Whole Leaf Tobacco

Newbie needs some tips on growing.

LivinInPiperHell

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G'day everyone.
I'm a complete novice to growing & have a few questions.

My Burley plants are in 30 liter pots. Planting was staggered so that they don't all need to be harvested at once.
The most advanced plant is now 6' tall. As I need to be discrete, I broke off the flower/seed pods to keep them from growing too high.

- Will that in anyway affect the final product?

After 35 years of smoking tailor-made cigarettes, I switched to a pipe around ten years ago. The blends that I choose are low in nicotine, so now I'm a bit of a light-weight when it comes to nicotine tolerance.

- Is there any technique during growing or when one harvests to keep nicotine levels at the lowest possible level, or is that something that's done after harvest?

I've got a pot from last year that sprouted a heap of seedlings. It's really crowded. Although they look rather healthy at around 8 inches tall, I can't imagine them growing much taller or remaining healthy for too long.

- Are the leaves from these seedlings good for anything? IOW, is it worth harvesting the leaves that start to change colour [atm the older leaves are turning to a light green] to dry, cure & add to blends?

Any advice is welcome. Thanks.
 

Alpine

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Topping the plants (removing the tip) has consequences: thicker leaves and increased nicotine content.
Nicotine level in the final product depends on soil fertilization, irrigation, sun exposure, method of cultivation (plant spacing, topping, sucker removal etc) and strain.
Nicotine content s water soluble, steeping cured leaves in cold water removes nicotine: the longer the more nic is removed.
Generally speaking, low nic content is common in Turkish strains (but not ALL Turkish strains!) while burleys, dark air and rusticas have a fairly robust nic content.
Remember that nic absorption is pH dependent: acidic smoke is essential for cigarettes while the oral mucosa easily absorbs nicotine via basic (high pH) smoke.
As far as harvesting small leaves go, just give it a try: some growers harvest sand lugs regularly, others do not. If I were you, I’d harvest everything I can just to have more leaves to experiment with.

pier
 

docpierce

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G'day China. Welcome. For the seedlings that you have: growing them out will be fun. You might want to dry the leaves more slowly, in the shade when you harvest them. Take your time and look at the key threads page. Most questions are probably answered there.


I hope you enjoy this forum as much as I have. The learning is half the fun.
Little Dutch is a short plant and great in the pipe. Im sure there are many other "discrete" plants for your situation.

Nic levels. That's a tough one. I'm guessing that other members of the forum will advise you to seek out specific low-nic varieties for the pipe:
Most Turkish varieties are supposed to be lighter nicotine. I'm growing Japan8 this year.
Costello has a nicotine content at 2.4%.

for my part, I seldom save immature leaves- smoking them gives me a headache. You can make a bug killing tea out of them and spray it on other plants.


I would start here: http://nwtseeds.com/seed_list.htm for ideas on what to grow next season.
SkyChaser is the owner and a member of this forum. the seeds are inexpensive and he ships worldwide (I think).
 

LivinInPiperHell

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Topping the plants (removing the tip) has consequences: thicker leaves and increased nicotine content.
Nicotine level in the final product depends on soil fertilization, irrigation, sun exposure, method of cultivation (plant spacing, topping, sucker removal etc) and strain.
Nicotine content s water soluble, steeping cured leaves in cold water removes nicotine: the longer the more nic is removed.
Generally speaking, low nic content is common in Turkish strains (but not ALL Turkish strains!) while burleys, dark air and rusticas have a fairly robust nic content.
Remember that nic absorption is pH dependent: acidic smoke is essential for cigarettes while the oral mucosa easily absorbs nicotine via basic (high pH) smoke.
As far as harvesting small leaves go, just give it a try: some growers harvest sand lugs regularly, others do not. If I were you, I’d harvest everything I can just to have more leaves to experiment with.

pier
Bugger , exactly what I was trying to avoid. [As soon as I broke off the top I thought that I should have asked here first]
Oh well, it's good to know that I can soak it out later.

- So one soaks the leaves in water AFTER they've been dried/cured?

Yes I've read here that nicotine absorption depends on the pH level. I'll have to read up on that.

That sounds like a good idea. Then so it would not go to waste, I'll have something to give to the blokes who keep asking for tobacco but are too lazy to grow their own, once I've finished experimenting with it, lol.

Thanks for your help.
 

LivinInPiperHell

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G'day China. Welcome. For the seedlings that you have: growing them out will be fun. You might want to dry the leaves more slowly, in the shade when you harvest them. Take your time and look at the key threads page. Most questions are probably answered there.


I hope you enjoy this forum as much as I have. The learning is half the fun.
Little Dutch is a short plant and great in the pipe. Im sure there are many other "discrete" plants for your situation.

Nic levels. That's a tough one. I'm guessing that other members of the forum will advise you to seek out specific low-nic varieties for the pipe:
Most Turkish varieties are supposed to be lighter nicotine. I'm growing Japan8 this year.
Costello has a nicotine content at 2.4%.

for my part, I seldom save immature leaves- smoking them gives me a headache. You can make a bug killing tea out of them and spray it on other plants.


I would start here: http://nwtseeds.com/seed_list.htm for ideas on what to grow next season.
SkyChaser is the owner and a member of this forum. the seeds are inexpensive and he ships worldwide (I think).
G'day Doc and thanks.
This is an extremely useful forum. So glad that I found it.
Quite a few years ago I grew several Virginia plants & could not find any info on how to dry/cure tobacco.
I muddled my way through & ended up with quite a smokable end result but that was more good luck rather than skill.

Exactly what I was thinking, to buy some seeds from here but was unsure who to ask. Thanks for the link. [Importing to here might be a bit tricky but one can only try]
A short growing variety is exactly what I need.
The seeds that I bought were labelled simply Burley & Virginia so I've no clue what specific variety they are.

I'll take Alpines advice & use the scrappy leaf to practice on.
When I'm finished with it there's a few blokes who'll take it off my hands. [Tobacco is now over $110 for 50g, so they wont be too fussed if it's free, lol]
 

Oldfella

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G'day Doc and thanks.
This is an extremely useful forum. So glad that I found it.
Quite a few years ago I grew several Virginia plants & could not find any info on how to dry/cure tobacco.
I muddled my way through & ended up with quite a smokable end result but that was more good luck rather than skill.

Exactly what I was thinking, to buy some seeds from here but was unsure who to ask. Thanks for the link. [Importing to here might be a bit tricky but one can only try]
A short growing variety is exactly what I need.
The seeds that I bought were labelled simply Burley & Virginia so I've no clue what specific variety they are.

I'll take Alpines advice & use the scrappy leaf to practice on.
When I'm finished with it there's a few blokes who'll take it off my hands. [Tobacco is now over $110 for 50g, so they wont be too fussed if it's free, lol]
Should have no problems with seed from NWT I just got some in the mail. I'm in NZ. Good luck with that. Hopefully you'll get a good grow.
Cheers Jhonny
 

docpierce

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G'day Doc and thanks.
This is an extremely useful forum. So glad that I found it.
Quite a few years ago I grew several Virginia plants & could not find any info on how to dry/cure tobacco.
I muddled my way through & ended up with quite a smokable end result but that was more good luck rather than skill.

Exactly what I was thinking, to buy some seeds from here but was unsure who to ask. Thanks for the link. [Importing to here might be a bit tricky but one can only try]
A short growing variety is exactly what I need.
The seeds that I bought were labelled simply Burley & Virginia so I've no clue what specific variety they are.

I'll take Alpines advice & use the scrappy leaf to practice on.
When I'm finished with it there's a few blokes who'll take it off my hands. [Tobacco is now over $110 for 50g, so they wont be too fussed if it's free, lol]
LivinInPiperHell,
You may want to take a look at Prilep. It's an Oriental, Macedonian type plant with a small statue- 1 meter or so. Interesting wavy leaf shape. Fragrant and mild in the nic department. It's meant to be planted close together in rows. And left untopped. Good in cigs or in the pipe.
 

Propsjonnyb

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My grandfather (herbal tabacconist) would (for customers who could not tolerate high nicotine levels) take the leaves and soak them , in distilled water for three days, this process he repeated three times , so total nine days , he would then spread them out on open wire racks and bring them back to a working level , before proceeding to make whatever product was needed, either cigarettes, pipe, tobacco or cigars . He believed this process reduced the levels significantly , i am still working though his documents and journals so I don’t have the figures immediately to hand but from what I have read this was a fairly common practise , the ’trick’ was not to soak the leaves too long as this would have effected the flavour as son as I come across them I will list them here
 

LivinInPiperHell

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Should have no problems with seed from NWT I just got some in the mail. I'm in NZ. Good luck with that. Hopefully you'll get a good grow.
Cheers Jhonny
Thanks Jhonny.
Your laws aren't as strict as ours. You're probably aware that you're allowed to order in whole leaf tobacco into NZ, as long as it's declared so it can be heat treated. [A Kiwi member here gave the exact details] Were that the case here, I'd order whole leaf knowing that it's from growers who understand how to grow & cure much better than I.
 

LivinInPiperHell

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My grandfather (herbal tabacconist) would (for customers who could not tolerate high nicotine levels) take the leaves and soak them , in distilled water for three days, this process he repeated three times , so total nine days , he would then spread them out on open wire racks and bring them back to a working level , before proceeding to make whatever product was needed, either cigarettes, pipe, tobacco or cigars . He believed this process reduced the levels significantly , i am still working though his documents and journals so I don’t have the figures immediately to hand but from what I have read this was a fairly common practise , the ’trick’ was not to soak the leaves too long as this would have effected the flavour as son as I come across them I will list them here
Please do. Would hate to see all that knowledge wasted in time.

Glad that you mentioned to soak in distilled water as I probably would have used filtered tap water, lol.
 

GreenDragon

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Please do. Would hate to see all that knowledge wasted in time.

Glad that you mentioned to soak in distilled water as I probably would have used filtered tap water, lol.
Nicotine is fairly insoluble in neutral pH water, so filtered or tap will have no difference on extraction power. I suspect much of the "effect" on the customers was from the extraction of many of the water soluble flavor compounds in the tobacco that the process leached out (placebo effect). Depending on the volume of water used it may have reduced the nic level by 1/2 or 1%, but also resulting in a vary flavorless product. If you have low nic tolerance, don't smoke cigarettes; period. If you are into pipes, then only smoke a 1/2 bowl instead of a full bowl, and/or focus on more acidic pH tobaccos such as Virginias and eschew more basic varieties such as air cured or burleys.

(I will step off my soap box now)
 

Propsjonnyb

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Forgot to mention, that if you boil the leaves you do get all the nicotine out , but it does effect the flavour., and you must be careful in disposing of the the liquid waste , use protection , gloves, safety glasses etc from what I can put together from the documents , anything from 50 % to 70% plus could be extracted by this water bath method
 

burge

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Removing the flowers and buds I believe is called suckering. and provides a higher quality leaf. I believe boiling the leaves is the natural way too make vape.
 

Oldfella

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Thanks Jhonny.
Your laws aren't as strict as ours. You're probably aware that you're allowed to order in whole leaf tobacco into NZ, as long as it's declared so it can be heat treated. [A Kiwi member here gave the exact details] Were that the case here, I'd order whole leaf knowing that it's from growers who understand how to grow & cure much better than I.
Yeah I'm aware on the leef treatment thing. But seeds are a lot smaller, they would probably just come in the post. Who knows you might just get a late Xmas card or something. Worth a shot, go for it and see.
 

LivinInPiperHell

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Nicotine is fairly insoluble in neutral pH water, so filtered or tap will have no difference on extraction power. I suspect much of the "effect" on the customers was from the extraction of many of the water soluble flavor compounds in the tobacco that the process leached out (placebo effect). Depending on the volume of water used it may have reduced the nic level by 1/2 or 1%, but also resulting in a vary flavorless product. If you have low nic tolerance, don't smoke cigarettes; period. If you are into pipes, then only smoke a 1/2 bowl instead of a full bowl, and/or focus on more acidic pH tobaccos such as Virginias and eschew more basic varieties such as air cured or burleys.

(I will step off my soap box now)
Not at all, I appreciate the advice.

Around ten years ago I switched from my 40-a-day cigarette addiction to a pipe & haven't had a cigarette since.

In my case the "placebo effect" wouldn't work on me; anything with above mild levels of nicotine is obvious because it spins me out, lol.

I was wondering if soaking in water also leached out flavour. It looks like my best bet is to start with plants [as suggested] that are low in nicotine & look into flue-curing.
This years crop will be good to get some experience.
 

burge

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Removing the flowers and buds is called topping. It does, indeed provide higher quality tobacco, as in thicker and larger leaves.
Thanks I knew it was something that was done. to get better leaves.
 
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Propsjonnyb

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Apologies I did forget to mention earlier , that when brought back to case , that petuning was often the preferred method of adding back flavour , the washing would remove some of the more soluble flavour elements . He treated small batches of leaves, as I remember, with different ingredients , with specific mixtures for filler, binder and wrapper for cigars for example , then there were mixes for pipe and chewing tabacco as well.
 
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