Whole Leaf Tobacco

Critique my air dry setup

uyzjoe

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Hi guys, Im new to curing and finishing tobacco so I'd like some thoughts on how I did.

I harvested, and hung in this makeshift protected area for 2-3 weeks until the stems were dry
IMG_4067.JPG

I did end up with some spotting on the leaves after they were dry. I don't really think that it is mould, but Im not really sure what it is. I theorized that it was because of a bit of an aphid problem that I had. Should I toss all affected leaves? (probably 60% of my crop has some amount of this)
This is about the worst it got:

IMG_8358.JPG

Here is a bunch I have ready to go into my home made fermenter (I have been holding them in a 60% humidity controlled box until I had enough to fill my fermenter):

IMG_5503.JPG

What are you thoughts? What did I do right or wrong? I am going to have to harvest more here in the next few days but hanging it outside isn't practical due to falling temps (around 10-15C here most days now) and dry fall air. Im considering hanging in my basement or garage (house is at about 55% humidity currently. Do you think that will work or should I just attempt to cure it green?

Thanks for your input!
 

2Baccy

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Based on my lack of knowledge it does not look like mold to me except a little tiny bit of white mold in the leaf center of pic 2. Did your outdoor drying setup protect the leaves from rain? I see the top is covered but what happens when the wind is blowing the rain sideways? To me the 2nd pic looks like dry leaf that had water damage after it was mostly dry. But I’d just take my word with a grain of salt there will be people respond with much more experience than me.
I would think you could get along better drying the leaf in your garage or basement with a window open or a fan running but not pointed directly on the baccy.
Humidity at or above 80 for more than a day and mold chances increase.
Humidity below 60 is too low especially if windy or sunny. Leaf may dry green. (Garbage) Low temps below 15 and yellowing seems to slow down I’ve found.
I have a question for the smart people as well. Could you yellow tobacco in a kiln at 100f and then remove and continue air drying as usual to avoid the chances of drying green? Or would this change the leaf in undesirable ways?
 

Alpine

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As 2Baccy said, looks like water (or condensation) damage while the leaves were still alive and yellowing. Sometimes virus infected leaves show damage only after curing. Since you already have a kiln, try to put a hand in the kiln and see what you get: if it’s smokeable kiln the rest, if not... garbage can. Are you sure you harvested leaves ripe enough?

Pier
 

Alpine

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@2Baccy: yes, it can be done. Follow the humidity/temp timing for flue curing, but stop after the yellowing phase, take everything out of the kiln and hung to dry and turn brown in open air. As long as the temps are not too high, oxidase enzymes in the leaf are not denatured, and keep on doing their thing in the open.

Pier
 

2Baccy

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@2Baccy: yes, it can be done. Follow the humidity/temp timing for flue curing, but stop after the yellowing phase, take everything out of the kiln and hung to dry and turn brown in open air. As long as the temps are not too high, oxidase enzymes in the leaf are not denatured, and keep on doing their thing in the open.

Pier
Thanks Pier this will come in handy for me in the future!
 

uyzjoe

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Based on my lack of knowledge it does not look like mold to me except a little tiny bit of white mold in the leaf center of pic 2. Did your outdoor drying setup protect the leaves from rain? I see the top is covered but what happens when the wind is blowing the rain sideways? To me the 2nd pic looks like dry leaf that had water damage after it was mostly dry. But I’d just take my word with a grain of salt there will be people respond with much more experience than me.
I would think you could get along better drying the leaf in your garage or basement with a window open or a fan running but not pointed directly on the baccy.
Humidity at or above 80 for more than a day and mold chances increase.
Humidity below 60 is too low especially if windy or sunny. Leaf may dry green. (Garbage) Low temps below 15 and yellowing seems to slow down I’ve found.
I have a question for the smart people as well. Could you yellow tobacco in a kiln at 100f and then remove and continue air drying as usual to avoid the chances of drying green? Or would this change the leaf in undesirable ways?
Thanks for the reply 2Baccy, There definitely could be been some rain on the leaves, that is a distinct possibility I didn't consider that. I am going to try drying my final batch of leaves in my basement as the weather has turned cooler and dry here so maybe that will help. I will post my results when I get them dry. As Bob suggested I made a little tent to hang them in to keep the humidity high enough. I will monitor to make sure it stays around 70% and have some passive air movement.
 

uyzjoe

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As 2Baccy said, looks like water (or condensation) damage while the leaves were still alive and yellowing. Sometimes virus infected leaves show damage only after curing. Since you already have a kiln, try to put a hand in the kiln and see what you get: if it’s smokeable kiln the rest, if not... garbage can. Are you sure you harvested leaves ripe enough?

Pier
Thanks Pier. I'm going to hold on to some of those damaged leaves and give a try fermenting them. One thing I noticed is that the dark spots seem to fade as I hold them in a 60% humidified container (prior to fermenting). As far as harvesting the leaves ripe, I harvested when they were starting to yellow at the edges, and the stalks broke easily. Some may have been slightly over ripe. When i used to prime tobacco we harvested a bit greener than this but it was flue cured for cigarettes.
 
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