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Old 03-16-2011, 02:04 AM   #41
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Can you grow tobacco in Michigan? The answer is yes, although it isn’t as easy as growing potatoes. Tobacco production would work better in the southern part of the state especially in heat sink areas like Detroit. Commercial production probably wouldn’t be cost effective but if you want to grow some tobacco for home use you can. It’s legal to grow your own tobacco but you won’t be able to sell your crop.

The hardest part of producing tobacco for home use is not growing it, but getting it cured properly. But with a little work the homeowner can grow a tobacco crop for personal use. Since nicotine in tobacco is a potent poison that can be absorbed through the skin always wear gloves when handling tobacco plants.

Tobacco is a warm weather crop, needing long seasons of warmth to develop large, flavorful plants. In Michigan you’ll probably want to start the seeds indoors in March or April and transplant them into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. High plastic tunnels might also be the answer to lengthening the season and increasing warmth for the plants. At the bottom of the article are some companies that sell tobacco seed.

Tobacco seed is very fine, like grains of black salt. Sprinkle it thinly in paper or peat pots filled with sterile seed starting mix that has been moistened. Use 3-4 inch pots. Press the seeds against the soil but don’t try to cover them. Use bottom heat to germinate the seedlings or place pots in a warm room -75 degrees F. Water pots from the bottom by setting them in trays of water.

How many plants you will need to grow depends on how big your plants get, and how much you smoke. The first year you attempt to grow your own smokes start small, maybe 2 dozen plants maximum and see if growing tobacco, and especially curing it, is worth the trouble for you.

As seeds grow use a diluted liquid fertilizer on them every ten days. Products like Rapid Gro or the generic equivalents will do. Tobacco seedlings need the brightest light you can provide, if you don’t have a greenhouse use overhead grow lights. Thin the seedlings to one per pot by cutting the other seedlings off at ground level.

When the weather warms above 70 degrees, harden plants off by moving them outside in a shady place for a few hours a day. 1-2 weeks of hardening time is ideal. After all danger of frost has passed, transplant tobacco seedlings into a full sun spot, with light, rich soil. Space plants 2-3 feet apart in the rows, which should be a minimum of 3 feet apart. Don’t grow tobacco in the same spot each year.

Tobacco is a heavy feeder. Work in a slow release fertilizer for vegetable gardens before planting. Keep transplants watered well for the first 2 weeks. After that water if you don’t get 1 inch of rain each week, or if you notice plants wilting. In late July you may want to fertilize with a liquid garden fertilizer, especially if you notice plants yellowing or growth is slow.

Tobacco plants will grow rapidly if the weather is warm. Keep your tobacco weeded well until plants are large enough to shade out weeds. By the end of summer you should have plants 4-5 feet tall with broad leaves 2 feet or more in length. Tobacco has dangling white tube shaped flowers that are fragrant and attractive to moths at night. You do not need to let tobacco bloom to get smoking tobacco. The plants are actually attractive but space consuming in the back of the flower bed.

Tobacco is prone to several insects and diseases when grown in the south. The good news is that in the north few of these problems exist and tobacco can usually be grown without pesticides. Buy seed that is certified virus free.

Tobacco is like wine in that the area it is grown in, the strain of tobacco and little secret tricks and recipes for curing and fermenting the product will produce different flavors. Home growers can get an adequate product for rolling cigarettes but may not be able to produce good pipe tobacco.

In September as leaves start to yellow slightly - and before the first frost- each leaf is cut from the plant. All leaves may not be ready at the same time. The leaves are generally piled up with stems in the same direction and then a sharp stick is poked through the pile near the stem end. The tobacco laden sticks are hung in a dark, warm place for at least 2 months. Spread the leaves apart slightly on the stick.

Attics, closed up garages, and sheds may be good tobacco curing spots. Increasing air flow with a fan may help. Old vans or freight trailers sitting in the sun can be effective curing places. In a damp, cold Michigan fall your curing crop may develop mold, and any moldy leaves should be discarded.

After the tobacco is brown and crumbly, the stem part is removed and the tobacco crushed or cut and then generally it is cured for several months or even years longer. These are basic instructions and you can research various curing procedures for developing different types and flavors of tobacco

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Old 03-16-2011, 02:07 AM   #42
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What struck me first about tobacco seeds is that you don’t really sow them in a traditional sense. You sprinkle them on top the soil. This was hard for me to accept, but that is how it’s done. One method I use is taking a 6”or 8” diameter or a large planter box larger is better. Sprinkle the seed on top of the soil you don’t want to disturb them by pouring water on them. So take your pot and fill it with a good potting soil and saturate it. Let it drain for an hour then sprinkle the seeds on the top of the soil. Now mist the seeds once a day, keep them moist, from this point until the sprouts are a couple of inches tall they are extremely vulnerable. Don’t let them dry out or they are gone. Do not cover, this way you will have a less chance for mold, sunscald or actually cooking the sprouts. Start the seeds around March or May. Set the pots on a southern facing windowsill when the weather gets warmer put the pots outside during the day and bring them in if frost is coming to your area. Let them gradually become accustomed to the sun. After May 31st there is not any more chance of frost, set them outside permanently. If you have limited growing space a five gallon bucket with holes melted or drilled in it works fine just make sure it is watered daily. When transplanting, set the plants about an inch above the (crown) this is where the root meets the stem. Take a plastic milk jug or liter of pop bottle (use clear not green) and cut the bottom out and remove the cap and cover the transplant. This protects them from the sun and keeps slugs away. Plant 2 or 3 transplants in each spot within 2” of each other and when they out grow the bottles, jugs let the best stay and pull the others. Water them well and keep them moist until they take hold. Most of the time the outer larger leaves of the seedlings will die after transplanting, this is ok, as long as there is a small bit of green in the center of the seedling it will come back strong. After the plants are a foot high they will take care of themselves with normal rainfall.


Methods for growing and processing tobacco

Space the plants at least 2 feet apart, 3 would be better. The more space between each plant the easier they are to inspect.

Keep your soil at 7-7.5pH and if you can get a hold of some horse manure, leaves, grass clippings, all the scraps from past tobacco plants (stems, stalks, useless leaf etc.), I sometimes throw spent cat litter in the compost pile and leave it to ripen using it later. Barbecue charcoal ash is gold for tobacco growing. I spread this out at the end of the season, usually December. Apply dolomite over this and let it all leach into the soil. In the spring February, April, May, till this in, and let it sit for a few weeks then test the pH of the soil and adjust powdered lime if needed. If you want you can give your plants a shot of miracle grow once or twice in the season.

After the plants are growing you may want to start priming the plants, priming is the lower leaves start turning yellow brown you can pick them and start stringing them with a needle on button or upholstery thread from your craft store, and hang them up to dry. The ones lowest to the ground can be left there or pulled off and put in the mulch pile.

Here comes decision time, your plants are anywhere from 3-5 ft’ high and they are forming flower heads, right in the center at the top of plant. You can just snap these off will your hands and get better tobacco or get a zillion seeds you don’t need. What I have learned is to let 2 or 3 plants come to flower and seed and that is all you will need for next year plus give gifts to all your tobacco friends.

Aphids are a little problem I find annoying. These little buggers come out of nowhere and before you know it your infested. I don’t like chemicals and poisons. There are probably safe ones out there but I don’t use them. The old stand-by, a fairly swift stream of water will knock them off and keep them in check but don’t break the leaves off when you’re debugging. You can wash them off but a few days later there back. If you wish you can use (Seven) for plants and vegetables. Another problem you might have is a large green tomato worm. These things are huge; some of them can get 3”long and a 1/2” thick. They can eat a medium to large leaf in a half of a day, look for them under the leaf and squash them.

It’s late August the plants sometimes sooner if your started your plants a month ahead of schedule. The plants have been full grown and they are starting to ripen some are fully ripe. This is when the leaves are yellowish. The lower leaves go first and then the upper ones you should have 22-25 leaves on the plant this is perfect. Harvest them on a sunny day. Chop them down at the base at about 10 A.M. after most of the morning dew burns off. Set them up on something that will allow airflow, you can use old fencing, window frames, screens, sawhorse whatever you have. Drill a hole about ¼” inch through the thick part of the base of plant about a 1” or 2” from where you cut it. You can use many things to string them on some use nylon tying twine, butchers cord, telephone wire, just make sure you can’t break it with your hands. You Can hang them between basement, garage, barn joists, with some nails or screws. Hang your plants with a couple of inches between them for airflow. Put a fan on them if you want they will cure quickly with a lot of fresh air. If there in a garage open the door, in a basement open the window, on the days when it is not raining, when it is raining close the door, inspect them everyday looking for mold. A little mold on the main stalk or the main center rib of the leaf is a leading indicator that there is too much moisture and the leaf will mold. When you spot this you’ve got to do something to increase airflow, decrease moisture in the air and/or heat the place where they are hung if it isn’t heated. The aroma of drying tobacco you have grown is almost spiritual.

When tobacco is completely dry, yes brittle, wait for a rainy damp day open the windows and doors and let the moisture dampen soften the leaves. If this doesn’t happen till spring then so be it. Once the leaves are dry nothing is going to harm them if you don’t handle them. You can moisten them with a light misting, me I wait for nature to moisten them, I never been left down.

If you want to learn more about flavoring and curing tobacco go to youtube grow tobacco

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Old 03-16-2011, 02:14 AM   #43
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Tobacco can be grown throughout the United States including Alaska. If you need seeds I sell about 2000 seeds for $3

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Old 03-16-2011, 02:18 AM   #44
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Sounds like I need to grow some of that. While we're on the gold issue, should I trade it for silver?

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Old 03-20-2011, 04:15 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poink88 View Post
I wish. That price is long gone, probably 6 months ago.

===============================================

In case I am not clear...you can easily sell gold and silver easily even in most SHTF scenario.
I just started reading this forum today (03/20/2011) and decided to join. Hi!
Thought it was interesting to see how things have changed in ~year.
The spot price for silver is ~$35.28/ounce as of Friday.
Silver has doubled since August 2010.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:14 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJDL1971 View Post
I just started reading this forum today (03/20/2011) and decided to join. Hi!
Thought it was interesting to see how things have changed in ~year.
The spot price for silver is ~$35.28/ounce as of Friday.
Silver has doubled since August 2010.
Welcome! Yeah, things have changed quickly.

Take a look around, feel free to comment, but be sure to stop by the Intro section and tell us a bit about yourself.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:05 AM   #47
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I just went to the bank friday and bought 6 rolls of dimes &3 rolls quarters. I regulary do this to search for the odd silver coin.
Well, I got 1 silver dime in each roll and nothing it the first 2 rolls of quartes. The third roll was all silver. JACKPOT.
cost $10.00----40 silver quarters..... $259.05 as of friday
Just wanted to brag a little.

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