What about growing tobacco?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Saw an ad in a rural newspaper today for tobacco seeds. The light bulb went off and I thought that sounds like a profitable post y2k crop. Anybody have experience raising it? How much land is needed to make it pay? Good idea or not? All I remember is from the movies and the damage bugs can do to the crops. Mary

-- Mary (SWEEP6@prodigy.net), March 18, 1999


Y2K friends and I have at times considered growing tobacco...some for barter purposes, some for personal use. Here is one link to a web site:


Tobacco Seeds

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), March 18, 1999.

Yes. A good barter crop. SE states well suited for this type of growth.
Mr. K

-- Mr. K (here@home.com), March 18, 1999.

I've grown Burley tobbacco here in Oregon (believe it not) both started inside and outside open sown. The big problem here is heavy clay soils and slugs (they love the stuff when it's small go figure at least they die when they drink beer)

Anyway- the finer the soil the better- it is a heavy feeder and to get seed back you need a long growing season but you almost always get leaves. If you get seed you'll have plenty for years to come on even one crop. Ashes added to an acid soil seem to help. The movie Sommersby with Jodie Foster and Richard Gere has some very nice low tech details on tobbacco raising if you watch carefully.

The seed stays viable for at least 5 years and each pod has hundreds of dust size seeds in it.

You harvest the leaves sequentially from the bottom up as they begin to yellow. Hang in hands to cure- high humidity is best with air circulation around them so they don't mold. the humidity makes them leathery as opposed to dry and papery. Also dry, like all herbs, out of direct sun

You can still smoke the dry stuff but it burns hot and fast. Be careful when picking when hot. Nicotine absorbs through the skin can cause rash and could make you sick.

Leaves and stalks are a potent insecticide (as are rhubarb leaf sun tea) so you can chop the stalks into the soil over winter to kill critters.

Depeding on your variety or success in curing consider adding hops and or mint to the mix. Make sure you have or can make stems for your pipes- I'm always breaking my stems- have bowels all over the place.

Buy a case of matches and corn cob pipes for the value added thing.

Here in Oregon it has no pests except when young as noted- other places will have trouble with worms- hand pick. Rotate and cover crop or fertilize your patch. Don't worry if they're not huge or gorgeous- it still smokes.

Harvest pods sequentially as they turn brown. Seed is VERY fine so put in something where you won't lose it but does not hold in humidity- a coffee can say. When you first pick the pods leave the top off so they can finish drying.


-- EC (JHnck1776@aol.com), March 18, 1999.

My hubby grew some baccy last summer...got the seed from an old timer that lives by use and started it in the greenhouse....grew really tall in our hot summers..then we couldn't find out what to do with it so really appreciate the tips here on how to dry...definitely have the humidity for drying it in Mo..would think after a few weeks food will be more important to most then baccy but after things settle down it should be a good trade crop. Another plus for stocking up...you want to be in a shelter with a bunch of forced-to-quit smokers??! Know from personal experience quitting isn't easy no matter what method you use. Smokers might want to think about quitting now.

-- MUTTI (windance @train.missouri.org), March 18, 1999.

Your method will work, but the leaves will get much bigger and heavier if you 'top' the plants by cutting the top out of the plant before any blooms appear. Cut them low enough so the leaves are about the length of your forearm at the top. Just remember to leave a few plants blooming for seed. If you top them out, you will have to pick suckers. Just run your hands into the base of every leaf and pull out the little sucker growths once a week or so. Makes a much bigger crop. Also, while field stripping will work, cutting the plants when the leaves turn yellow and hanging them in a barn to cure up will make life much easier on your back. We used to spear the tobacco on sticks, wait for it to wilt, and then hang it in a barn with supports the right distance for the sticks. To get it out of a barn, you have to wait for a day of high humidity and then bring it down and strip the tobacco off the plant stems while the weather is right. Don't waste the stems - they are a high nitrogen fertilizer and good for fruit trees. Don't put them tight against the trees though - did that once and mice moved in and stripped the bark - dang it!

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), March 19, 1999.

Thanks, Paul! By a strange twist of fate, I actually have a 3/4 acre tobacco allotment on my land and a wonderful tobacco barn. Got seeds for a couple of varieties from Abundant Life Seed Foundation. Thanks to all for the good growing tips here.

-- Franklin Journier (ready4y2k@yahoo.com), March 19, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ