Whole Leaf Tobacco

Bex 2019 Grow blog

Bex

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Hmmm...looks like I’m a bit late to the party! We’ve been having some terrible weather here - 50 mph winds, squally rain, etc. It doesn’t give you much incentive to go outside to do anything, but I figured it was time to start germinating. This year, I’m just growing lemon virginia and burley (Harrow’s Velvet). The seeds are from my plants from last year. I’m hoping for about 60 plants of each, similar to my crop of last year, where I have the plants all squished into a delapidated ‘tunnel’, which no longer protects anything from the rain (just as well, as I don’t have to deal with watering), but still protects somewhat from the wind. Last year, I planted in inverted pots, using a good compost base to give the plants a good head start, before the roots hit the natural soil underneath. I’m a year older, and a year lazier, but hope to do the same thing again this year.
So, I carefully put my seeds into the grow trays, trying to be really vigilant about not dumping too many of them into the tray. I have the trays sitting in a heated propagatore (slated for about 95F), and have a small growlight hanging on the lid. Four days of nothing. And then:

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Life. Good. Of course, as the days went on, it appears that I wasn’t nearly as careful about dumping loads of seeds out, as I thought I was. I hate thinning out the little plants - murdering them after they try so hard to live. But it appears that this is in my future:

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Looks like a couple of wayward cabbage plants got into the mix - or at least into the compost - and have raised their heads in the corner of the tray. Hmmmm.....

My hobby is becoming a bit more important to me now - there are hardly any leaf sites over here anymore, and I can only find one left on the internet that I’ve been using. I’m pretty happy with the result of my lemon virginia over the past couple of years - I’m going to concentrate more on trying to get the burley to my liking now. We had a great summer here last year, with 6 weeks of excellent weather. I hung the burley leaf in my shed, and brought it in, in late November, when the weather became iffy. But I’m not (yet) very happy with it. The place where I buy my leaf indicates that the burley that I buy is from ‘this season’. I wonder why my burley from ‘this season’ isn’t nearly as good. But I persevere!! Maybe it will improve.......
 

Bex

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By the way, sorry about the thumbnail photos - my internet connection is poor at best, and uploading is always a nightmare.....:)
 

deluxestogie

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Good luck with your grow. Kiln. Kiln. Kiln. If you'll kiln your burley, it will be much nicer, instead of waiting for it to age another 6 months (with adequate humidity). Once your flue-curing season is over, use the chamber for a kiln. (Do I recall your doing that in the past?)

Bob
 

Bex

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Eck, I never did do the kilning thing for the burley, even though it was my intention to try it. I’ll have to do this (although, of course, I’m about 3 months into that 6 month’s ‘aging’ process already. I’ll give it a shot - thanks for the little push that I (always) need....LOL.
 

deluxestogie

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When I receive commercially grown burley leaf that is about 1 year old, I nonetheless kiln it for a month. It really makes a huge difference.

Bob
 

Charly

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Good luck with this year's crop !
You are not too late with your seedlings, I did not find enough time to start mine..... (too much work)
 

CobGuy

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Thinning is difficult for me, as well, and I've half a mind to try a bunch of "wild" plants this year near my favorite creek spots.
Also, another big "+1" for the kilning as it makes a huge difference.
Good luck with this year's grow! :)

~Darin
 

deluxestogie

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I just saw an ad that says that if I pay them money, and drink their beer, I will become Irish for a day. I'm not sure of how that might be beneficial. I don't think an accent comes with that deal.

Bob
 

Bex

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I’ve been here 22 years, but people still think I’m from Canada (I’m actually from NY). I’m not sure how beneficial it would be to be Irish for a day, though. Just another question, though: when you kiln your burley, does it become milder? When I do my blend, I’m basically using the Virginia almost as ‘filler’, as I get no throat hit from Virginia at all. But I’ve found that a lot of the burley that I’ve purchased is too ‘mild’, and doesn’t give me the throat hit, either. I have boxes - literally - in my living room, of burley that I don’t like, as it’s tasteless. My own burley is currently still a bit too harsh. I’m curious about what the kilning would do to burley that’s too mild???
 

Bex

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Thinning is difficult for me, as well, and I've half a mind to try a bunch of "wild" plants this year near my favorite creek spots.
Also, another big "+1" for the kilning as it makes a huge difference.
Good luck with this year's grow! :)

~Darin
Ah, lucky you in Arizona! I went through the ringer, trying to grow tobacco here. The stuff that I tried outside just never really matured or ripened. Our growing season is pretty short, and is usually composed of some awful weather, as well.
 

deluxestogie

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Here's my take on kilning burley. It takes the edges off of the harshness, while retaining the nicotine strength, and also enhancing the flavors (more like tobacco and less like dried grass). I don't really know about throat hit, since I never attempt to inhale tobacco smoke. I would describe the effect of kilning as maintaining the "fullness", while removing some of the irritating properties.

Something else you can try with a bit of your abandoned burley leaf is light toasting. The cigarette companies do it. Just rehydrate it afterwards.

Bob

EDIT: Look into TN 90 (not TN 90 LC) burley seed: http://northwoodseeds.com/Seed List2.htm
 

CobGuy

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Ah, lucky you in Arizona! I went through the ringer, trying to grow tobacco here. The stuff that I tried outside just never really matured or ripened. Our growing season is pretty short, and is usually composed of some awful weather, as well.
You'd think that it would be easier with all the sun but it's actually TOO MUCH sun! LOL
I need to use some shade cloth to keep them from frying once summer hits.
Then, curing in super low humidity has it's challenges as well. :)

~Darin
 

Bex

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Here's my take on kilning burley. It takes the edges off of the harshness, while retaining the nicotine strength, and also enhancing the flavors (more like tobacco and less like dried grass). I don't really know about throat hit, since I never attempt to inhale tobacco smoke. I would describe the effect of kilning as maintaining the "fullness", while removing some of the irritating properties.

Something else you can try with a bit of your abandoned burley leaf is light toasting. The cigarette companies do it. Just rehydrate it afterwards.

Bob

EDIT: Look into TN 90 (not TN 90 LC) burley seed: http://northwoodseeds.com/Seed List2.htm
Thanks for the advice. Will give the light toasting a try.....and will get on my bike and do my kilning....:)

Edit: Ah, TN 90 at Northwood....sold out! Will see if there’s any links for it over here.....
 

deluxestogie

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The TN 90 LC will produce the same quality leaf as TN 90, and is a reasonable way to go if you don't care about the low nornicotine conversion. The LC plants are F1, and the seed of subsequent generations ends up being plain old TN 90. If you wanted the low converter year after year, you would simply have to purchase new seed annually. For your situation, I think the TN 90 LC would be just fine. (TN 90 matures in about 70 days, 10+ days earlier than TN 86, which is also excellent.)

Bob
 
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