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Whole Leaf Tobacco

I think it's close to harvest time, and I don't know what I'm doing.

Balgaire

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#1
I think it's close to harvest time, and I don't know what I'm doing. Pictures and questions (And can you guys tell variety from my mixed bag?)

As the title states. I am worried about picking too early or too late. I am only going to be able to hang these in my garage or crawl space this year. I won't have time to build anything due to some family circumstances going on and I'm just going to have to hope for the best. I live in TN and we have gotten a lot of rain this summer. I am hoping that my crawl space under the house (which remains cool but humid) may suffice. Pictures don't seem to be working this morning, so I am just linking to imgur where I have them privately uploaded. If that is against the rules, I apologize.

So, some of my base leaves are yellowing, but also rotting. From what I have read, I think these are the 'mudders' that get dirty from watering, etc. Here is a picture of what I am talking about.

W5v17kX_d.jpg

This is the most drastic yellowing I have seen. Some of my darker leaf plants seem to be getting lighter around the edges, but I don't think they are ready to harvest yet. I am pinching flowers off just about every day. I have worked really hard babying these plants this summer and I just want to get the next step (harvesting and curing) done correctly. I know that is also the hardest step.

I planted my seeds from a mixed back from sustainable seed. I did not plant all of them and gave the rest of them to a budy, so I don't have the list of potential variants in front of me, but I am working on getting them. This is all going to pipe tobacco. Does anyone have a ballpark idea of the types of tobacco I am growing from these pictures? I really appreciate any help. I tend to overthink and over plan, so when I get into not knowing what I am going to be doing, I get a bit overwhelmed.

h1pRnKz_d.jpg ZONElkd_d.jpg oUK7D71_d.jpg
 
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Alpine

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#2
First leaves from the bottom of the plant (mudlugs) are seldom harvested, but if you pick them you can smoke them. Usually very mild in taste. I have no idea of the climate in Nashville, but it is better to harvest late (more ripe leaf) than early. A ripe or overripe leaf will cure without problem, not so for leaves picked too early.
I wouldn’t use your crawl space (cool & humid) since low temps and humid air are good conditions for mold to grow. Hang your leaves under a simple shed (a carport maybe?) and let them yellow. After yellowing, curing is just a matter of time: a kiln is useful to speed up things, but you can simply let your baccy age a couple of years.
Telling one strain from another is often impossible, a few times possible but very difficult. Maybe someone more experienced than me can try to guess and help you.
My advice is to buy seeds for your next year crop choosing 3 or 4 strains from a well known and serious seller like Skychaser (IIRC he supplies seeds to sustainable seed ci) and keep note of what and where you plant.

pier
 
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#3
Hey. I edited the post so the photos show up. I worked 70hrs this week, so all I can do is give an opinion, which is that you still have lots of time, and you can relax. I'm sure other growers will elaborate. Good looking plants though.
 

Balgaire

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Edit: First of all, I am sorry for the double post. I goofed.

Second, I just finished reading about some whole stalk curing and wondering if that might be the way to go. Take the whole plant and hang it upside down underneath the rafter of my back porch out of the rain for a few weeks. Thoughts?
I do want to get a bit more high tech. I don't want to go into TMI, but we are having a bit of a family crisis an resources for hobbies is non-existent for the most part. At the same time, If I can get a crop, I'd like to.
 
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#5
This, seriously, is a long shot, but they all look like Orientals to me. The first and third look like Bursa, and the middle looks like Canik.

Simplest way to deal with this is, wait until leaves are clearly yellowing. Pick only those leaves that are yellowing. Wrap them in paper or put them in a cardboard box until they are almost totally yellow. Every day, go through the leaves, change the order of them, make sure they're ok, (this will take, literally, a minute). When any leaf is mostly yellow, take it out, and lay it outside (don't stack) in a warm place where it will get lots of sun and not blow away.

After it is dry, it's sun cured. You may have to rehydrate, you may not. Worry about it when the time comes.
 

Alpine

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#6
IMO the back porch idea is far better than the crawling space. As ChinaV said, there’s still time to harvest. If you need seeds for next season, just ask. Sorry for the family crisis.

Pier
 

Balgaire

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My advice is to buy seeds for your next year crop choosing 3 or 4 strains from a well known and serious seller like Skychaser (IIRC he supplies seeds to sustainable seed ci) and keep note of what and where you plant.

pier
Sure. This year I bought a mixed bag because I had never done this before, I didn't know my soil conditions, etc. and I figured a shotgun approach might be best to see if it was even possible. I am working on getting the list of potential seeds from my friend whom I gave the rest of the seeds to.

IMO the back porch idea is far better than the crawling space. As ChinaV said, there’s still time to harvest. If you need seeds for next season, just ask. Sorry for the family crisis.

Pier
I just looked at my overhang, and I don't think it's enough. I do have a substantial back deck, though, and I may be able to rig up a tarp or something out there. Just for clarification, were you referring to whole plant curing or stripping leaves? And thanks about the family crisis. Tough but necessary.


Thanks all for the replies. This is encouraging and helpful.
 

Alpine

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Stalk harvesting is an easier approach, but the quality of the cured leaf is a pinch lower. If I were you I would wait a couple of weeks, then stalk harvest everything and hang in the back porch. In my first year growing, I lost a substantial part of my crop just experimenting with various curing methods and arrangements: single leaf tied in hands (mold) pile cure (mold/rotten) full sun (dried green)... but what I learned is still of great value.

Pier
 

Charly

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#9
Hello and welcome.
I agree with my friends : your plants are not mature enough yet, you should wait more ;)
 

Balgaire

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Stalk harvesting is an easier approach, but the quality of the cured leaf is a pinch lower. If I were you I would wait a couple of weeks, then stalk harvest everything and hang in the back porch. In my first year growing, I lost a substantial part of my crop just experimenting with various curing methods and arrangements: single leaf tied in hands (mold) pile cure (mold/rotten) full sun (dried green)... but what I learned is still of great value.

Pier
I understand.
I have a back deck with a railing all the way around. No roof. I think if I stalk harvest, I could rig up a tarp on top of the railing and hang the leaves with wire and angle iron the way I have seen it done on here. It will be hanging low to the ground, but shouldn't be touching it and would still get air circulation from the railing around the deck.

Thank you all. I will continue watching it grow. How will I know when the leaves are ready to harvest?
 
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#11
I wouldn't stalk cure without knowing what the relative humidity is. Either way, you're a long ways off from that. Your best course of action right now is: pick the flowers, pick the suckers, drink your beverage of choice, have a smoke, repeat.
 

Balgaire

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I wouldn't stalk cure without knowing what the relative humidity is. Either way, you're a long ways off from that. Your best course of action right now is: pick the flowers, pick the suckers, drink your beverage of choice, have a smoke, repeat.
Haha. Sounds like a plan. When I said stalk harvest, I mean pulling the leaves off the stalk, which is how I read what Alpine said originally, but I may have misread it. I think I 'm going to get some angle iron and some wire and see what I can rig up on my back deck. If I go that route, I will have to do individual leaves because I don't have the height needed to cure the whole stalk.

I am glad to know I have some time.
 

CobGuy

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#13
Looking good! :)

When we say stalk harvest it generally refers to hanging the whole plant.
Picking only the ripe leaves from the stalk as they mature is called Priming.
As Alpine said, this method can provide slightly better results for flavor.

Best wishes for your family and keep us posted,

Darin
 
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