How to Grow and Cure Tobacco at Home

Updated on February 16, 2018
The Old Firm profile image

I enjoy compact gardening on a budget and have experience growing tobacco.

Source

Firstly, a warning: smoking can be bad for your health. That being said, so can drinking, singing off-key, eating too much (or not enough meat), and so on. You get the picture. This article is not about health issues or hobbyhorses; it's about growing tobacco and curing it. What you do with it then is your own damned business.

Secondly, don't break the law. Here in New Zealand, you can buy tobacco seed, grow the stuff, and, if you want to, smoke it quite lawfully. You may not legally sell it, trade it, or give it away. The same regulations govern brewing, winemaking, and the distilling of alcoholic beverages. If you live elsewhere, check your local legislation to ensure that you're operating within the law.

Having gotten that off my hairy little chest, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

Anyone Can Grow Tobacco Successfully!

Virginia tobacco, the stuff of commerce, is one of the hardiest plants you'll ever grow. If where you live is warm enough to grow cabbage, tobacco will thrive. If it's warmer there, that's even better.

I grow tobacco in a tiny area where I live, about 400 feet (120 metres) above sea level, with a moderate, semi-coastal climate. For three months of winter, we have occasional light frosts, bitterly strong winds, and some hail. I planted a few seedlings in February last year as an experiment. That's late summer here in the Southern Hemisphere. They were small plants, about 2ft (60cm.) high when winter hit. They stopped growing until spring, but the leaves stayed healthy—no wilting or browning—and around the end of September, they took off again. Compared with correctly grown plants, they were small, but still over 6ft high.

I got tired of fighting past the damn things to get to my garden shed and pulled them out last May, still healthy and hardy, with a root system the size of a football.

Note: I'll continue this in feet and inches only, for the sake of our American cousins. For those of you more comfortable with metrics, 1 ft. = 30cm.

What You'll Need

  1. Seeds: You can buy seeds here in NZ from Kings Seeds in Katikati. For North American readers, use Victory Seed Co. in Oregon. My thanks to YouGrowGirl for this contact. Elsewhere, try local seed merchants, heritage seed suppliers, or the Internet. When ordering online, be sure to check importing restrictions.
  2. Somewhere to grow the seedlings: A sunny window-sill is fine. The seed is tiny, like ground pepper, so it won't need much space at first.
  3. A shallow container: An ice-cream container with a few drain holes punched in the bottom works well. A six-part seed tray other seedlings come in or even a small egg tray would also work.
  4. Seed-growing mix, or a mixture of fine soil and sand
  5. A bucket: This will come in handy when you soak your seedlings.
  6. Somewhere to grow the plants: The seedlings need to be planted with a minimum spacing of 2ft between seedlings and rows, although 3ft between rows is better. They prefer full sun but will grow well in partial shade.The leaves can be up to 2ft long each, droop, and grow on the main stalk from ground level up, diminishing in size with height. A full-grown plant is 7ft tall and self-supporting, so make sure you have enough space before you start growing.
  7. A small knife: This will be used to slit the leaves and prepare them for curing.
  8. Thin tomato stake (or something similar)
  9. A length of cord or wire
  10. Nails: You'll use these last three items to hang your tobacco leaves to cure. Measure the space you'll be using to see how much wire/cord you'll need. Two nails are enough to hang one length of cord/wire. Plan accordingly.
  11. A warm, dry place to cure your tobacco: Attics and garages typically work best.
  12. Knife and cutting board, food processor, tobacco slicer, OR pasta maker: See the section below on "Preparing the End Product" and choose whichever method suits you best.

How Many Plants Do You Need?

This depends on what you want the tobacco for. If it's just for the fun of growing the stuff and possibly to use the leaves to make a bug spray, a couple of plants are fine. If you want to cure and smoke it, put in at least a dozen plants if possible. If you can't, stick in as much as you can.

This seems a good place to take you by the hand and walk you through some basic arithmetic if you haven't already done so yourself. Take what you pay a week for smoking (probably around $50). Multiply it by 52 to find what it costs you a year (over $2,500?). Subtract the one-time cost of the seed ($2.50 buys about 1,000 seeds at the shop down the road from me) and the price of the couple of cups of seed-raising mix and fertiliser you may have purchased. You probably displaced 12 cabbages to grow enough tobacco to keep you in cancer sticks for a year. Go figure.

How to Plant Tobacco Seedlings

  1. Put seed-growing mix, or a mixture of fine soil and sand in a shallow container.
  2. Stand the tray in a dish so that you can water it without soaking the carpet.
  3. Sprinkle seeds very lightly over the soil, and water (note: It's probably best to do this by placing the container in a bucket or the sink to soak in an inch or two of water, then allowing it to drain before you put it back on its dish).
  4. Cover with a newspaper or a bit of cardboard and keep damp.
  5. In about 2 weeks, the seedlings should start showing.
  6. Thin the seedlings as soon as they're big enough, either placing individuals into four-inch pots or about a dozen into an ice-cream container.
  7. When they're about four inches high, and after the last of the frost, plant them out.

Be warned: I used the barest pinch of seeds sprinkled into a six-pot seed tray and got over 100 plants!

Freshly transplanted seedlings.(14Jan09)
Freshly transplanted seedlings.(14Jan09)

Maintaining Your Tobacco Plants

Now that you've got your tobacco planted—it's quite an attractive ornamental with small, pretty, pink flowers—how do you raise the delicate little darlings? Well, short of dynamiting them, running them over with a ten-ton digger, searing them with a flamethrower, or soaking the stuff in weed-killer, tobacco pretty much looks after itself. Treat it as you would tomatoes:

  1. Plant it in reasonably rich, well-dug soil (with well-composted vegetable matter if you've got it).
  2. Water it regularly in dry weather.
  3. Give it a side dressing of general garden fertiliser now and again.
  4. Weed around it.
  5. Sit back, drink your moonshine (I'm doing an article on distilling, later), and watch it grow.

Note: When it gets bigger, you'll see small tobacco plants starting to grow as side-shoots from the main stalk at the base of the leaves, the same as with tomatoes and that other stuff some people smoke. The same rules apply: pinch out or otherwise remove them. If you plant them, they'll grow for a later crop. When the plants reach maturity they'll set flower heads at the top. Pinch them out as well. You may need to stand on something to do it! I suggest that you leave one plant to flower for seed.

Keeping Pests Away From Your Tobacco Plants

Here in New Zealand, nothing much seems to bug tobacco, or mine anyway, either from above or below ground. After all, cigarette butts soaked in a bucket of water was an old way of making insect spray that my parents and grandparents used. If you do have problems, see your local nurseryman or talk to a friend who gardens. Generally, what works on tomatoes should work on tobacco.

You might try planting cabbage amongst the 'backy to deter the cabbage butterfly; I intend to this year.

Tobacco plants nearing maturity. Bottom leaves have been harvested from the rear plants.  These plants are less than three months older than the seedlings in the previous photo. (14Jan09)
Tobacco plants nearing maturity. Bottom leaves have been harvested from the rear plants. These plants are less than three months older than the seedlings in the previous photo. (14Jan09)

Harvesting and Curing Your Tobacco

A lot of unmitigated drivel is put about over the difficulty of curing tobacco. I believe that it's an evil plot put out by the tobacco magnates and perpetuated by our respective, but seldom respected or respectable, governments to wring money from us unnecessarily. Curing tobacco is basically the drying of it in a moderately controlled environment. There are all sorts of bells and whistles you can add to enhance the end result, but YOU DON'T HAVE TO! You can make a perfectly acceptable product by drying the leaves adequately, slicing them thinly, rolling them in cigarette paper, and setting them alight, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Picking and Hanging the Leaves

As Mrs. Beeton once said: "To make jugged hare, first catch your hare." The same goes with tobacco: to cure it, first, you've gotta pick it. If you've got a bit of time to spare, take your time and pick the leaves as they come ready. Around the time that flower-heads start to form and the plants are fully grown, the bottom leaves will be ready to pick. If they show signs of yellowing before this, pick them straight away.

  1. Pick whichever leaves are ready (see above), and cut a slit near the butt end of the centre rib of each leaf.
  2. Feed a thin tomato stake (or something similar) through these slits so that when you hold the stick horizontally (that's the way you have to hang them), the leaves hang down about an inch apart.
  3. Hang these sticks somewhere dry, out of the way, and preferably warm. An attic or garage rafters are great, provided you still have headroom. You can string the leaves on a length of wire, a cord stretched between two nails, use your imagination.
  4. Make sure leaves are not touching the walls or floor.

Here are a couple things to be on the lookout for as your tobacco is curing:

  • Keep leaves well separated from one another.
  • Make sure they don't go moldy OR brittle (dry only means they're not rained on, or so wet that they rot. If it looks like your leaves are becoming too brittle, move them somewhere cooler, or spray them using one of those very fine misters you can buy for a few dollars to do houseplants.)

Keep picking the leaves over the next weeks when you think that they're ready. Too early or a bit of yellowing before picking will make damn-all difference to the end product. One of the reasons that I suggest that you pick this way is so that you don't get thoroughly sick of slitting and hanging the beastly stuff! It also gives the higher leaves a chance to grow a bit more.

Don't look now, but you've already done it—well enough for the average punter, at least. The only other basis for curing is time. Time is said to cure all things, and tobacco is near the top of the list. Some say that it should be left hanging for two years, though I've found that one year is quite enough. I turned out a first-class flake tobacco from some leaf that I'd left in a box in a corner of my garage for a year and forgotten about. A friend hangs his tobacco for about three months, by which time it has both a nice colour and texture, then cuts it and uses it straight away.

Harvesting: Fully grown leaves (And no, It's not me!) The same plants as in the previous photo, eleven days later (25Jan09)
Harvesting: Fully grown leaves (And no, It's not me!) The same plants as in the previous photo, eleven days later (25Jan09)
Air drying tobacco leaf.(14Jan09)
Air drying tobacco leaf.(14Jan09)

Preparing the End Product

I assume that you want to either roll a cigarette or use a pipe. Preparing the leaf is the same for both. Take a leaf, strip out the center rib and any large side ribs if it's a big leaf, repeat this process for several leaves until you have a generous handful, and then proceed in one of the following ways:

  • The old-fashioned way: Squeeze the leaves together into a tight bundle. Using a very sharp knife and a chopping board, slice the tobacco as thinly as you can. Then cut it cross-ways a few times and you're there. This is tedious, but it costs you nothing other than time, and it does the job.
  • My favorite way (the lazy bugger method): Begin the process outlined above, but don't muck about trying to finely cut everything. Fast and rough is good enough.Then chuck the lot into a food processor with a sharp bottom blade and zap it until the fineness of the flake suits you. This also has the advantage that if you think that the tobacco leaf was a bit too dry, or you want to enhance the flavour, you can dissolve a little honey in a couple teaspoons of alcohol (port, rum, vodka, or moonshine) and dribble it in as you zap.
  • The fancy way: Buy a hand operated tobacco slicer. It consists of a cast metal cylinder about the size of the cardboard tube at the center of a toilet roll, cut in half length-ways with a hinge on one side and a clamp on the other so that it can be opened, stuffed full of leaf, and clamped shut. It has a flat plate attached to a worm at one end of the cylinder and a small guillotine at the other, linked to the worm by levers and a ratchet. Operating the guillotine causes the worm to turn and slowly drive the wad of leaves down the cylinder. While interesting and inexpensive, I suspect this method is not much faster than cutting by hand.
  • *Bonus* clever way: Claude Desgroseilliers has sent me the following brilliant suggestion: "I use a hand-operated pasta machine to slice my tobacco leaves, my machine has two attachments, one for spaghetti which I use to cut the tobacco."

Optional: How to Harvest Tobacco Seeds

Further up the page, I suggested that you let one plant flower for seed. This has several advantages:

  • You don't have to fork out another $2.50 for seed. In fact, a little bit of bartering might even get your money back.
  • You may have had difficulty getting seed in the first place. Problem solved!
  • The seed will have adapted to your environment.
  • I can't be bothered, think up a few for yourself.

Presuming that you did this, what do you do next?

  1. Let the flowers bloom and die off. Little green capsules about 1/4in long will be left behind. (These have some glorious botanical name that doesn't matter a bit. You know what to look for.) You'll have lots of them.
  2. Let them dry out. They'll turn dark brown and eventually start to split.
  3. At this point, pick them. This won't happen all at once, as they become ready over a period of weeks. In fact, each capsule has dozens of seeds, so one picking of ready seed-heads is more than ample unless you have several acres you want to plant out.
  4. Put a fine sieve in the top of a clean, dry bowl, or on a sheet of paper. Break the seedheads into it and rub the central core to get the seeds off.
  5. Gently shake the sieve. The seeds will pass through while most of the rubbish will stay behind.
  6. Store the seeds safely. Wrapping them in a bit of paper or square of toilet tissue and placing them in a little jar or pill container is fine. Keep in a cool, dry place out of direct light.

That's All, Folks

I hope that you learned what you wanted from this article. There are other ways to grow tobacco and other ways to cure the stuff. Some are undoubtedly better, but I don't think many would be easier or cheaper than the method I've described, and I know what I've written about works because I've done it.

Have fun, good luck, and thanks for dropping in.

Questions & Answers

  • How fast does tobaco grow?

    From seedling to mature plant (in a temperate climate) in about three months if planted in late Spring - early Summer; longer if planted later.

  • When growing and curing tobacco at home, do we do a fermentation/sweating process after drying?

    It would probably enhance the product but I don't bother and nor do most of the locals that I know. One dampens and presses the leaves for a few days (in a shallow tray with a board and a weight on top) then rolls up the leaves like a newspaper roll, and slices thin rings off it which are then cut cross-ways for cigarette tobacco.

  • Do you think putting a few dried mint leaves in with my tobacco leaves will give it a menthol taste? I want to try it.

    Give it a try, it certainly won't do any harm.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Joe Charlier 

      13 days ago

      Excellent article!

    • profile image

      Crofter 

      2 months ago

      Like some others I came upon your article whilst looking for info on curing tobacco. Having my first try at it and given I'm in the far north east of Scotland I'm having quite good results so far, that said been an unusually good Sumer.

      Anyway, just wanted to say your article has been very helpful not to mention giving me a great laugh here and there. Very refreshing to be able to find the simple info you want without having read heaps of seriously boring rubbish at the same time!!

      Would also be interested to read the article you mentioned on distilling but can't find it?

      Many thanks or now.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      3 months ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      NHEarthWitch

      Try misting the dried leaves with a mixture of oil of cloves (from the chemist) and water.

      Good luck, TOF

      Anonymous. -

      Your question and reply precedes this answer. Cheers

    • profile image

      NHEarthWitch 

      3 months ago

      I've been toying with the idea of growing my own tobacco for a year now and just found your site by looking for how to cure tobacco. This is a brilliant step-by-step on how to get to the end product I'm looking for so thanks so much mate!

      Now, any ideas on how I could take this to the next level & make it into clove cigarettes?

    • profile image

      Smoker 2 

      3 months ago

      to avoid harsh taste one step of curing process missing - fermentation.

      Stack leaves (10-20+) and sweat in sun or oven in winter. keep swapping around until all golden brown (they will be damp but silky).

      dry in shade, this process avoids crumbling product also.

      to cut: take dried leaves cut out stems, dampen dried leaves, put in press to make solid block, cut and re-dry cut tobacco.

      remember you are not growing veges, yellow leaves make a more mellow product.

    • profile image

      Fabian 

      5 months ago

      I have a bag of locally grown and cured tobacco leaves suitable for smoking in a pipe but would like to make my own tobacco oil for candles and perfume. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      Julie 

      7 months ago

      Awesome article!!! Trying my hand at growing these babies indoors....wish me luck :)

    • profile image

      Boye 

      17 months ago

      I really enjoyed your little tobacco story guide...Awesome.

    • profile image

      Ngaruawahia Grower 

      19 months ago

      an accidental discovery in my kitchen when a friend came around for a cupper with his new e-ciggy has lead to a major discovery for my tobacco processing methods when i added a few drops of his vape juice to my tobacco.

      there seems to be a new trend in vaping lately as more people are the cost of cigarettes beyond their means and are turning to vaping, i grow my own tobacco and process it myself and have experimented (Mucked around in my kitchen) with 0% nicotine menthol e-juice by cutting my tobacco in an old electric coffee grinder and adding the e-juice bit by bit to the mix until i achieve the strength i desire..

      The results were unbelievable, menthol is one the hardest flavours to crack, no more menthol crysrals and chemistry sets, the e-juice is mostly vegetable glycerine, with no nicotine, and can be added to suit the strength desirable, you can add it to your own liking, strong, medium, weak, doing it this way means the menthol strength hasn't already been decided for you and you don't have to hunt around for a commercial brand to suit your particular tastes.

      There are also other flavours in e-juice to experiment with and i for one will certainly being doing so...hope this is helpful to someone out there...this accidental discovery has had a major impact on our flavouring techniques and couldn't be easier...others who have tried it are amazed...

    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for any other informative site. The place else may just I get that type of info written in such a perfect way? I’ve a venture that I am just now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Cheers GPRR

    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 

      2 years ago

      The blog given to us has some exciting features. It realy increase my knowledge about the topic.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi there gepeTooRs , nice to know that you approve, although I can't take any credit for the loading pace, that's all HubPages doing.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 

      2 years ago

      You’re actually a good webmaster. The site loading pace is amazing. It kind of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have done a excellent activity on this matter!

    • profile image

      JAKs son 

      2 years ago

      My pleasure.. (still looking forward to your distillation blog ;)

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi JAKs son, couldn't agree more.

      Our Gestapo thugs will shoot and kill a man for pointing a gun at a police dog, shoot a fleeing thief in the back and beat his dying body with baton tourches and find themselves not at fault, then run around kissing a drug pusher who shot at and wounded 4 police, presumably because of "political correctness" - and a 'relly who's a local senior cop.

      Our politicians will waste tens of millions on a futile flag referendum (and then probably twist the results - the head of the CIA visited last week) then they tax the Hell out of smokers - over 90% of the retail cost of tobacco returns to the government in some form of taxation (a conservative estimation) but smokers are denied the medical treatment of others as they "caused their own problems"

      Grow your own tobacco while you can, - and your own carrots, - and your own cabbages, soon legislation will stop us from doing all that too because we'd be taking the living from the maws poor supermarket empires.

      Cheers Mate.

      TOF

    • profile image

      JAKs son 

      2 years ago

      Thanks heaps for your all your good work and effort.. As you are aware, we are being raped by our jackboot government, overtaxing and discriminating against smokers.. Prices are going through the roof.

      I have smoked for over thirty years and have been growing tobacco for two seasons. Your blog by far has the most simplistic and helpful information on growing tobacco. We are in your debt, Thanks again.

      (Haha.. I joined the hub just to thank you.)

    • dobrytyton profile image

      Cezary 

      2 years ago from Poland

      Nice hub. Thanks

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi Hops, beer and 'baccy go together mate, have a top New Year too.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Hops 

      2 years ago

      oops, I must have had a couple to many ales the last time I wrote in. I actually think I am on about or coming up to my 6th year smoking my homegrown bakky. :)

      Have plants in again.

      have a great New Year.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi Insasia, glad to be of help.

    • profile image

      InsasiaSic 

      2 years ago

      I love this website - its so usefull and helpfull.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi quicksand, long time no hear, How's it going?

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      2 years ago

      Taking the focus away from tobacco ... congratulations once more! Great victory by the AllBlacks! :)

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      2 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi Guys (and Gals) sorry that I've been AWOL for a while. Thanks for the nice comments.

      TOF

    • profile image

      Warearics 

      3 years ago

      In any case I will be subscribing for your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

    • profile image

      Errombsnomi 

      3 years ago

      It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece.

    • profile image

      JP 

      3 years ago

      During two years in Vanuatu where home-grown tobacco is available in the markets (cured and twisted into braids) I discovered I could make a "brew" just as good as my favourite pipe tobacco "Amphora". I simply chopped it (2mm) and mixed in some pure vanilla essence (or chopped vanilla beans) and a little citrus zest then compressed it into a jar. Once sealed, age for about two months at room temperature or slightly above. The ageing and compression are important as fermentation by anaerobic bacteria eliminates the harsher burning elements. It improves with age so long as it does not dry out.

      Remember that smoking tobacco probably would not have caught on if it weren't for the process of cramming it into barrels and sending it on a sea voyage in sailing ships - which is how the above process was discovered. The product was a gentler and more aromatic smoke when it landed in Europe than when it left the "New World".

      Chopping can be left until after the compression/ageing if preferred.

    • profile image

      Jas tk 

      3 years ago

      Wow what a hub I started growing this summer only 3 plants thoe they are 6feet I'd say they now have Pritty pink flowers I harvested around 50 or so leaves hung them on nylon 1 month ago they are turning nice and golden I have them in my garage where I go for a quite smoke and stear at them only but wondering what they are going to be like I'm glad I came across this hub it has put my mind at ease a little and also given me some great ideas

      Thanks heaps

      Jas from Te Kuiti

    • profile image

      Kiwi John 

      3 years ago

      Hey TOF,

      Because of the heart problems i'm moving to Central Hawkes Bay to be with family. Gonna have a couple of acres there, so can plant heaps, and better growing conditions. As you know i don't smoke anymore, but gotta thank John Keye for the taxes, and the opportunity for extra income ( wink wink )

      Cheers,

      John

    • profile image

      Kiwi John 

      3 years ago

      just follow the advice given here Jen, you cant go wrong

    • profile image

      Jenfish 

      3 years ago

      I gathered some seeds from a garden not knowing it was tobacco.They have grown amazingly.Thanks to your practical info I'm setting about drying the leaves .Might find a use for my grandads pipes in a rack yet .Thanks

    • profile image

      Jenfish 

      3 years ago

      I gathered some seeds from a garden not knowing it was tobacco.They have grown amazingly.Thanks to your practical info I'm setting about drying the leaves .Might find a use for my grandads pipes in a rack yet .Thanks

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      3 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi John,

      Thanks for that.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Kiwi John 

      3 years ago

      Hey TOF,

      I chucked some seeds in the fridge last year; planted them in portable greenhouse in september and have a bumper crop drying in my garage now. Just thought i'ld let you know the 'head start' theory appeared to work.

      Pity i stopped smoking lol.

      Cheers,

      John

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      3 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi Freddy,

      No I haven't tried that. A neighbour hangs his leaves in a carport to dry, then presses them in a shallow wooden box with a bit of plank on top and a weight (gallon drum full of water) rolls up the end product and slices thin with a sharp knife. If it looks a bit damp or won't light he sticks it in the warming tray of his oven for a while. It must work, his mates think the stuffs great. What you describe looks like a quick way to cure, nothing wrong with that.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Freddy 

      3 years ago

      I watched a YouTube video and this guy dries his leaves in a aluminium cylinder with an element placed on the bottom. He then filled about 1/6 of the cylinder with water and propped the leaves up on another piece of aluminium with a small vent hole in it. So none of the tobacco was touching the water. He left the element on about 150 C for a few days. Then he fed the leaves through a grinder. The end result looked like nice moist almost store bought tobacco. Have you tried this method? and is it any good?

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      3 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi Crom, I'm sorry that I can't help you here; it may be a bad cure but without seeing and smelling it I just can't say.

      Regards,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Crom Tiersen 

      3 years ago

      Please help me Old Firm! , i bought 1 kg virginia tobacco leaves, its sun cured, but its really smells bad !! , and then i can"t smoke because its really strong !!, i want to ask you why? , is there a any missing thing about process ? or should i ferment tobacco leaves for good taste?, thanks a lot.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      3 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi John, I hope that all's well with you now. (I've been away playing Cap'n Ahabs with an old boat in New Plymouth harbour)

      Merry Christmas.

      Thanks xxx, Merry Christmas.

    • profile image

      Amateur xxx images 

      3 years ago

      Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I'll certainly digg it and individually suggest to my friends. I'm sure they will be benefited from this web site.

    • profile image

      Kiwi John 

      3 years ago

      Spent a few days in the horsepiddle with heart failure due to pneumonia; so am only growing for entertainment now as i had to stop smoking but it's still a way to pass the time

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Thanks John, TOF

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Luther,

      Here's some info that i copied and pasted from this hub a couple of years ago,

      I hope it's of some help.

      McGoo 2 years ago

      I have been using this for flavouring, this is a half strength as found the full strength to strong.

      2 cups of water

      1 tablespoon glycyrene

      1 tablespoon brown sugar

      1 & a half tablespoons liqueur or spirit syrup (Bin Inn)

      1 tablespoon of honey.

      Throw all the ingrediants into a pot and bring to the boil then give the cut tobacco a good spray and then let dry.Got desperate this year and smoking tobacco that has been hanging for only 4 weeks and has taken the harshness out. Also worked very well last year on fully dried tobacco.

      best of luck,

      cheers,

      John

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi tobacco enthusiast, glad to know that I was of help.

      Luther, get a plant mister (little pump up spray) for a few dollars at a garden centre or two dollar shop and use it to spray your dry leaves. Spray water, port, rum, honey dissolved in any of the aforementioned, or pretty well any consumable liquid. A fine mist to dampen the leaves is all you need, they will soften almost immediately and you can then cut out the ribs. I suggest that you then roll up the leaves and slice thinly with a very sharp knife.

      BTW the leaves held by the old bloke in the article's photo grew in a temperate climate in spring and summer.They're pretty average bottom leaves (the higher you go the smaller the leaf) We get light frosts in Winter.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      tobacco enthusiast 

      4 years ago

      Luther 2 the b8g ribs can be Removed! After drying my iwn tobacco I put a little bourbon on it in a deep pot and roasted in oven at 50 degrees with a lid on. The ultra dry leaves sucked up the alcohol (not too much or u get a soggy mess) and became pliable again. After that I shredded them. The ribs are easy to remove at that point. I got leaves as big as my face but im sure they could have been better. Im growing in ohio, where the difference betwixt winter and summer is almost nonexistent. Good luck growing!

    • profile image

      luther2 

      4 years ago

      Live in California. Tobacco is an amazingly prolific plant. The plants grew taller than corn stalks, with leaves as broad as my chest. I had trouble with the whole drying/curing process though. Within two to three months of picking a healthy green leaf, it would dry to a complete dark brown, and if even touched it would crumble into a million shards. Put it in a pipe and it smoked fine. I also ground some into a powder snuff, I added a cotton ball dipped in scented oil for a week or so to add flavor and scent then removed the cotton ball later. Regarding smoking the tobacco though, cigarette and pipe tobacco available commercially is a bit "moist" and pliable. After drying the leaf, should it be re-hydrated or something. My experience is there is no way to cut out the big ribs... etc..., because as soon as I touched the leaves they crumble into a bunch of tiny pieces.

    • profile image

      tobacco enthusiast 

      4 years ago

      Thanks to this hub I just pulled in my 4th batch of leaves and hung them to dry. Growing nicotiana rustica here in ohio. I cured a bit with bourbon in the oven and got a nice pipe smoke. Anyine got pointers on aging? Also does anyone know how to make Copenhagen style "dip"? I threw a hand at it but it didnt come out the way I hoped. Oh yeah, adding flavor....any ideas on flavoring the bacco? For menthol I just added some mint leaves. Im wanting either a mild hazlenut or chocolate flavor.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      The bowler hat brigade - too stupid to "do" so spend their lives telling us "not to do". Every council and government department has a proliferation of the swine at their lower levels trying to screw up the doers.

      Cheers

      TOF

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      TOF,

      bumptious bureaucrats and politicians are revolting species, but i believe there's a special spot reserved in hell for those that don white coats and the mantle of 'oficial'

      Cheers,

      John

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Great stuff John, (We're in for a long summer, my banana plant set its first bunch a month ago, although the stalks are still all brown with dead and wind battered leaves; and the raspberry canes are budding) Please keep us posted on how you're going.

      Death to all bullfrogs, bumptious bureaucrats and politicians!! (I could spare the bullfrogs.)

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Got the seeds in the germinator today , wanting an early jump on the season , great weather this last week and hoping for no frosts.. Trying to beat the election and all the false promises. I'm not a smoker any more since the heart problems but i do love the feeling of putting one over the Gvt. whoever they may be. If you're in NZ get growing folks , and good luck.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      What more can I say to that?

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      kiwi_john aka the old fart 

      4 years ago

      well planting season is upon us; i've got a shitload of seeds (no not from the dunny) so fingers toes and eyes all crossed for a bumper crop.I'VE GOT ALL THE GOOD STUFF : SEED GERMINAING MIX................MINI GREENHOUSE.NO EXPENSE SPARED TO SAVE A $.

      WISH ME LUCK FOLKS THE GOVT DAMN SURE DOESN'T ASTHEY WATCH THERE TAX DOLLARS EVAPORATE.

      Good growing everyone

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      As good a way as any Rhett, nothings written in stone - adapt, innovate, do it on the cheap; that's what it's all about.

      Cheers mate,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Rhett 

      4 years ago

      I borrowed from the butchering industry and got a bunch of J fish hooks, strung them on some fishing line and use that for drying.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Mr Happy, Hi There,

      Drying- Three months will do it, less if you give a bit of a boost with a slightly warm oven. Cheers

      Hi John, Nicotiana Sylvestris, Kimgs catalogue number SKU 0950, $3.75 a packet (it's listed as a flower, which of course it is)

      Mikeh,Thanks mate.

      Cheers All,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Mikeh 

      4 years ago

      Brilliant hub most helpful I've seen on the net thus far. Great read

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Sadly Kings no longer sell tobacco seed, however if you're in NZ Wicked Habits do ( expensive ) or Trade Me often does.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Great hub. Thanks for putting it together, at least I know what a tobacco plant looks like now.

      I think I'm going to try to grow some to use for smudging and offerings (Spiritual purposes). Using the ones made for smoking, bleached, or with added chemicals is not ideal, to say the very least.

      On another note, I can't believe they gotta stay up drying for a year, or two ... that's long ... I better still be alive for the first finished product lol

      And the other thing is that I 'm in Canada. It's not exactly very warm here. Will have to look into this further but this has certainly been of great help to start-off.

      All the very best! : )

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi Ricci,

      Sorry mate, I can't help you there, I've no experience at this rather covert way of growing bacci'. Best of luck with your research.

      Cheers,

      TOF.

    • Ricci Feat Waaka profile image

      Ricci Feat Waaka 

      4 years ago from Tauranga, New Zealand

      Hi can you please give me some advice on how to grow tobacco under lights,such as how many plants to a 1000 watt or 600 grow light in what size room,am really keen to give it a go

      Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi there Rob n Rose, sorry for the tardy reply. It's a bit late now to plant outdoors, but you can probably start your seedlings in the hothouse, or better still in little pots on a warm windowsill (Like in the kitchen) . Re-pot them a couple of times, use you hot-house when they get bigger and you can grow them there or transplant in spring. Allow 2 meters headroom if you keep them inside and remember to pick out the sideshoots growing in the leaf joins (just like tomatoes do) they can be planted too for a later crop. If you need more seed google King Seeds in Katikati, (I've a link in the text)

      Good luck,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Rob n Rose 

      4 years ago

      Hi TOF,

      We have seeds. The hothouse on our section looks like a great starting place for our seedling to get a start. Well heres hoping! Thank you so much for putting up this site. We would have been umming and ahhhing until the cows came home. Not to mention the moaning at the forever price hikes in Tobacco. We are happy campers even though we haven't grown it yet. But the future looks a lot more brighter.

      Cheers

      Rob n Rose

    • profile image

      Rob n Rose 

      4 years ago

      Hi we live in sunny Bay of Plenty and want to give it a go. Can we buy seeds direct from you?

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Pharmk565, Hi,

      Thanks for your comments, I use HubPages, as per heading; free to use, just join up. This is predominately a writers/informational blog, but can be quite social in its comments, as you may have noted above. I suggest that you Google "HubPages" and check them out.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Pharmk565 

      4 years ago

      I'm curious to uncover out what blog system youre employing? Im experiencing some small security troubles with my latest weblog and Id like to locate something more safeguarded. Do you've any recommendations? fcbdadk

    • profile image

      Pharma674 

      4 years ago

      Howdy! This article could not be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I'll send this information to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing! abfdged

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi there Blond Logic, Tobacco originated from around your way, and I'm told that all sorts can be found there, so good luck in your quest for seeds.

      I'm glad that this Hub was of help.

      Cheers,

      TOF.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 years ago from Brazil

      After years of nagging (I mean politely requesting) my husband to stop, now I find your page.

      I am going to scour around and see if I can find some seeds. He can smoke to his lung's are content. We seem to be in the perfect climate.

      Thank goodness I found your page.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      theblightsun, Garry,

      Thanks guys, Happy growing.

      TOF

    • profile image

      Garry 

      4 years ago

      I wrote a month or what back that I had started harvesting and drying down here in North Canty, and being the impatient bugger that I am, have started smoking it now, and am pleasantly surprised with the result.

      Trying to perfect the cutting now but am very happy with my "own grown".

      Reckon next year I will have to double my crop, I may be a bit shy this year.

      Have a good one TOF

    • theblightsun profile image

      theblightsun 

      4 years ago

      Wonderful hub. Very educational. This is the kind of info ive been searching for. I started about 400 tobacco seeds, about 85% germination rate. The seedlings are 2.5 inches tall now. Im growing in mini greenhouses in a south facing window. Hopefully I get mature plants later. Why am I growing tobacco? To smoke it! I went with nicotiana rustica and typical virginia strains. I fugured: "since im griwing broccoli and carrots I might as well griw sone 'backy too!" Thanks again for this information. It has been most helpful.

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Thanks uran,

      Cheers.

    • profile image

      uran 

      4 years ago

      [img]http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm292/biguran/s...[/img]

      GOT it, Prilep 66, oriental fom macedonia, and i love it, has a taste like diped in honey

    • profile image

      Uran 

      4 years ago

      TY Mr. TOF :), im getting some cured orientals prilep 66, will try and let you know

      w/respect

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      John, I don't know; why not try it: some in the fridge some from packet. Plant out at the same time and see if there's a difference.

      uran, It works OK without fermentation, as many of the comments will attest, BUT if you can ferment cheaply and have the time, why not? It may improve your smoke, it may not. You won't know unless you try and I have not tried, myself.

      Cheers,

      TOF.

    • profile image

      uran 

      4 years ago

      great read thanx

      im new to tobacco DIYm sick of paying for cigarettes for 30 years, so my new years resolution was never pay more for smoke

      anyway, long story short, my question, dont you need to ferment after curing??

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      I'm wondering if keeping seeds in the fridge fos a couple of months would speed up germination?

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      It must be early Spring there james, I suggest that you start your seeds inside, in a sunny spot, re-pot when they get too cramped, and plant outdoors in early Summer.

      regards,

      Peter.

    • profile image

      james patrick 

      4 years ago

      just ordered some tobacco seeds,should I plant them in or out in this beautiful irish climate?

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi sanitee,

      Yep, it's good to kill all sorts of bugs; thanks for the method of making your ant killer.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      sanitee 

      4 years ago

      i use cigarette buts to make ant killer. cover the buts with double the amount of water and bring to the boil. boil for a couple of minutes turn of the heat and let steep till cold. strain off the buts and flavor with as much sugar as can be dissolved in the liquid. put a small amount of the liquid in a jar lid and place where the ants are or where their trail is and you will be amazed how fast they find it.

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Thanks Peter,

      70? hell it's the new forty, not the back forty either.

      I'm figuring on stocking up on seed, cos i'm sure the nicotine nazi's next goose step will be to stamp on seed. Then the probable blitz on growing; like the invasion of Poland.....no warning! A good guard dog will prove an invaluable asset.

      I put the seed in to germinate today, so will hope for the best.

      Cheers, John

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      mercymercyme,

      Hi there, great to know your crop came out so well.

      To answer your questions:

      1) Use your brown leaves, they're part cured already;

      2) I know of no reason for the second years crop to be garbage, the pensioner over the road from me grew a second plant from the stump of his first and it turned out OK. (But if you have more seeds why bother?)

      3) If your seed pods turn black and dry out your seeds should be all right, - black and VERY small, like ground pepper. It costs nothing to try.

      Cheers, TOF.

      G'Day John,

      Wot, 70? You poor old fart (I cracked 70 a couple of weeks ago!!)

      You may be pushing the envelope a little to get full sized plants if you put in seeds now but give it a go, you'll certainly get plenty of leaf, which is the whole idea of the exercise.

      Virginia tobacco is fine for pipe smoking, (but it's a bit like cabbage roses, there's a hell of lot of different varieties of Virginia too)

      Treat it as you would cigarette prep. A misting with alcohol when your about to cut it makes the leaf less brittle to cut and helps it to burn. Try to cut it so that it looks a bit like cut pipe baccy', they chopped it that way for a reason.

      BTY I made my first moonshine for over two years last week and I assure you that my first bottle was anything but empty (However I did keep my first half cup to clean my paint brushes - all the low alcohols)

      Glad you enjoyed the comments from over the years.

      Cheers, TOF

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Thanks TOF,

      I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

      I live in Lower Hutt, is it too late to plant now?

      I'm 70 years old and been smoking since i was 14......super is my only income now and with the bloody government price hikes my wallet is as empty as a moonshiners first bottle.

      Second question.............the seeds i have are Virginia, is the leaf ok to smoke in a pipe and if so is there any special treatment required?

      Thanks in advance for all your help, and may the elves of misfortune pee on your boots for the time it's taken to read your entire blog.

      Cheers,

      John

    • profile image

      mercymercyme 

      4 years ago

      First, thank you. I've been lurking here for about a year. I grew my own first small crop this year and it came out spectacularly. I'm in Southern California so the harvest continued well into late December or even early January.

      I have a few questions I'm hoping you could answer: 1) my final leaves turned fully brown on the vine; is there any reason I can't pick and cure them? 2) is it true that, if a plant goes perennial, the subsequent season's crops are basically garbage? 3) I cut some of the seed pods for drying before the flowers had fallen off - will this still work or are the seeds unlikely to fully form?

      Thanks for the site - I've had a whole mess of fun growing my own. Ironic because I quit smoking a while back and have mostly been gifting my leaf to friends......

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi John,

      Good growing,

      Cheers.

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Just 'aquired' some seeds and going to follow your advice.

      thanks

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      G'day Garry,

      Good to hear from you, good luck with your drying. As you've probably found, tobacco is earthquake friendly (strong roots)

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      Garry 

      4 years ago

      Hi TOF

      Thanks for the very informative site.

      I have a couple of dozen plants doing very well here in North Canterbury, and am starting to harvest now. Looking forward to smoking my own grown.

      Cheers

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi quicksand, all the best to you, as well.

      Cheers,

      TOF.

      Hi Phil, you could try picking the leaves a bit sooner, they seem to develop strength with age. Also trying a different variety of seed if you can get it may help (Check around the internet for local suppliers, - you may have some luck with garden centers too, the stuff sold as ornamental is just smoking 'baccy in a flash pot. )

      Regards,

      TOF

    • profile image

      strontiumv8 

      4 years ago

      Hi TOF,

      I tried some of my tobacco following your processes. The problem I had with it is the harsh taste. I am sure that a lot of your subscribers prefer this to commercially grown product, but I don't. How can I get a more commercial flavour to it? I am also spraying it with Bourbon but it is still harsh.

      Phil

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      4 years ago

      Hi TOF, have a great 2014! Sure you will! :)

    • The Old Firm profile imageAUTHOR

      The Old Firm 

      4 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Hi All, I've been off the net for about 8 months, (my computers all died on me and I got fed up with trying to cobble one up from bits so took a break. Eventually bought a denuded desktop for $20 and chucked in some RAM and a hard-drive so here I am again)

      John - Try misting your dried leaves with alcohol - , rum, vodka, port or the like before you cut them, - or just dampen the finished product with a fine mist of it. Commercial tobacco has saltpetre (potassium nitrate, the active ingredient of gunpowder) added to keep it burning, but commercial roll your own tobacco tends to go out as well.

      BUT, $2 for a lighter once or twice a week is a damn' sight cheaper than $44 a time for 50gm of chemically, genetically, horrifically adulterated muck which WILL keep burning, even if your not getting the benefit of sucking on it!

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • profile image

      John 

      4 years ago

      Hi. I live in NZ and have just grown and cured 12 plants thanks to your site. My son tells me it doesn't burn easily and his cigarettes keep going out. Have you any tips please to help burning? Thanks

    • profile image

      NgatiHikareti 

      4 years ago

      Kia Ora

      I have just been given about 100 little seedlings and 2 bigger plants and plan to grow my-own for personal use and for others to share as well, my big bro and I are experimenting with different flavours to try and match (if not better) some of the commercially grown stuff in regard to to taste and smoothness.

      With the price of Bacci the way it is now and set to worsen as they (The Govt Corp) add 10% of the price tothe price every six months it wont be long before they make growing tobacco illegal as more and more people try to lessen the cost for themselves to spend less on this passtime govt like to demonize by calling it a "habit" to create division by ostresizing "smokers" and "non-smokers" and banishing the "smoker" to outer reaches of the cosmos to be forever painted as the filthy addicted nicotine abuser, never to be socially accepted until such time as you join the norm and "quit".

      for me this only furthers to strengthen the cause and justifies the time and effort required to grow and produce a good product to share with my whanau, friends and anyone else we meet.

      We have no fear of the system or its legislative rules of society given the colour and force of law, we have withdrawn our consent to be governed by them and are going to grow tobacco (and other plants) as we see fit, without fear of the system telling us what we can and cant do.

      We will know that our product is grown "organically" (naturally) and try to match or better the bought stuff in quality without the Monsanto/Dupont round-up ready genetically modified poisons in the commercial product, which is more than likely the reason smoking is branded as "unhealthy", (I was in a parking building the other day having a ciggy when a security guy came up to me and told me put the smoke out, i refused and so he decided to give me a lecture on how "unhealthy" it is to smoke, I let him carry on for about five minutes by which time my smoke was finished, then proceeded to give him a lecture on how he had just kept me and himself inside a concrete box surrounded by concentrated carbon-menoxide fumes from the cars going passed us and that I will take my chances with the ciggy,...thanks).

      Kia Ora very much for the post it was helpful and informative for me and my whanau to learn how to grow our own, I will be sharing this information and the plants with them.

    • profile image

      tricky 

      5 years ago

      I've just grown my first tobacco plants in the UK and was worried about the alleged complexities of curing....until I read your article. So, I pulled off a leaf, let it dry and just smoked it and it turned out to be rather nice. Thanks for a nicely written article and for dispelling the myths of curing :)

    • profile image

      Eddyjoe 

      5 years ago

      Ta, got all the info and have not laughed as much in a long time. Great article.

    • profile image

      Rich D 

      5 years ago

      In the curing stage my tobacco only gets dried out and crunches..what am I doing wrong??

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