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Fermenting cigar leaf without kiln

koceff

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So, my chest freezer kiln is a nice size but it only has space for about 1/4 of my leaf from about a 200 plants. The other problem i came across is mold. I know that i could make a better job with the kiln but even if it is top notch kiln i still would have to run it at least half a year to ferment all of the tobacco and that is something i would like to skip.
For this years grow I plan about 300 plants . Where i live it gets 100-110 f and around 90f at night during the Summer. My plan is after it is color cured, and i plan to do most of that till August, i get it into case put it in to some plastic bags and leave the bag outside under the sun or in the shadow, depending on the weather. Checking everyday the if the heat inside gets to high and the moisture level and airing it out.
Is this possible and why not? :)
 
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Knucklehead

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Mold cannot grow below 122F. Using the temp control in our kiln we maintain the temps above 122F to prevent mold and ferment the leaf with very little effort. Every few days we refill the crock pot. Humidity is a non factor due to the temp. If temps are swinging below 122F, humidity will become a huge factor and mold a constant threat.
 

koceff

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@Knucklehead Dropping under 122f is not really a concern for me, bigger concern is going above 140f. I did an experiment last summer with a smaller bag and the temperature inside got almost to 150 under direct sun, in the evenings was about 120. Almost 2 moths the bag was outside, no mold at all.
 

GreenDragon

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I use Rubbermaid tubs to hold the leaf. The lids do not seal perfectly allows the tub to breath a little bit, which is important as the temperature will rise and fall every day, and you don't want water to collect and pool. I fill the tubs up with slightly moistened leaf, put the lid on, and pop in the attic. I check on them once a week and mist water in as needed. The biggest downside is climbing up the ladder once a week. While there are more chances of error (temp / humidity) it is easier and cheaper (for me) than building a kiln for cigar tobacco.
 

LeftyRighty

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I've had up to 200+ plants before, and had no problem fermenting in my kiln.
First, if they've been cured, you can remove the center rib of the leaf. Then stack the leaf in bundles and kiln the bundles - takes much less room in the kiln than hung leaf. Used crockpot & temp controller at 122 to 128 deg.
I have separated different bundles of strains with parchment paper in the same stack, and about once a week I'd break down the stacks, air out, re-stack (although really don't think that's needed, but just checking leaf).

If your cured leaf is too dry to de-rib, hang overnight in in kiln to bring leaf into medium case, then de-rib & stack.

If the leaf is in proper case (and temp), it don't care if it's hung or stacked to ferment age.
 

koceff

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@GreenDragon I plan to do something like that. Plastic bags or some container, fill it up with moisten leaf, close it and leave it in the sun, but hopefully somewhere i won't need to practice my climbing skills :) I plan to open the bags every day or every other day at least, air it out and close them again, moisten the leaf if needed. Thermometer will be in place to see if the temperature during the day is too high or too low at night so i can make some adjustments.
@LeftyRighty You know how there are some people who are like " did i turn the stove of" or "did i left the water running"? Well I am not one of those but I am, sometimes. :) I am not a big fan of leaving the fan on at night, for my peace of mind i turn it off. Same with the kiln.
 

LeftyRighty

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@GreenDragon
@LeftyRighty You know how there are some people who are like " did i turn the stove of" or "did i left the water running"? Well I am not one of those but I am, sometimes. :) I am not a big fan of leaving the fan on at night, for my peace of mind i turn it off. Same with the kiln.
I'm somewhat the same. My kiln is in an area with an added smoke/CO2 detector, on a GFCI electrical circuit, and I've found after nearly a decade that the Ranco heat controller is extremely reliable.
The only problem I've encountered is that crockpots only last a season+ of continuous use, and if I want 160 deg for flue-curing, I need the biggest 7 qt crockpot. (door seals on my upright freezer kiln are in poor condition, replaced once. I've got a 'new' used chest freezer to replace the 'old' kiln, whenever)
 

93rdCanadian

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I use a few of these in my house, I havent seen them in action first hand thankfully but they provide good peace of mind, especially for electrical fires.


There are multiple manufacturers out there, you should be able to find one closer to you. I believe when I bought my first one 2 years ago I had to get them imported from France.
 

marshall9779

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I just have a single plant so I decided to try using a heating pad. The one I already had in the house shuts off every two hours so was a pain but I tried it out with that one with a lug leaf in a gallon freezer bag. Tested for a couple days and seemed to work but the leaf was wanting to stick to the bag. Temp was about 125 on contact.

I got a new heating pad that had a stay on option. On contact it was only getting to about 105. I decided to try and sandwich some leaf between the two heating pads and just turn the one back on when I could. Did not consider how much heat would be trapped between the two and pretty much scorched the leaf after a couple days. I put my digital hygrometer/ thermometer in between the two and the highest I could see was 139 and then the display was unreadable. I’m guessing it was closer to 150. Here is the leaf a day or two before I decided to pull them out. Couldn’t separated the leaves good when I finally took them out and was left with just filler. In this pic the leaf looks pretty good but got super black and brittle even when moist.
25B2B3C6-DD3F-4B86-84F6-A731385B2BDC.jpeg

Figured out that using the new constant on heating pad with a towel over it would get to about 127-128 or so. Trying that with a couple leaves now. I can fit two leaves folded up in a single layer in a gallon ziploc and can fit two ziplocs side by side on the mat.
 
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