Whole Leaf Tobacco

Hydroponic tobacco?

Steve2md

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Has anyone tried to grow tobacco hydroponically? I would think that you would be able to custom tailor the nutrients supplied so that the plant could grow its largest and fastest. I haven't started a grow yet and I am brand new here, buy i could not find a hydro thread and just wondered about the pros and cons in this application?
Thanks,
Steve
 

Steve2md

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I figured, hell, why not grow year round! I know I can use soil indoors, and am a pretty solid indoor soil grower of a certain herbal pain medication that i use....but hydro tobacco could make for a neat experiment. Plus the possibility of an extra crop or two per year could make for lots of pipe and cigar experiments....
 

SmokesAhoy

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I figured, hell, why not grow year round! I know I can use soil indoors, and am a pretty solid indoor soil grower of a certain herbal pain medication that i use....but hydro tobacco could make for a neat experiment. Plus the possibility of an extra crop or two per year could make for lots of pipe and cigar experiments....
but if that other "herbal pain medication" were legal you wouldnt bother growing it indoors under lights because it would not be a cost effective solution to the problem. tobacco is not on the black market (yet hah) so it doesnt make sense to spend as much as it must cost to grow something this big indoors. also unlike those other pain medications you go thru significantly more tobacco. 1 pound goes into a carton of smokes, what is a pound of that stuff worth? makes no sense to grow tobacco indoors imo.
 

Steve2md

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but if that other "herbal pain medication" were legal you wouldnt bother growing it indoors under lights because it would not be a cost effective solution to the problem. tobacco is not on the black market (yet hah) so it doesnt make sense to spend as much as it must cost to grow something this big indoors. also unlike those other pain medications you go thru significantly more tobacco. 1 pound goes into a carton of smokes, what is a pound of that stuff worth? makes no sense to grow tobacco indoors imo.

It is legal for medical use in my state and I am licensed to grow for myself and 2 other patients. I grow indoors under artificial light in order to better control the environment of my plants. I have more control of everything this way. It averages around 108 degrees in the summer where I live, so by growing indoors, I can extend my growing season to year round. I don't smoke cigarettes and only smoke 3 or 4 cigars a month, so the quantity argument is invalid as well. practicality or cost effectiveness are not reasons for me to grow my own. I want to grow tobacco for the same reason I home brew beer and make cheese. I get to nurture a living thing until it has reached its own personal perfection, then harvest it and process it into products that seem to be out of reach for the average person. I am a hobbyist. I do not intend to sell my tobacco, and as long as I enjoy myself during the process, I feel any expenses are money well spent
 

CoralReefs

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I don't remember where I posted it, but I have grown tobacco quite successfully using hydroponics- well, specifically I used an areoponics/deepwater culture hybrid system I built. I have also used a straight deep water culture.
 

CoralReefs

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but if that other "herbal pain medication" were legal you wouldnt bother growing it indoors under lights because it would not be a cost effective solution to the problem. tobacco is not on the black market (yet hah) so it doesnt make sense to spend as much as it must cost to grow something this big indoors. also unlike those other pain medications you go thru significantly more tobacco. 1 pound goes into a carton of smokes, what is a pound of that stuff worth? makes no sense to grow tobacco indoors imo.
Maybe maybe not. Growing indoors allows you to grow all year- as many season as you want. Its easier to prevent bug problems. Through hydroponics you have direct control of the nutrient balances of the growing media (in the hydroponic case- water, aeroponics case (which is technically my drug of choice) air). Hydroponics is designed to dramatically increase the supply of oxygen to the roots. The consequence of this is a reduction in the occurance of anerobic bacteria and soilborne fungus, and often a very dramatic increase in yield. Also, every plant I have grow hydroponically has demonstrated a very dramatic increase in growth rate- tobacco definitely included (I even grew a Venus Flytrap hydroponically one time).

So what do you have with hydroponics and indoor growing?
- Increase in output per plant
- Less loss to bugs and fungal infections
- Ability to grow all year
- Ability to directly and quickly manipulate nutrient levels
- NEVER have to worry about overwatering!
- Very fast growth

Does it cost more? Perhaps to set up (most expensive investment will be your lighting unless you get cheap flourescent lights at Walmart or something- then again I personally design and build all of my hydroponics systems and equiptment myself which brings the cost down quite a bit. "Professionally built" systems can cost hundreds or more) and I will admit it probably costs more to run when you factor in fertilizers, changing the lights, electricity to run your system, etc... than throwing some seeds out into the back yard.

Its really a cost benefit analysis. I personally, really enjoy hydroponics as a hobby. But I like plant science in general.

Although this has prompted me to do an experiment. I have a couple of trays of seedlings going right now. I will set a few aside for a little side by side experiment. I'll clean out one of my systems and grow a small tobacco crop hydroponically and post a grow journal. We will see what the difference looks like.

Oh, and before I forget. I know a fair number of marijuana growers (Spend any time in a hydroponics store- you will meet a few. Its a little unfortunate because many people equate hydroponics with cannabis). Here is CA, cannabis is legal from the state perspective for growing for medicinal reasons. Many people here grow their pot outdoors but a very large number still choose to grow indoors hydroponically. I get a sense the main reason is the larger yield size and pest control.
 

SmokesAhoy

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I totally get growing pot utilizing lighting. I'm not sure how much usable product each plant produces but I am guessing a lot. If 1 plant can provide half a year of supply (or even 4 or 5) then I understand. But when people grow tobacco 100 plants is a relatively small amount that is why I said that. If you are doing it for proof of concept then fine, but such a small amount as 10 plants grown under lights is just expensive if you are doing it to supply yourself. It would be cheaper by far just to buy hands from people growing outdoors.
 

Chicken

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it's a very tall plant,,, so youd need to do a lot of topping,,,,,which is totally possible,

allthough the root-ball on a baccy plant doesnt grow '' down'' it's more of a wide root ball...

..and actually from what ive seen on t.v. watching survivalist shows, theres actually a lot of people who grow all types of things with lights, from carrots, to broccoli,,, and things you'd not think would be grown,

thiers a whare house in finland that has these huge circuluar lights and the crop rotates and grows hundreds of plants in each unit, and the wharehouse is full of these units,

like a enclosed farm,
 

CoralReefs

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I totally get growing pot utilizing lighting. I'm not sure how much usable product each plant produces but I am guessing a lot. If 1 plant can provide half a year of supply (or even 4 or 5) then I understand. But when people grow tobacco 100 plants is a relatively small amount that is why I said that. If you are doing it for proof of concept then fine, but such a small amount as 10 plants grown under lights is just expensive if you are doing it to supply yourself. It would be cheaper by far just to buy hands from people growing outdoors.
You are probably correct- makes sense. I doubt it would be very practical for the home grower in the end, but who knows. It will be a fun experiment and sometimes its hard to know till you try. Also, there are different types of hydro setups. Some growers get pretty dang creative with how they use space. Things like vertical gardens and such. Hydroponics (as both an art and a science) is all about efficiency.

Oh, and another thought. I am not sure if this would work or not given that you typically harvest tobacco leaves when they start yellowing and the plant is on the downward trend, but I have wondered if given the accelerated growth rate in a hydro system if instead of doing one harvest, you perform multiple harvests over the life of the plant. This would in effect multiple the product potential of each plant quite substantially. Again, I am totally speculating here and frankly a little skeptical. But hey, if nothing else it could make great science fiction!
 

deluxestogie

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...perform multiple harvests over the life of the plant.
Your are describing the standard practice of leaf priming, common in production of flue-cured and many cigar leaf varieties. Something else to consider is that, in a tropical setting (your hydroponic jungle), Nicotiana tabacum is a perennial.

Bob
 

CoralReefs

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Your are describing the standard practice of leaf priming, common in production of flue-cured and many cigar leaf varieties. Something else to consider is that, in a tropical setting (your hydroponic jungle), Nicotiana tabacum is a perennial.

Bob
Ah! So perhaps there is hope after all!
Seems to me the question then becomes- what rate of harvest can you get out of a single plant. Then use this to determine the yield you can harvest from a single plant during the course of a regular harvest, and how much you can harvest over the course of an entire growing year. Factor in the difference in quality (if any), and the cost of running the set up. Then its a simple matter of comparing this to the yield you would get from a larger plot during the course of a single grow season (assuming you are also leaf priming outside to make sure all factors are equal). Consider loss to pests in both systems- then do a cost benefit analysis.

(I still think outside will win... but its fun to think about)
 

Steve2md

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practicality is out the window. i plan to dirt grow outside for supply. the hydro is for fun and experimentation. imagine the possibilities of an lst tobacco plant......
 

CoralReefs

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practicality is out the window. i plan to dirt grow outside for supply. the hydro is for fun and experimentation. imagine the possibilities of an lst tobacco plant......
I am not quite so ready to throw hydroponics out of the realm of practicality. Part of it depends on your goal. If you just want to produce seeds, then hydroponics can prove useful- especially since you can produce them all year (of course if your space is limited, so will be your gene pool). Also, we have implicitly been making the assumption here that the hydroponics setup is indoors under grow lights. While this would tend to be the conventional way of growing hydroponically- at least among most of my friends, there is nothing in the rule book precluding the possibility of growing hydroponically outside. The biggest concern, other than basic hydroponics concerns, in my mind would be ensuring the nutrient media does not get too hot in the summer time. The major challenge would be designing a system (with a good enough pump), that can efficiently transport media to all sites- I am sure it can be done though.
 

Steve2md

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you would need one hell of a nute/water reservoir to grow hydro outside here in az, unless the rez was buried like a cistern....hmmmmm
 

CoralReefs

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This thread will be widely read by future generations traveling to a tobacco-friendly planet orbiting a distant star.

Bob
By then they will have invented little tiny garden helper robots armed with lasers to shoot those aphids! That and they will have figured out how to bottle sunshine into liquid form so you can grow your baccy in the attic.
 

CoralReefs

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Lookie what I found:

http://www.amazon.com/Heirloom-Tobacco-Garden-Timothy-James/dp/1436325072

I found a reference to that book in "The Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco" by Bill Drake. Evidently this book covers hydroponic tobacco cultivation quite extensively.

[Edit]
Oh, by the way, for those that have a Kindle and an Amazon prime membership, the Bill Drake book is now in the Kindle Lending library. You can "check it out (electronically)" for a month as part of your prime membership.
 
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Chicken

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i think a baccy plant could do a lst

it would just have to be very wide,

a small height plant, with leaves everywhere,
 
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