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2015 Knucklehead Grow Blog

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Knucklehead

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What did you think about the K326 you grew? I'm growing some this year that I got from Larry, but I don't know anything about it other than it is a flue cure Bright leaf.

It was okay, but I air cured it. I've sun cured all my flue cure varieties for the past two years and prefer that method. I haven't tried any sun cure K326 and it was the only flue cure type I grew three years ago, so comparison is thrown off.
 

Rickey60

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It was okay, but I air cured it. I've sun cured all my flue cure varieties for the past two years and prefer that method. I haven't tried any sun cure K326 and it was the only flue cure type I grew three years ago, so comparison is thrown off.
How do you sun cure your flue cure varieties? I have never sun cured anything but would like to try. Why do you like sun cure over flue cure?
 

Knucklehead

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How do you sun cure your flue cure varieties? I have never sun cured anything but would like to try. Why do you like sun cure over flue cure?

I string the leaf on coat hangers or something as portable so I can move them into the house or shop if it rains. After hanging in the shop until wilted and yellowing has begun, I move them to full sun and leave them there night and day until the leaf is brown and the stems are crackly dry. Then I wait until night and the leaf is limp to bring them inside for good.

I have never flue cured my own leaf. I have smoked Don's. Sun curing was as close as I could come until I built my kiln a few months ago. I'm not sure I want to baby sit a flue cure chamber. Sun curing seems easier to me and the results come close enough for my tastes. Sweeter than air cured, not quite as sweet as Don's flue cured.

I'm not growing any flue cure varieties this year, but I am sun curing the two Oriental varieties that I grew.
 

Rickey60

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Thanks for the information I am going to try this. Sounds easy enough. Flue curing can be a lot of work.
 

deluxestogie

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Flue curing can be a lot of work.
With a well insulated kiln box that is capable of venting, flue curing can be easy. Start with leaf at the same, partly yellowed stage--all the same variety. Ignore it in the kiln for the first 3 days, then alter temp setting and the vent every 12 hours. ALSO...IGNORE THE RH. FORGET THE WET-BULB.

Torpedoes be damned!
  • Yellow at 93-100ºF, venting to minimize internal condensation
  • first peek after 72 hours
  • when mostly yellowed, begin temp ramp at 12 hour intervals (no more peeking!)
    1. 120ºF (vent partially closed)
    2. 130ºF (vent mostly closed)
    3. 140ºF
    4. 150ºF (vent fully closed)
    5. 165ºF (hold for 24 hours)
  • allow to cool
  • bring back into case
  • photograph your bright-cured tobacco
Bob

EDIT: Can this approach be less predictable than hanging in the sun, rushing it back out of the rain, returning it to the sun....?
 

Knucklehead

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With a well insulated kiln box that is capable of venting, flue curing can be easy. Start with leaf at the same, partly yellowed stage--all the same variety. Ignore it in the kiln for the first 3 days, then alter temp setting and the vent every 12 hours. ALSO...IGNORE THE RH. FORGET THE WET-BULB.

Torpedoes be damned!
  • Yellow at 93-100ºF, venting to minimize internal condensation
  • first peek after 72 hours
  • when mostly yellowed, begin temp ramp at 12 hour intervals (no more peeking!)
    1. 120ºF (vent partially closed)
    2. 130ºF (vent mostly closed)
    3. 140ºF
    4. 150ºF (vent fully closed)
    5. 165ºF (hold for 24 hours)
  • allow to cool
  • bring back into case
  • photograph your bright-cured tobacco
Bob

EDIT: Can this approach be less predictable than hanging in the sun, rushing it back out of the rain, returning it to the sun....?

That sounds easy enough. At what stages do you have water in the crock pot?
 

Chicken

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I may hit that 165* mark this season...I got my l.p. gas heating source..but if I can hit the 165* mark is a different question...

We will see much later...in the year.
 

Knucklehead

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Update. Primed the Maryland 609 for the second time today. Cigar varieties are pretty much picked clean except for some tip leaf. Will prime VA355 Dark Air for the second time in a couple of days. Hanging leaf and patch photos:

MD 609 after second priming

MD609 7-28-15.JPG

First priming of MD609. I took these off the propagation heat mat where I had them stem drying. Just sprayed them with water to rehydrate. Will need to turn them and spread them out some to dry back down to proper case for storage after making them up into hands.

rehydrating MD609 first prime.JPG

Second priming of MD609 from this morning. Hanging in the shop. Only two leaves per bunch due to the huge stems.

MD609 2nd prime.JPG

VA355 Dark Air for cigarette blend. Primed one time. Ready for second priming.

VA355 7-28-15.JPG

First priming of VA355 Dark Air. Leaf is pretty much brown but stems are still too green to take inside for stem drying on the heat mat.

VA355 first prime.JPG

Two shots of the cigar varieties from different primings and different stages of cure.

7-28-15(1).JPG7-28-15(2).JPG

Sun curing Kavala oriental.

sun curing Kavala.jpg
 

deluxestogie

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bonehead

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one of these years i will have to try growing the md609 because it looks like a very nice tobacco. if it smokes half as good as it looks it would be wonderful. i need a bigger grow area so i can play with more varietys. i am trying 3 new to me tobaccos this year and 3 of my regular favorites.
 

Brown Thumb

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This looks like a Thanksgiving serving platter.

Bob
Dang, that looks Nice.
I got to try that Idea for the leaf that never makes it to the chamber or hanging.
Its just Thrown aside in a pile when I run out of room.
 

Knucklehead

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My second priming of VA 355 Dark Air. I let most of the leaf get really ripe with brown dry tips. I had to harvest it in the morning while the dry part of the leaf was pliable. I'm growing this for my cigarette blend. 48 plants of this variety. There's over two hundred leaves on that stick from this one priming.

VA 355 second priming  8-5-15.JPG

Some cigar varieties doing that cure thing. A couple of those batches are about ready to finish stem drying on the heat mat. I have some Besuki on the heat mat now inside the house. I have baccy in the bags, baccy on the heat mat, baccy drying back down on the work tables, baccy in the shop, baccy piled up accumulating for a kiln run, and baccy in the patch. Baccy everywhere.

8-5-15 curing cigar varieties.JPG
 

deluxestogie

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The Dark Air looks good.

Since you have a kiln, you could use that to complete stem drying quickly.

In previous years, you have mentioned how much you like the result of doing the stem drying on seedling heat mats. Have you ever measured the temp immediately above the mat?

Bob

EDIT: I'm wondering where all your coats and shirts are now piled.
 

Knucklehead

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In previous years, you have mentioned how much you like the result of doing the stem drying on seedling heat mats. Have you ever measured the temp immediately above the mat?

Bob

I have not measured the temperature, but when I lay my hand on the mat it merely feels warm, not hot.

I put the leaf on the mat when about 1/4 - 1/3 of the length of the stem (butt end) is still holding moisture and soft. The lamina is fully brown. The stems are crispy dry in three days. I can stack leaf in 6-8" stacks and dry the butt end of four stacks, turning only once. An additional benefit is that the leaf dries flat as a pancake. It also frees up air curing space in my shop. With my humidity it takes forever for the stems to dry where I color cure and the stems will mold easily.

Small stems and those close to being dry can dry crispy in a day. If nothing else, it's good insurance.
 

DGBAMA

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That's a good idea. I can then just leave them hanging in the kiln until I get a full kiln load.
straight to 125 degrees (kilning temp) but with no water in the crock, I leave a small vent open. when my weather monitor shows 10-15% rh, I know the stems are crispy. then I add water or leave the door open a day for the lamina to rehydrate to handlable condition.
 

Smokin Harley

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Looks good and ill bet smells even better. Did you get any rain yesterday or this morning. We were out by gadsden yesterday and a huge downpour came. Again last night.
 
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