansas
#5
Welcome to FTT - growing tobacco is fairly easy once you get it started . its fast growing and can be labor intensive . Start seeds somewhere warm, If you have a basement or spare room I would suggest getting one of those greenhouse flats you'd find in lowes , menards or home depot garden depts. Get the one with the heat mat , whole kit is like $20 and a bag of (Jiffy)starter soil mix, not the kind made from shredded coconut husk ,Ive used the coconut husk kind and the seeds/seedlings tend to rot in it. While you're there get a small bottle of Superthrive . I'll get to that more in a minute. You'll also need a 2 or 4 ft ,fluorescent light and some way to suspend it over the flat.
Ok get your potting area set out , the flat with the 72 (divided into 8- "9 packs")pack cells on top of the heat mat base make sure the flat they sit in has no holes as you'll be bottom watering . Take the starting soil and open it ,run your hands through it breaking up any clumps and remove sticks . Once you get it fluffed up , pour it out on top of the flat packs and gently spread it out ,filling all the cells to the top or run a screed over it such as a paint stir stick. Do NOT press the soil down it, you need it as light and fluffy as possible. Take the entire flat now that it is full of soil. Hold it about 3 inches over the table and drop it , this will settle the soil and be perfect .
Get some warm water ,non-chlorinated and non-softened . Right now , put no fertilizer in it. Take one of the 9 packs out of the flat and pour the water into the bottom flat slowly. the soil will wick it up . Once the soil is moist ,let it drain a few minutes. Sow your seeds on top of the moist soil ,do not cover with soil. I usually sow 6-10 seeds in a 9 pack cell rather than a row just because the packs are pretty much separated ,just held together by the corners. I found that 9 plants of each variety will yield a hand at harvest/priming times. Let the now seeded packs bottom soak and drain once more in plain water ,the soil will settle and the seeds are at perfect depth. Keep the flat over the heat mat ,under the fluorescent light as close to the soil surface as possible(almost touching)and plugged in 24/7 and with the clear plastic cover on maintaining about 80*F until you see green sprouts (3-7 days),the roots will look like tiny white hair and they are fragile. NOW, take the Superthrive and mix up the spoonfeeding rate at half strength. and again ,bottom water until the soil wicks to the soil surface and let drain. Keep it covered on heat mat and under lights .Try not to keep the soil soaked or root rot can happen. But do water it only when the soil surface looks dry.Start a weak solution of 10-10-10 or similar Miraclegrow in your waterings When my seedlings get to 2 sets of leaves , about a week or so I take a pair of tweezers and thin them out to 3 or 4 seedlings per pack cell. Pull any that are yellow . Do not disturb the strongest ones. Give this another week under light and on heat and those seedlings will have doubled in size . At about the 3 week mark , you can see if you need to thin out any more plants. Eventually you'll get them down to one plant per cell. I have had them kind of stall and had to replant these seedlings to fresh starter mix using a pencil and tweezers , they take off by the next day. I don't know why .This whole time, your lights should be raised to just above the plants. I'm talking like almost touching. By week 4 your plants should be almost the size of a quarter and almost touching each other. By week 5 definitely ,almost doubled again in size . Once they start touching and crowding each other , take a sharp clean pair of scissors and cut the largest leaf of each plant in half . This will stimulate root growth, by the next day they'll have grown stronger. As early as week 6 or 7 if you have a covered plot or insulated cold frame you could plant these out but by week 8 definitely as long as your frost dates have passed . Plant them in the afternoon so the mid day sun doesnt burn the little guys. Keep the nitrogen levels in your fertilizer low . Tobacco fertilizer is 6-18-18 if you can find it . Thats about it , good luck and post pictures .
thanks harley.ill look for that stuff next time im at home depot. im about 10 or 12 weeks out on last frost probably so ive got time to keep reading. a few things im going to have to hunt up a source for, but i think most of it should be fairly easy to find. thanks for the info.
 

Charly

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Joined
May 1, 2016
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#7
Welcome on FTT :)
Yes, you have time, read as much as you can, Smokin Harley gave you the techniques, it's not really hard ;)
Good luck with your first grow.
 
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