• Dear Guest,

    We've been using a forum format called vBulletin for over seven years and the program is no longer being developed, so that means no more updates or security patches. vBulletin has never been compatible with search engine optimization and it does not support the multitude of various devices most people use to access the internet, so it's time to say goodbye to vBulletin.

    For these reasons we have moved our forum to a new format that will support and encourage growth for the next generation of grower and DIY tobacco users.

    So please post any issues you're having with using the new site.

    As usual, you may login with your old password.

Whole Leaf Tobacco

When to harvest?

davek14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
117
Likes
13
Points
18
Location
Cincinnati Ohio
#1
Grew a few plants this year and I think I may have harvested late. Harvested most a few weeks ago and just got the last little bit out of the ground. Problem will be color curing and drying the plants. Fall is wet and nights are in the 30's now.

So how do you know the best time to harvest? Curing, etc. must be a factor.


I'm in Cincinnati about 75 miles north of BigBonner.
 

wooda2008

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
113
Likes
10
Points
18
Location
Vermont
#2
The leaves are ripe when they're ripe.

I had to bring my last couple of harvested plants into the basement to hang for stalk curing to avoid our first hard frost in Vermont.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
12,561
Likes
1,404
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
#3
davek14,
Which varieties of tobacco are you growing? Some varieties are harvested when mature, but not yet ripe. Others are harvested when generally ripe. Individually primed leaf is judged by each specific leaf, whereas stalk-harvested plants are judged by the overall maturity or ripeness.

Bob
 

davek14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
117
Likes
13
Points
18
Location
Cincinnati Ohio
#4
I grew Kelley Burley and Havana 263. I primed much of the Kelley Burley as the leaves began to yellow. The Havana didn't yellow much.

How do you tell when to cut the plant to stalk dry.

Will a hard frost damage stalk drying plants? We are having nights in the low 30's right now. I let bottom suckers on all my plants grow another foot or two and I just now cut and hung them. More importantly, my main harvest has only been hanging a couple/few weeks and is not all brown yet.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
12,561
Likes
1,404
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
#5
  • immature leaf: light green, thin, smooth and floppy [stem feels rubbery, if you try to remove a leaf from the stalk]
  • mature leaf: darker green, thick, rough or corrugated, and more rigid (look for tiny yellow tip) [leaf stem snaps off like celery]
  • ripe leaf: generally yellowed, thick, rough or corrugated, and rigid [leaf snaps off with ease]
For the most part, once leaf has yellowed well in the shed, the risk from freezing is lower than for green leaf. Leaf that is yellow and dried does just fine in freezing temps, as does browned leaf.

Burley is usually allowed to yellow (ripen) before harvest. I've primed Kelly Burley, and I've stalk harvested it. Stalk-harvesting seems to be most helpful when I need to cure it in very hot and dry conditions. This year, I stalk-harvested over half of my 12 varieties, including a number of cigar varieties.

With cigar varieties, like Havana 263, I usually prime leaves that begin to show a tiny yellow tip. This, along with a thickening and coarsening of texture, is a sign of maturity.

I decide to stalk-harvest a variety (sometimes after priming the lowest leaves) when all of the leaf, from bottom to top, seems to be maturing synchronously. I wait for the top leaf to show distinct signs of maturity, then cut and hang the stalk. This becomes a problem late in the season, since hanging leaf that is still on a stalk will remain green for a longer period.

Most tobacco grows fairly well when started late in the planting season, but the crunch comes at shed curing time. It all depends on your weather.

Bob
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
12,561
Likes
1,404
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
#7
If a green leaf freezes, then it is ruined, or rather, it will never color-cure. Brown leaf that is plump with moisture may develop black, greasy looking patches, which result from the laminar cells rupturing. With yellow leaf that has never dried, it's kind of a coin toss as to whether or not the required metabolic changes (that happen in living, yellow leaf) have gone mostly to completion.

I think, for all of us, there is some non-brown leaf still in the shed. We just get to wait and see. If a large portion of your crop is in that category, then it can be pretty stressful, unless you can add heat. I can't.

Bob
 

davek14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
117
Likes
13
Points
18
Location
Cincinnati Ohio
#8
I am putting this thread in my favorites. Thanks very much Deluxestogie.

I drove a few miles one morning before work and started a little heater in the garage my plants are hanging in. Might take the edge off and that's about it. We have already had a few nights at 30-32 degrees so we will see once I get time in there to play and sort things out.

So... blackened leaf is ruined... and yellow leaf which does not turn is no good.

What about light? Doesn't hanging in the dark help use chlorophyll? The only place I have to move a few hanging plants to gets 24 hour light.
 
Top