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PressuredLeaf's 2022 Grow Blog

PressuredLeaf

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In 2021 my tobacco plants grew extremely well, but I messed up on a few key points:
1. soil
2. harvesting
3. curing

1.My native soil was low in chloride, but I added 8yds of local compost to amend my soil. The compost made from local green waste is pretty salty, so I believe this lead to excess chloride in my tobacco. This let to essentially "fireproof" tobacco that wouldn't smolder.

2. I believe I was harvesting a tad too early given my arid climate. This year I am going to wait to the point of "overripe" to give the best chances of curing properly.

3. Curing, I believe my leaves also dried out way to quickly and this did not allow for proper breakdown of the albumins in the leaf - also contributing to poor burning.


So what's different this year? No compost additions. I am topdressing the tobacco rows with a small amount of magnesium sulfate and potassium nitrate. Mg is said to promote a white ash ( and my soil is fairly low in Mg), while Potassium is said to aid in the combustion of the leaf, while the nitrate provides some immediately available nitrogen for good growth. Interestingly enough, I've read one article that mentioned excess sulfate can impede tobacco burning as well ( bad if true because I added a boat load of sulfur last year to reduce the pH), however another article mentioned that sulfate uptake was self limiting, I guess I'll find out!

Im growing about 15 Corojo and about 15-20 little Dutch, along with some unknown seedlings that popped up in my garden over winter.
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PressuredLeaf

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Well, I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I had time to snap some photos from the garden. This year I only planted some Corojo 99 and little Dutch. I also have quite a few volunteer tobacco plants I’m letting grow. The volunteer plants look like piloto may be one of the parents (1st photo). 086D9185-D6A8-4C67-83E8-DE9192F9888A.jpeg92CE1668-2DD5-4EB7-932E-40BB80333DAC.jpeg
 

PressuredLeaf

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I meant to add a description, but didn't have time. The 1st and 2nd photos are of a cluster of self seeded tobacco. Based on the leaf structure I think they are Piloto seedlings. The 3rd photo is of the the two rows of known cultivars, with Little Dutch on the left and Corojo on the right. The final photo is of another cluster of seedlings, which I believe have Corojo as a parent. The leaves are on the small side, but they are not in optimal settings.

I'm going to let everything get super ripe before I harvest this year.

FYI tobacco is tough, those seedlings survived freezing temps over winter, and it was 116F when those photos were taken!
 

PressuredLeaf

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So, I think my biggest goal this year is to slow dry my tobacco so the albumins have a chance to degrade before the leaf dries. This is hard to do with the humidity at 13%. I bought a small grow tent, and equipped it with a pan of water, a small fan, a ultrasonic humidifier, and a humidity controller. So far I have some lowers of Piloto seedling, Corojo 99, and little Dutch. I’ve set the humidity for 80-85% while the leaves are yellowing. Once yellow, I will lower it to 65-75 for slow color curing. Fan stays on all the time. So far, it seems to be working well. Nice slow drying and a really nice smell coming out of the tent. There are three rows in there on aluminum wire, maybe 10lbs of green leaf. As things continue to ripen, I will have to cycle leaves out of the tent since it’s pretty small.

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PressuredLeaf

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I picked quite a bit more tobacco today. Unfortunately some of the tobacco curing developed some mold, so I tossed it (it smelled like mushrooms). The rest of the stuff looked pretty good, so I stuffed it into two large ziploc bags and threw it on the patio to ferment (about 110f). After a day there is the slight smell of ammonia, which is what I was hoping for.

The Corojo has color cured to a nice light brown color, and the little Dutch is quite dark. The piloto seems to want to dry green, I’ll have to let the subsequent primings ripen more.
 

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PressuredLeaf

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I picked some very very ripe piloto leaves today. They feel like leather and are extremely fragile. They are too thick to be wrapper so I don’t mind some cosmetic damage. They are also very heavy, one plant gave me about 3-4lbs of green leaf.Hopefully they cure well, as it seems like piloto is the hardest leaf for me to color cure. I’ve also come up with a new kiln design. It’s the trunk of my car.
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skychaser

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I’ve also come up with a new kiln design. It’s the trunk of my car.
The poor mans kiln. It actually works pretty well. Should work really well in a car trunk in AZ. I hear it gets warm there.
A lot of us have done it. You put leaf that's in medium case in a zip lock bag and toss it on the seat or dash of a car sitting in the sun. You need to open the bag and let it breath for a half hour or so every couple days. After a few days it will start to smell like a cat peed in it. That's good. It's the nitrates being converted to ammonia which floats away when you let some new air in. After 2-3 weeks it starts to smell pretty good. After 4 weeks it smells very nice and gets smokable.
 

PressuredLeaf

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The poor mans kiln. It actually works pretty well. Should work really well in a car trunk in AZ. I hear it gets warm there.
A lot of us have done it. You put leaf that's in medium case in a zip lock bag and toss it on the seat or dash of a car sitting in the sun. You need to open the bag and let it breath for a half hour or so every couple days. After a few days it will start to smell like a cat peed in it. That's good. It's the nitrates being converted to ammonia which floats away when you let some new air in. After 2-3 weeks it starts to smell pretty good. After 4 weeks it smells very nice and gets smokable.
It’s only been a few days, but I’m happy with progress. It’s been a mild august in my opinion, but my trunk is still probably 120+. I took a whiff today and it smells a bit like un cured tobacco with a bit of a acrid smell, not quite ammonia but close. I’ll leave them in there for a few more weeks.
 

PressuredLeaf

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So the trunk kiln seems to be working nicely. Interestingly enough, I think I identified what the acrid smell is - sulfur dioxide. If you haven’t smelled sulfur dioxide, it is hard to pinpoint. It doesn’t have the rotten egg smell of H2S, rather it smells quite acrid and sharp, kinda like chlorine. I wonder if all the sulfur I added two years ago is causing the accumulation of sulfur species in my leaf? It will be interesting to see if this continues through curing.

I also picked a lot tobacco today - mostly mids of self seeded piloto, some corojo, and some little Dutch. It’s currently yellowing in a pile and will be hung in the next few days.
 

PressuredLeaf

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It’s very interesting how late my tobacco is taking to properly ripen. Even when picking only extremely rugose and yellowing leaves, i still have problems color curing in my humidity tent ( mostly a piloto issue). Even more interesting is I have been finding color cured leaves on very large plants. I may just let most of the leaves color cure on the plant and pick them off for fermenting as they accumulate.

Also, as usual I did a terrible job keeping up with the garden. I’ll be using weed tarp next year.
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Byronodmon

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It’s only been a few days, but I’m happy with progress. It’s been a mild august in my opinion, but my trunk is still probably 120+. I took a whiff today and it smells a bit like un cured tobacco with a bit of a acrid smell, not quite ammonia but close. I’ll leave them in there for a few more weeks.
So I don't have an official kiln made yet. I do live in Utah and it's still nice and hot this year and my truck has a black shell over the bed. I have some completely color cured leaves but they are super crispy.
Do you mist them with water or put them in your curing chamber to get them pliable before putting them in the ziplock bags?
Or are you putting yellow but not totally dry leaves in there?
Thanks for the idea of using your car as a fermentation device! Lol
 

PressuredLeaf

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Arizona
So I don't have an official kiln made yet. I do live in Utah and it's still nice and hot this year and my truck has a black shell over the bed. I have some completely color cured leaves but they are super crispy.
Do you mist them with water or put them in your curing chamber to get them pliable before putting them in the ziplock bags?
Or are you putting yellow but not totally dry leaves in there?
Thanks for the idea of using your car as a fermentation device! Lol
I bring them into high case overnight before bagging them. To me, high case is fully hydrated soft flexible leaf that doesn’t feel wet. No mold issue me for me with the hot trunk. I’m about to roll a sampler cigar, I’ll let you know how it turns out!
 
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