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Whole Leaf Tobacco

Harvest before flowering?

Smokin Buffalo

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#1
Hey guys,
My Cuban Criollo has not flowered yet. It looks to me though that the bottom leaves are yellowing. Should they be harvested even though they haven't been topped yet?

image.jpg
 

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#2
There are a number of tobaccos that regularly ripen before they mature. I have experienced this with Ternopolski, Ostrolist and Symbol 4, all flue cured varieties though. My CC98 was probably the last to ripen, actually. I have only grown it once, but it makes me wonder why yours are lightening already.
 

squeezyjohn

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#3
This has happened to me on several occasions and each time it has been due to a bad summer with low light levels. A good warm summer gives the plants enough energy to flower and then the typical thickening of the dark green leaf happens after topping followed by some yellowing - and the leaves cure great. In bad summers the leaves start to get lime green before flowering - and then begin to cure on the plant (but paper thin leaf) - it's been a bad summer here in the UK and I've had a lot of that!
 

deluxestogie

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#4
One way to look at it is that, once the leaves begin to yellow, they are not likely to grow larger or thicken. May as well prime them before they are damaged by just being out there.

Bob

EDIT: Those very bottom leaves are seldom of very high quality anyway.
 
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#5
EDIT: Those very bottom leaves are seldom of very high quality anyway.
I was wondering about picking the would be mud lugs a couple weeks after planting when they are still small and if it would improve the overall size of the other leaves. Also, i wonder if it would leave the plant less susceptible to diseases. What do you think?
 

ProfessorPangloss

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#7
That plant looks kind of leggy - lots of stem between leaves - like they get when they're not getting enough sun. Is that guy on the corner or end or close to a tree, or somehow more shaded than the rest?

as to the discussion of ripening - interesting stuff, all
 

deluxestogie

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#8
My experience with bottom leaves.

For my first few years of growing tobacco, I carefully primed bottom leaves at just the right moment, and handled them with care--all the way to finished leaf. The result of that effort was a moderately large quantity of thin, flavorless leaf. That's good for "volado", to improve the burn of a cigar. But it's a lot of work for crappy leaf. And that's the leaf that tends to be (read "always is") dirty, even if you clean it along the way.

One benefit of leaving that leaf on the stalk as it deteriorates into nothingness is that it shades the soil, and minimizes weed growth and soil moisture evaporation. This season, for example, when time comes for the first priming (starting with the second, third or fourth true leaf), I pluck off the trashy bottom leaves, but leave them lying on the soil as mulch.

When stalk harvesting, I place the lopper blades just below the first leaf that I actually want to keep.

As I rifle through my bags of stored, finished leaf, there are bags of "trash" that seem to sit there forever. I'm not inclined to use them for anything. They represent labor and curing space and kiln space and vapor-proof bags that were wasted.

My conclusion is that if you have a tiny crop, and don't mind smoking truly low-grade leaf, then the bottom leaf may be worth the effort, but only if it's not really shabby stuff. Otherwise, just believe the "flyers and trash" designation for the very bottom leaves.

Bob
 

SmokesAhoy

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#9
I have a pretty tiny crop as compared to most peoples grows and even I get rid of the flyers early, I think it gives me better mid to high leaf.

I saved some of my cigar lug this year though. Was curious what it would be like in a pipe, but except that I just leave all the bottom leaf and the suckers on the ground.

It seems the pipe intensifies flavor, which is why cigar leaf is just too over the top, but I thought maybe I could get something good for the pipe that is normally just mulch. Probably not or I'd have heard of people doing that, but I like to experiment.

How cool would it be to get pipe off the bottom, cigar off the middle and snuff off the rest including the clippings.

That's the plant I need to grow, the one that can do that hehe.
 
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