Whole Leaf Tobacco

Tigeris' 2020 Bachelor Party Grow Blog

Tigeris

New Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
1
Points
3
Location
USDA 7b
Cigars pair well with weddings. I had my first cigar the day before my brothers' wedding. I smoked my second with the bride of a friend in another wedding, actually getting to know her for the first time. Last fall, when my best man got engaged, I decided that I would try to grow some for his bachelor party, new year's eve 2020.

I went into this with five basic assumptions
  1. Cigars are made of tobacco leaves
  2. Tobacco is a plant.
  3. I can grow a plant.
  4. Better yet, my region is historically (if not currently) famous for tobacco production!
  5. I've got a whole season to grow and months to spare before the party!
Like any first time grower, I'm making quite a few mistakes. I bet you've already noticed some! Let's elaborate and count the mistakes so far:

Mistake #1 - Varietal selection
"I'll just google 'tobacco seeds' and pick some varieties that were traditionally grown in my region or nearby. Obviously, I won't be able to grow something that's tropically grown in zone 7, so let's go ahead and throw out anything which doesn't have an English name. I'm sure I'll figure out the difference between burley, flue cured, and shade as I go, but I have some good shady areas at least. To be safe, however, let's get at least two varieties that mention cigars explicitly."

This is how I came to be growing:
  • Connecticut Shade (air cured)
  • Yellow Mammoth (a flue cured variety)
  • TN-86 (burley, air cured)
Okay, fine, the taste may not be perfect, but none of us are aficionados either so whatever. Got my tiny-ass seeds. Let's do this.

IMG_20200519_161904.jpg

Mistake #2 - Assuming I can grow a plant.
What kind of masochistic seed needs to be smaller than the head of a pin, but also has to be wet constantly and exposed to direct sunlight in order to germinate!? I'm probably washing away the seeds every time I water the potting soil since I can't even tell where the stupid things are since they look EXACTLY LIKE DIRT. Also, it's been, like, 3 weeks since I sowed and I have exactly 0 sprouts.

Success #1 - I can, in fact, grow a plant.
HAHAHAHAHA! I HAVE CREATED LIFE! THE TRICK IS TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT THE SOIL IS ALWAYS WET BUT NOT SOPPING EVEN THOUGH THAT'S KIND OF AN UNCLEAR LINE TO TREAD IF YOU'RE UNFAMILIAR. LOOK AT MY PLANTS! LOOK AT THEM!

IMG_20200519_161643.jpg

Mistake #3 - Shade doesn't literally mean shade.
I still hold that Connecticut Cheesecloth would be a better name. Okay, I'll clear out some more garden space and just grow it in the sun and we'll deal. The wrappers don't have to look or taste perfect. Good thing I have a pandemic all of a sudden to give me time to garden.

Mistake #4 - New Year's is, in fact, a ridiculously ambitious timeline to have a smokeable cigar.
Okay, so I didn't get anything to germinate until late April. I still have plenty of growing season left before frost is a concern. Let's look at other people's seed-to-cigar timelines online and see where they were at this point.

*Begins reading*

Color curing is a neat process, but I wonder why all these youtube guides and reddit posts peter off after the color curing and never show the completed cigar.

*Continues reading*

Why do people keep talking about fermenting. Do they mean aging? Is that different than curing? Do I have to get yeast or lactobacteria? That seems stupid. I bet I don't have to do that.

*Even more reading*

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.

Success #2 - Finding this forum.

Ok, thank God, there's a really good guide for people who are stupid like me. And hey, maybe some of my earlier mistakes aren't as bad as I thought! Man, I wish I had started with this guide. Guess I'm going to build that $50 kiln.

Mistake #5 - Man, my plants are growing slowly.
*Looks hard at plants*

Well gee, maybe that's because they need a bigger pot, ya dingus.

Success #3 - Dingus got a bigger pot and the plants got bigger.
Better yet, I've still got ~40 viable plants!
IMG_20200519_162055.jpg
 

Alpine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
884
Points
63
Location
Eastern alps, near Trento, Italy
Welcome to FTT
Peruse the forum and ask questions, you’ll end up with more tobacco than you started with. Each one of us forum members made mistakes in our first years of growing tobacco, don’t be discouraged and keep up the good job: your seedlings looks perfect.

pier
 

Knucklehead

Moderator
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2012
Messages
9,232
Points
113
Location
NE Alabama
Welcome to our world brother. Just keep at it and don’t let those little tiny tobacco seed beat you. They will certainly try. :)
 

GreenDragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2018
Messages
1,113
Points
113
Location
Austin, TX
Howdy and Welcome to the Forum! Many of us started in the same place and made the same mistakes, but had a lot of fun along the way. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, growing, curing, and fermenting (aging) is only part of the equation. You also have to learn to roll, which is the most fun part of the whole process. If you envision handing out some bespoke home rolled cigars, a few words of advice:

1) Start practicing how to roll now. They say it takes about 100 cigars to really start to get the hang of rolling consistently good cigars. Also, depending on your cigar resting philosophy, you may want to brag on how your cigars were aged for X months in a used Bourbon Barrel, etc, so the sooner you start, the better ;)
2) Order a beginners kit from Whole Leaf Tobacco (link above). I highly recommend this one for new rollers - they tend to be universally liked: https://wholeleaftobacco.com/product/melodioso-cremosa/
3) Roll one, smoke one. The best way to learn.
4) I like to think of whatever crop I'm growing this year will be used for cigars the following year.
5) Your first year growing is all about learning a ton of information, much of which really has to be experienced first hand before it clicks.
6) Above all, have fun! Tons of information here on the forum and friendly folks to help answer questions.
 
Top