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Whole Leaf Tobacco

OldDinosar's 2018 Grow blog

OldDinosaurWesH

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#1
Well, it's that time of year again. Seedlings are sprouting, soon it will be time to start turning soil.

Tobacco Seedlings 2018-1.jpg Tobacco Seedlings 2018-2.jpg

Thanks to generous donations from the membership, I have multiple new varieties to try out this year. Since I am downsizing from 240 plants to 160 plants I am also reducing the number of varieties from 14 to 10.

I am going to plant:

Ternopolskii 7 (R)
Swarr-Hibshman (N)
Golden Burley (R)
Gold Leaf 939 (R)
Ostrolist 316 (N)
Piloto Cubano PR (N)
Corojo 99 (N)
Chillard's White Angel Leaf (N)
Delhi 34 (N)
Connecticut Broadleaf (N)

With the (N) being new to me, and the (R) being regrow.

My original tobacco plot of about 400 square feet is going into rotation this year, where I am going to grow Queensland Blue squash, Bozeman watermelons, and two different varieties of poppies for some color. I am trying to work myself into a two year rotation where I will plant about 120 tobacco plants and the other half of my space into something not of the solonacea family. Hence the squashes and melons and flowers.

Also this year I am going to add a smidge of Boron to my soil profile and see what kind of results (if any) that produces. Along with my usual assortment of N, P, K, S, Fe, and Cu nutrients.

Everyone have a good year and produce much leaf!

Wes H.

"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it." Quote from my late relative, and apropos to the subject of tobacco growing.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#5
New Update:

Tobacco Seedlings 2018-4.jpg Tobacco Seedlings 2018-3.jpg Tobacco Seedlings 2018-5.jpg

I've been transplanting seedlings out of my starters into 2 1/4" pots. There are 32 of these small pots to the flat. I have filled three flats so far. I will end up with 5 plus a fraction flats. I have also purchased a new light fixture to replace the old one that died after less than a year. (Cheap imported stuff!)

As you can see, I have a really high tech operation, using old one liter bottles as starter containers. I hope the tobacco seedlings don't mind a little lemon tea residue. My heat mat holds exactly 4 flats. I also have a single tray heat mat. Hey! that adds up to 5 trays! Amazing how that works out.

In photo 3 you can see my Amaryllis farm. 5 whole pots! I started with one. If these darn things don't stop having babies, I'm going to be up to fanny in Amaryllis pots. At least the blooms are nice.

I hope that everyone is having a good season so far. Our spring has been cold and wet and nasty. Nothing like Bob has been getting in Virginia, but cold and wet for us. Spring will get here eventually.

Wes H.
 

deluxestogie

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#6
Poor old Bob.

Your Amaryllis crop is impressive. How long do the blooms last?

With all my slow germination, I probably won't hit the dirt until the last week of May. All my bitsy seedlings are a little smaller than your potted ones. But it's Virginia. That's got to count for something.

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#7
Bob:

My potted seedlings are kind of puny. A little fertilizer and an additional light will help. Hopefully they will make 4" or so by late May.

The Amaryllis blooms will last a total of about two weeks. The individual blooms open in pairs, with the first two opening and the second pair opening 3-5 days later. They age accordingly, each pair lasting about 10 days. The largest bloom head of the two in the photo, has 5 flowers on it, which is very unusual.

Depending on the health of the bulb, the flower spikes will produce two (1 pair) of blooms. Bigger healthier bulbs will produce two pairs of blooms. Five blooms indicates the spike is trying to produce a third pair of blooms. Something I've never seen. Sometimes, a really healthy large bulb will produce two flower spikes with four blooms per spike.

Amaryllis has something in common with tobacco. You have to be patient! My oldest Amaryllis is about 18 years old. I acquired it at a giant box store in 2002. It takes several years of growing (and fertilizer) to get big fat bulbs that produce large impressive blooms. My oldest has been very impressive in the past, producing two spikes and eight blooms in total. But I think the poor thing has about hit it's life time limit. It is still alive, but the bulb is pretty small and doesn't flower very well any longer. I have no idea how long these bulbs will live, but 18 seems to me to be pretty old for a flower.

But then again, I have a Thanksgiving Cactus that is about 22 years old, and it still blooms pretty well in the fall.

Good luck with your growing season!

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#8
Some assembly required indeed!

I bought a new 4' fixture at Home Depot to use on my indoor seedling grow. What a pain. The phrase some assembly required doesn't begin to cover this. Assemble it, wire it, add a plug in, etc. etc. It's a good thing I know about wiring or I'd be really hurting. It turns out by the time I bought the bulbs, extra parts, etc. I could have bought the pre-fab model at the competitor for about the same money and none of the hassel.

Sometimes you 'gotta learn the hard way. Oh well, chalk that one up to experience.

Wes H.
 

deluxestogie

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#9
But consider the wonderful experience. It's memories you'll carry with you for the rest of your life. (Walmart offers an "under cabinet", half-length fixture for $25. Knucklehead used a bank of them for his seedlings. I use just one--under my kitchen cabinets.)

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#10
Well, sometimes you 'gotta do it the hard way. After a while all those cuts and bruises on your head make an impression on your gray matter too.

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#11
I found this photo on Pinterest. As some of you know, I'm the rock and mineral guy. This photo is a really nice specimen of Halite and Sylvite. Halite are the the two blue and white crystals on the top of the specimen. The plain looking brown stuff on the bottom is Sylvite.

Why the mineral photos you might ask? If you use a potassium bearing fertilizer, most likely said fertilizer bears a certain percentage of Sylvite as an ingredient. Aka: Potassium Chloride! Potassium Chloride is heavily mined for use in agriculture and many industries.

halite & sylvite.jpg

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#13
I don't use KCl in my blends. K2O in modest quantities (mostly fire ash). This year I'm going to try a smidge of Boron and otherwise stick with my standard blend of fertilizer. It seems to work.

Meanwhile I have a lot of shovel work to do between now and Memorial day.

Happy growing!

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#16
Halite aka: salt, typically is white or otherwise colorless.

You can see from the photo that there have been at least three different periods of deposition during the genesis of this specimen. First came the potassium chloride (sylvite), then came the blue halite then the specimen was "capped off" by white halite. This particular genesis could have happened over a period of just a few years, or it could have taken many thousands of years to form.

Salt and its relatives are primarily evaporative minerals. Both sodium and chlorine are highly reactive ions. The color of the final crystal form can be highly variable depending what ions are available at the time of the reaction. Some of the sodium might have been substituted by another of the alkali metals, or some of the chlorine could have been substituted by another halogen. As long as the substitute ion doesn't disrupt the crystal lattice, you will get nice cubes (or sometimes octahedrons) of highly variable colors. The blue specimen depicted in the photo would be particularly rare and unusual.

Nearly all mined salt will contain color variations depending on the genesis of original deposit. If you go look at the salt pile at your local highway department facility, said pile will usually contain a certain amount reddish or brownish color. This would be due to a certain percentage of potassium included in the original deposit. Since the salt is being used to thaw ice, who cares what its exact composition is? In this context, salt is salt.

Mineralogy is a fascinating and complex subject. Mother nature has lots of surprises for us if we will only pay attention.

Wes H.

P.S. Sodium and potassium are #6 and #7 most abundant elements in the crust of the earth, composing a little over 5% of the total.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#17
I'm gearing up for planting in about a week.

Tobacco Seedlings 2018-6.jpg Tobacco Seedlings 2018-9.jpg Tobacco Seedlings 2018-10.jpg

Photo one. Four flats of 32 set outside this morning for hardening off prior to being planted in about a week. I have one more flat of 32 that need a little more time before I can set them out. Hopefully I can have all of my seedlings planted by about June first.

Photos two and three. Plot all tilled up (With a shovel) and ready to plant. This plot kind-of wraps around the berry patch. I have two other plots that are in various stages of tilling. In other words they are not ready yet. Darn tree roots!

Tobacco Seedlings 2018-7.jpg Tobacco Seedlings 2018-8.jpg

Photo four. These little guys volunteer up randomly all over the garden. I like the color so I dig them up and move them off into their own little spot. I recently learned that they are a type of "Viola."
My mother originally planted these 50 or 60 years ago, and I haven't seen any of these in decades. My turning over the soil obviously has disturbed some seeds that grew. The seeds of these Violas' must be incredibly durable.

Photo five. First blooms on the berry plants. This one is Marionberry. Marionberry is difficult to pick due to the big sharp thorns.

I'm off to look for Morel Mushrooms later today. I haven't found any yet this year, I guess I've been too early.

Happy growing to all the members this year. May your leaves be large and abundant, and your smoke smooth and tasty.

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#18
I made an interesting discovery on the edge of my garden space last evening. I didn't know that such a thing was even possible in this northern climate.

Tobacco Seedlings 2018-11.jpg

A volunteer tobacco plant from seed!

What made me even notice this little one were the upper leaves being closed up for the night. A very tobacco like characteristic. I looked more closely...and sure enough!

This little one is both tough and lucky. Tough because it has germinated and survived in this cold northern climate. Lucky, because I missed turning it into mulch with my shovel by a mere inch. Not to mention avoiding stepping on it when I was running the shovel.

Anything that is that tough and lucky deserves to live. I will give it a special home. It will be interesting to see what it turns out to be.

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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#20
I don't think so. I dig all my stumps up and dispose of them after first frost. Also, I had a bunch of Turkish plants that I let go to seed that were in close proximity to my little surprise.

But you never know. I'm just an amateur when it comes to tobacco. I can't get every last root fiber out of the ground. How much cold could those roots take? Our coldest last winter was just a little below zero.

I'd have to defer to deluxestogie's much more advanced knowledge on the subject.

However this little one came to be, it deserves a life. So I will take care of it. It is always an amazing thing to watch the tobacco grow and mature. Or, as I like to say...Mother nature has her ways, and she doesn't explain them to us.

Wes H.
 
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