Whole Leaf Tobacco

Hello from NW Arizona!

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#1
I am starting my second year of tobacco here in high desert AZ and hope to gather enough info from all you fellow baccy lovers. The growing stage here is phenomenal, but the drying/curing stage is rough. Anyway, I have an unused 6x6 empty shed I’m thinking may be a good drying spot and an old 5’ (50s era) chest freezer that I plan to ferment with using a crock pot & Inkbird two stage switch (for crockpot & and fan). I’m I going about this correctly? Over thinking it? Or total waste? ANYTHING HELPS! Thank u all in advance!
 
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#2
Note: Last year I grew Burley 21, Havana 42, Black Sea Samsun, & Florida Sumatra. The FS didn’t do great, nor did the BSS. This year I’m wanting to focus more on burley 21&64...if that helps guide advice. Thanx
 

Charly

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#4
Welcome and good luck with your second crop.
Your ideas seems good, all you habe to do is to find the solutions that works for you, in your place, if the curing/drying phase is hard, then you can try to pile cure your leaves for a few days (when you harvest them), to help them loosing their green color, then hang them to dry.
 

Youn

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#6
Welcome to FTT.
Tell us more about your first experience, seems you have to face a dry climate at time of curing right? If so, sure someone here have a solution… pile curing, like Charly said, can be one, or, according to the amount of leaves your have to treat and the room available, you can hang it and surround it with a kind of plastic sheet tent that allows you to control the relative humidity inside…
 

CobGuy

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#8
Welcome from Lake Montezuma / Rimrock! :)
You're right to be thinking about the shed for curing and adding a humidity source will be almost required.
It's just too hot and dry here to hang it and forget it like these southern and eastern gents can do.

~Darin
 
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#9
Hi Stryker and welcome!

When you say your BSS and FS did not do very well, did you have problems with growing or during the cure?
They didn’t grow very big at all, and may have bolted early. I’m guessing it may have had something to do with our SUPER arid climate and continuous winds.
 
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#10
Welcome and good luck with your second crop.
Your ideas seems good, all you habe to do is to find the solutions that works for you, in your place, if the curing/drying phase is hard, then you can try to pile cure your leaves for a few days (when you harvest them), to help them loosing their green color, then hang them to dry.
Thank u!
 
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#11
Welcome to FTT.
Tell us more about your first experience, seems you have to face a dry climate at time of curing right? If so, sure someone here have a solution… pile curing, like Charly said, can be one, or, according to the amount of leaves your have to treat and the room available, you can hang it and surround it with a kind of plastic sheet tent that allows you to control the relative humidity inside…
Last year was a small harvest (280 leaves) and w/ it I paired & zip tied them stem-stem (color coded by type) and piled them on a painter’s cloth and loosely covered them with other end. At 5, morning and night, I randomly re-stacked them after patting dry the heavy sweat. The color curing wasn’t too bad and only took 4-6 days. My issue was the lack of understanding I had on how to dry them, and to what degree. Here, in high desert AZ, once hung they will be bone dry in a day or two. So, do they need to be full yellow or brown before hanging or will the drying process finish the needed color cure? Also, these things are BRITTLE crispy. Do I need to rehydrate with mister to ferment? I’m all good UP TO the last day or two of color curing stage. After that, I’m pretty lost. I want to accomplish “the impossible” and grow/harvest/cure/age my own baccy in AZ, and I’m so close!!
 
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#13
Welcome from Lake Montezuma / Rimrock! :)
You're right to be thinking about the shed for curing and adding a humidity source will be almost required.
It's just too hot and dry here to hang it and forget it like these southern and eastern gents can do.

~Darin
Thank u! I assumed this but just wasn’t confident on how to best go about it. It is VERY dry, to a point that I don’t think many understand. Our humidity is (aside from monsoon season) around 18%-22% all the time.
 

Youn

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#15
do they need to be full yellow or brown before hanging
I would say yes, the green must be removed before hanging if your conditions are so dry.

Also, these things are BRITTLE crispy. Do I need to rehydrate with mister to ferment?
Some leave the leaves take moisture outside during the night but I don't know if it's possible with your conditions. I think it can be misted directly but someone here more experienced than I am will give you better advise.
 

deluxestogie

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#16
So, do they need to be full yellow or brown before hanging or will the drying process finish the needed color cure? Also, these things are BRITTLE crispy. Do I need to rehydrate with mister to ferment?
If it's cigar leaf, definitely get them brown prior to drying. As for crispy dry, I would suggest misting the leaf to bring it into case (at least flexible), prior to any handling. Kilning requires moisture.

Bob

EDIT: If your conditions are horribly dry, use a large garbage bag as a "poncho" over the leaf after you mist it. Give it an hour or so to soften.
 
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