TOBACCO growing and curing information.
Annual plants from the Americas, but will grow as a perennial where there is no hard frost. Originally used for thousands of years in Native American shamanistic ceremonies. Now, by lowering the nicotine content through curing, it has become the most powerfully addictive substance in the world.
Easily grown, start seeds like tomatoes in pots indoors, and transplant seedlings out into the garden, spacing 2-3 feet apart.
Plants need rich, well fertilized soil in full sun. Start seeds as you would tomatoes, planting 10-15 seeds in a 3-4" plastic pot in potting soil, sprinkling on soil surface, and do not cover, and keep young seedlings in the shade. NEVER USE SOIL FROM THE GARDEN to start seeds!
Always keep a pinch of seeds aside to plant on moist cotton. You should have germination within 14 days, either in the pots or on top of the moist cotton. If the seeds germinate on the cotton and not in the potting soil, you should change your potting soil and try again.
Tobacco seeds on moist cotton
Seedlings starting to sprout on cotton, only 15 days later.
Put your pot in a place that gets good air
circulation and keep the pots moist
but not soaking wet all the time. Seeds will germinate in 2-3
weeks and let the plants grow until they are large enough to transplant
into their own individual pots.
1.) Fill a 3-4 inch plastic pot with potting soil. NEVER USE SOIL FROM THE GARDEN TO START SEEDS. Buy a potting soil from a garden store, like one of the Miracle Gro® brands.
2.) Put some seed in one hand, and take a pinch and sprinkle on soil surface.
3.) About two weeks later, the seedlings start to germinate:
life-sized, big enough to transplant into its own individual
Carefully separate seedlings and repot each individual plant into their own 3"-4" pots and let grow until they are 3-4" tall. Plant out into the garden when night-time temperatures are above 50°F, and feed with liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.
Plants will grow to about 4-5 feet tall, with leaves up to two feet long, so space plants in rows, placing the rows 5 feet apart, and at least four feet between plants in the row. Commercial growers plant closer, but by giving each plant more room, more space can help avoid the fungus and insect problems that cause commercial growers to use a lot of sprays on their plants.
The following growing information, shared by a tobacco farmer from Kentucky.
The soil is usually fertilized before the plant are planted, and then a second time when plants are knee-high.
When flowerhead start developing, they are cut, called "topping." Wear gloves and use a knife or garden nippers, and topping causes the plant to divert the energy that would be devoted to the flower stalk, to help the leaves develop more fully.
Harvesting usually starts eight weeks after the flower stalks are cut, when the leaves start to turn yellowish at the leaf tips.
Stalks are cut with their leaves attached, and hung indoors for two to three months to cure, in a garage or barn, a building with good air circulation. Do not dry this indoors in a closed room, or in the oven.
At the end of the curing period, the leaves are stripped from the stems on a dry day, the leaves will crumble, so wait until a moist or rainy day, to make the leaves pliable.
Tobacco yields on unirrigated land is usually 2,600-3,000 pound per acre, and irrigated lands can produce up to 4,000 pounds per acre, when using the closer commercial spacing of 25-32 inches between plants, with rows 40 inches apart. That translates to 1/2 pound to one pound of dried tobacco per plant.
USDA quotas have been converted to direct
contracts. Until a few years ago, a
USDA tobacco allotment and quota system was in place for many
decades, where the US Department of Agriculture formerly gave
each commercial tobacco farmer an allotment and production quota,
but that system has been abandoned. Now, all the commercial tobacco
in the USA is grown under farmer contracts directly with the tobacco
manufacturers, and the prices paid in 2008 for good quality whole
leaf Burley was $1.80-2.25 per pound.
WARNING: Home grown tobacco can be very strong and even dangerous, so smoke with caution until you become familiar with the nicotine level of your product. As you probably know, tobacco is known to cause cancer, birth defects and other health problems.
POSTAGE and PACKING to USA customers is extra, $1 for the
first packet, 10 cents for postage for each additional extra. California customer please add 7 cents per packet
for sales tax.
Print off this web page, with the instructions
for planting and curing for free.
Updated May 21, 2014.