Whole Leaf Tobacco

purpose built drying shed/barn

smokingsteve

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I am not worried about the freezer panels or the shed itself. I am more worried about whatever device you will be using as a humidifier and heater. Fortunately, towards the tail end (when it is nearing 74 degrees C) of the flue-curing process, the humidity aspect is mostly unimportant, but even for kilning, a typical humidifier is probably not geared for operating at even 50 degrees C (the approximate minimum temperature needed to prevent mold).

The same applies to your heater if it will be in the kiln/shed. If it is "outside" blowing heat in, then perhaps it may fare better.

Point is, typical humidifiers and heaters are not meant to be stored or even operating at 30+ temperature at 60+% humidity, and 30 is the low end of what temperature is required in kilning/flue-curing (you're set for air-curing, but all that effort is better suited to finding a way to flue-cure)

(although the main thing I may be missing is New Zealand is probably already humid, so maintaining required humidity levels may not be as difficult)
The main thing the shed would be used for in the first stages would be air curing.
The humidity is my biggest issue the temperatures go all over the show but I can deal to that the heater could even be a similar style to a sauna one with the humidity control being a spray unit once it gets low mist into the air or heating source and raise the temperature that way. But at this stage it's just a room I can control the humidity in. As for the kiln yes I will have it running at a minimum of 50c with a crockpot style like many others have.
If at a later date I want to use the shed for flue curing then I would have to look at a heating source that could fire upto those temperatures without burning the shed down
 

ChinaVoodoo

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The buckets just spawned a whole new batch of questions I want to ask, but I'll save them for another day (it's late)
I was heating the 3x3x4' kiln once again with lightbulbs and a fan. 75W maybe, I can't remember. And the tobacco was in a couple sealed homebrewing buckets inside the kiln. Moisture couldn't escape the buckets so there was no need for a humidifier.
 

deluxestogie

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@ChinaVoodoo, I've added your purpose-built shed thread to the Index of Key Forum Threads.

In the present thread, much of the complexity seems to originate in conflating air-curing requirements with kilning requirements with flue-curing requirements.

curing structures:
  • Air-curing: this is simply a shed with ventilation (unless you live in a desert), and needs to be spacious enough to accommodate your entire crop to be air-cured.
  • Kilning: this type of chamber can be any size, since you have the entire 12 month year during which to kiln your leaf. It needs to reach (and survive) a max of 130°F, requires sufficient insulation, a heat source, and if curing hanging leaf or open containers, it also requires a source of humidity (both of which a Crockpot can provide), and must seal fairly well.
  • Flue-curing: a flue-cure chamber needs to be capable of reaching 165°F, usually requires no humidity source, but does require sufficient insulation and seal. The size of a flue-cure chamber needs to be large enough to hold only one priming of your flue-cure leaf. So, if you estimate a priming of 4 leaves per flue-cure plant, and are planting, say 10 flue-cure plants, then you would require flue-curing space for only 40 hanging leaves at a time. It runs for about a week, and is then finished, and ready for when you do the next priming. My flue-curing "season" lasts about 6 weeks--6 primings, and is then done for the year.
My shed is just a plain old wooden shed, with about 100 square feet. My kiln (endoskeletal chamber) is 2'deep x 3'wide x 4'high, and is also capable of withstanding and creating flue-curing conditions.

It's easy to go off the deep end, planning a multi-purpose, multi-function, automated, pre-programmed robotic megachamber. If the money you save by not paying tobacco taxes has no better use, then go for it.

Bob
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I did go overboard with my build on account of size because I designed it to also hang moose which if done properly requires a humidifier. Overall, I think it cost me about twice as much to build as was necessary.

I have to argue about air curing in the sub arctic, though Bob. In a year, I can do several flue cure primings, but end up air curing close to half my crop because of cold weather. By the time my leaf is cured at 80-100°F, which can last up to a month, it can be -20°C outside, (heck, it could be -20 a week after i harvest) , and i would prefer to heat my shed gently, rather than with a blast furnace. This means that I have to have good insulation in the shed just to air cure. And because of the dramatic air temperature difference between inside and outside, if not humidified, the inside of the shed will be 0% rh, and the leaf will dry green.
 
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ChinaVoodoo

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But overall, I think Bob is 100% right about New Zealand. I don't know what cold weather Steve was referring to, but of what I know about New Zealand, it's no where near as cold or dry as Alberta. In New Zealand, you should be able to get most if not all of your crop harvested and flue cured before first frost.

A curing arrangement there can be the same as what he does in Virginia. A good sized basic wood shed and a well built dual purpose kiln/flue curing chamber.
 

Knucklehead

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After many hours of google searching there isn't much info on purpose built small scale tobacco drying sheds. I am searching because I intend during the coming winter months (I live in New Zealand) to build a shed just for drying and curing tobacco.

I understand that they are two different things but I want a space to do both so a shed for drying that also has a kiln built inside it.
Does anyone have a shed like this or any modifications they think would be great to integrate into the build?

I already know I want it to be well insulated (either freezer panels or wood with fiber insulation) I will control the incoming air and temperature with a 12v diesel heater (used for caravans) I will also control the humidity with a humidifier. Thoughts?
How much tobacco do you grow per year?
What are the outside temps/humidity as curing begins and ends?
What are the temps/humidity during storage time after cured? Do you hope to continue hanging the cured leaf in the rafters after cure or will you store in containers and manipulate the environment in the containers to avoid mold?
If you plan to store in containers, will the shed have a use during off times? Will it need a floor?
 

smokingsteve

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How much tobacco do you grow per year?
What are the outside temps/humidity as curing begins and ends?
What are the temps/humidity during storage time after cured? Do you hope to continue hanging the cured leaf in the rafters after cure or will you store in containers and manipulate the environment in the containers to avoid mold?
If you plan to store in containers, will the shed have a use during off times? Will it need a floor?
200+ plants but this year has been significantly less due to moving to a new property.
So last week was 25c to 30c and 30rh to 40rh
This was drying alot of my leaves green.
And then overnight It changed to 10c to 15c and 80+rh so it's so hard having to move the tobacco from the shed inside or to the greenhouse retaining moisture so it doesn't dry green and then trying to reduce moisture so it doesn't mold.
I know it sounds overboard building a shed just for tobacco but I'm paying 36usd for 1oz of tobacco.
So even if I spend a few thousand dollars I will spend that in a year buying tobacco.
 

Knucklehead

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200+ plants but this year has been significantly less due to moving to a new property.
So last week was 25c to 30c and 30rh to 40rh
This was drying alot of my leaves green.
And then overnight It changed to 10c to 15c and 80+rh so it's so hard having to move the tobacco from the shed inside or to the greenhouse retaining moisture so it doesn't dry green and then trying to reduce moisture so it doesn't mold.
I know it sounds overboard building a shed just for tobacco but I'm paying 36usd for 1oz of tobacco.
So even if I spend a few thousand dollars I will spend that in a year buying tobacco.
Yeah, I see where you are coming from and where you are trying to go now.
What varieties of tobacco are you growing?
 

smokingsteve

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Yeah, I see where you are coming from and where you are trying to go now.
What varieties of tobacco are you growing?
I normally grow Virginia Gold as its common blend they grow here but this year I have tried
Little Dutch, Connecticut broadleaf, black sea Samsun Turkish, staghorn and a few other that didnt last. My main crops got destroyed through the moving process so I only have small numbers of these this year. I'm looking for a burley that can withstand abit more temperature fluctuations that's my next challenge.
 

Knucklehead

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If you can anticipate those humidity swings, you can open and close the shed doors. I would close my doors before a rain when the humidity would shoot up and it would trap the low humidity inside until the rain passed. Or I could open the door while the humidity was low during the daytime and close it at night when the humidity would rise to prevent mold or rot or vice versa depending on what I needed to trap inside with the leaf. I‘m not familiar with your climate so is that something you could work with or are you talking about a need to humidify and dehumidify rather rapidly?
 

smokingsteve

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If you can anticipate those humidity swings, you can open and close the shed doors. I would close my doors before a rain when the humidity would shoot up and it would trap the low humidity inside until the rain passed. Or I could open the door while the humidity was low during the daytime and close it at night when the humidity would rise to prevent mold or rot or vice versa depending on what I needed to trap inside with the leaf. I‘m not familiar with your climate so is that something you could work with or are you talking about a need to humidify and dehumidify rather rapidly?
Today I have been monitoring the shed I am currently using and it was 85rh and an hour later it was 55rh so the fluctuations are huge at the moment. I have tried opening doors and it helps to a certain extent but I would be much more comfortable with a room that could do that automatically.
 
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