Whole Leaf Tobacco

Easiest tobacco to grow in hot and dry environment?

6BQ5

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I live in northern Nevada where the summers are hot and dry and the winters can be cold and snowy. The soil can range from clay to sand to something in between in the distance from the front yard to the back yard.

Is there a particular variety of tobacco that is easy to grow and manage for a beginner in my environment? My goal this year is to see something big and green in my backyard by the end of summer.

Thanks!

-=- Boris
 

Knucklehead

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I don’t think the seed variety is going to be a problem, but you will definitely need to be creative in the curing method.
 

6BQ5

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Nevada is one of the sunniest states in the US. I might as well use what I have lot of - sun and heat - to do any curing.

Back to seed variety, I see so many different varieties and it's hard to pick apart and wade through the superlative and marketing speak. I tend to overthink these kinds of things though and am hoping for a "start here" kind of recommendation.

-=- Boris
 

Knucklehead

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Nevada is one of the sunniest states in the US. I might as well use what I have lot of - sun and heat - to do any curing.

Back to seed variety, I see so many different varieties and it's hard to pick apart and wade through the superlative and marketing speak. I tend to overthink these kinds of things though and am hoping for a "start here" kind of recommendation.

-=- Boris
What will be the end use? Cigarettes, cigars, pipe? Certain varieties are better for different purposes.
 

6BQ5

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I was thinking of starting with a tobacco for cigarettes but am just as open for a variety that is best suited for cigars. Whichever would give me more beginners luck here in the northern Nevada desert climate. My soil ranges from sandy to clay-like depending where I am in the yard. Growing anything here is a challenge. If I can get seeds to germinate and eventually work to planting them outside then 2020 is a successful year.

My backyard has plenty of space so I am open to varieties that grow 50+ inches.

-=- Boris
 

ChinaVoodoo

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It is easier to produce exceptional cigarettes than it is to produce mediocre cigars. Flue curing cigarette tobacco requires that you build a special chamber for it, but then you have a controlled environment and your local arid climate doesn't present as much of a problem. Flue curing is technically more complicated and requires an understanding of the process and investment in building a box which is temperature and humidity controlled. However, it requires minimal aging, and you will be smoking it by autumn and it will be really good.
 

deluxestogie

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Another possibility is to grow Little Dutch or PA Red, for cigar or pipe, and just color-cure them within an impromptu tent made of plastic drop cloth. To get the most out of any variety that you grow, you should consider the (±$100) weekend project of building a tobacco kiln/flue-cure chamber. Check the Index of Key Forum Threads (link in menu bar) for various curing projects. Building a chamber is way more bark than bite, and requires very little woodworking or electrical skill.

If you have a choice of soil type, well-draining soil is preferred over clay.

Bob
 

6BQ5

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Thanks for the replies, everyone!

As you can all see I have lots to learn here. I like what @ChinaVoodoo said above. It is easier to produce exceptional cigarettes than it is to produce mediocre cigars. Maybe I should start with cigarette tobacco. Lowering the burden of germinating, harvesting, curing, etc will give me more space and opportunity to build up my watering infrastructure. Automatic watering for me is very important because my personal schedule can be somewhat irregular.

Once I get some practice with cigarette tobacco then I can try some cigar tobacco and try the chamber @deluxestogie mentioned.

The more I think about this the more excited I get! This is going to be a fun adventure.

-=- Boris
 

ChinaVoodoo

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That "easy" cigarette tobacco that you envision requires that you build a flue-curing chamber in which to flue-cure it, unless you are happy with cigarettes that don't taste like cigarettes.

Bob
I know Bob knows what I meant, but @6BQ5 , I didn't intend to downplay the difficulty of growing and flue curing. I meant to insinuate that having done both, my cigarette tobacco is better than my cigar tobacco.

Others may have different experience.
 

deluxestogie

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Once you build a flue-curing chamber, flue-cured tobacco is pretty much a breeze to produce. And it doesn't depend as much on producing beautifully intact leaf in the field. It all gets shredded. The total labor is considerably less, and you get your smokable results in a week or so after you've primed the leaf.

Bob
 

Knucklehead

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How is your humidity? When I think of Nevada, I think dry desert.

I suspect your climate is going to be very different from say, Alabama. Answers to your questions are going to need to be very specific to your area and not everyone will want to look back through all your old posts to figure out what your climate is. May I recommend you change your location from USA to Nevada in your profile? If you don’t, you risk being steered wrong by some well meaning folks that won’t realize the challenges you are going to face in terms of temps, humidity, curing challenges, etc. I’m not trying to be a smart aleck, a general location is far more helpful to everyone on a tobacco forum site than it would be on a Jeep forum site.
 

6BQ5

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@Knucklehead : I changed my location in my profile. Yes, Nevada is indeed a dry desert. Even the forested areas bordering Lake Tahoe are fairly dry. I live at somewhat high altitude at approximately 4600 feet. The UV here can be very strong too.

So, yes ... hot, dry, sunny, higher altitude, and strong UV.

Sometimes I think I learn like a ball bearing going down and spinning around a funnel. I go in lots of circles on my way out and it can take a while but I do get there in the end!

I started looking into sun curing. The little I read so far says it is not applicable to all tobacco varieties but it can be milder and with less nicotine. I found the Sun Curing section of this forum. It looks like I have some more reading to do.

-=- Boris
 

Knucklehead

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I sun cure my flue cure varieties (various “Virginia’s”) and the Orientals. I have enough humidity that I can air dry the other varieties for cigarettes and cigars. One of your biggest challenges is going to be your humidity. The trick to the yellowing phase is to keep the leaf alive until it achieves yellowing, at which time you can dry it on down, brown it, and dry the stems. It’s the dry it on down stage where I really have to watch to prevent mold or leaf rot. Your challenge may be in keeping the leaf alive long enough to achieve yellowing without it drying green, at which point you have spent months making mulch for your mulch pile. If it dries green, you’re screwed. If it rots, you can try to cut out the bad portions and keep trying. If you can’t, you have mulch again. Deluxestogie can tell you the science involve. His flue cure chamber is great for flue curing, kilning the leaf after full cure which speed ages the leaf, but the chamber could also be the trick you need for yellowing by providing an ideal artificial micro climate that will provide the perfect temps and humidity for curing. You can flue cure the flue cure varieties in it, or ... wait for it... sun cure your flue cure varieties and Orientals while simultaneously curing your other varieties in your cure chamber. When all curing is done, you can kiln all the varieties at your leisure. I haven’t been on the forum for a few years so I’m most familiar with the chambers from a few years ago, so no offense to anyone. Here’s my chamber, deluxestogies chamber, and DGBAMAs chamber, who did quite a bit of experimenting with a “cure” chamber, although all three can cure, flue cure, and kiln. It’s just a matter of your temp and humidity settings.



 

fimbrew

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The best That I have tried so far are Yellow Twist Bud and Silver River. Both were hardy in the heat and gave good yields. YTB is a mild burley so is air cured and with aging can be smoked by itself. SR is a unique variety that is air cured and has a difficult to describe flavor. |"Green" would be how I describe it but not in a raw sense. I haven't grown bright leaf varieties yet. This year I am trying some drought tolerant varieties- Symbol 4 (Bright leaf) and American 3(oriental). They have been in the ground now for 2 weeks have seen their first 100 deg day today and are doing ok. Two others that I am trying for the first time are Harmanli and Bulgarian Red Izmir (both orientals) and I am impressed, especially the Red Izmir. They germinated quickly and are growing well in the heat. I Got them all from skychaser http://www.northwoodseeds.com.
Go there and try to only pick a few. The Red izmir is not on that list yet but is available. Curing will def be a challenge but you can read many threads about that.
 

6BQ5

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@Knucklehead and @fimbrew : thanks for your detailed messages! There is a lot of info packed in them and I will need some time to digest all of it.

Also, thanks for the link to Northwood Seeds. Wow, their list of seeds is very, very long!

-=- Boris
 
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