Cultivation of smoking tobacco
It is not difficult to grow tobacco or shag. We are often asked about this process, and, combining personal experience with the advice of experienced readers, including our readers, we decided to publish this material. But still, growing tobacco, you need to know certain features of this plant. About this is our publication.
General information about the tobacco plant
Tobacco (Nicotiana) - a genus of perennial and annual plants of the Solanaceae family (Solanaceae) Grown to produce raw materials used in tobacco products. In culture, the following species are most often found:
- Common tobacco, or Virgin tobacco, or real tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) A plant up to 3 m high with pink flowers, a tubular nimbus with sharp lobes, oblong-lanceolate leaves, sessile. Real tobacco is quite thermophilic, therefore it is especially productively grown in hot regions. We grow ordinary tobacco south of 55 ° north latitude (this is, approximately, the latitude of Ryazan, Smolensk, Ulyanovsk, Ufa, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Omsk, Novosibirsk and Kemerovo). Common tobacco is cultivated in many countries of the world and has many varieties.
- Common shag, or rustic tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) - the plant is much lower than ordinary tobacco (up to 120 cm high), flowers are yellowish, a corolla with a short tube and rounded lobes, leaves are ovate, narrow, dull at the end. The leaves of this more unpretentious plant contain half as much nicotine.
In the nineteenth century in Russia shag was cultivated on an industrial scale everywhere (even in the Urals and Siberia). And now, some villagers traditionally grow this plant from their own seeds.
Bolivia and Peru are considered the birthplace of tobacco; expeditions of Christopher Columbus brought it to Europe. Traditional areas of cultural cultivation are North America, China, India, and Asia Minor. On the territory of the former USSR, ordinary tobacco is bred in Transcaucasia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory. Tobacco is a thermophilic plant, the optimum summer temperature for it is about 30 ° C. For him, moist, light, loose sandy soils are suitable. Tobacco is propagated by seeds, growing seedlings from them, which are then planted in the ground.
All parts of the plant contain nicotine (in leaves of nicotine most of all - 0.75-2.88%). Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin and cardiotoxin that causes short-term euphoria. The use of tobacco in various forms and in various ways (smoking, chewing, sniffing) causes physical and psychological dependence. Nicotine is extremely toxic. Some of the substances found in tobacco are carcinogenic. therefore smoking tobacco is hazardous to health.
Is tobacco worth growing?
Suppose you are a smoker, and you have the good fortune to live somewhere in the south of Russia or in Ukraine. At your disposal you have several hundred acres of land. Why not try on the role of Philip Morris, or at least Jack Vosmerkin, an American?
For starters, a little entertaining arithmetic. One cigarette contains about a gram of tobacco. And the cheaper the cigarettes, the less it is there. That is, in a pack is about 20 grams. If a person smokes a pack a day, he will need about 6-8 kilograms of tobacco per year.
Under favorable conditions, about 30 g of smoking tobacco can be obtained from one plant, and six or seven plants can be placed on 1 square meter. The planting density of large-leaf varieties is 70 × 30 cm, and tobacco with medium-sized leaves and shag is 70 × 20 cm. It turns out that 270-300 plants need to be grown, occupying about 40 square meters. m. plot. Moreover, if the tobacco turned out to be too "evil", it can be diluted with stems.
Therefore, from the point of view of economy and finance, it is profitable for a smoker to grow tobacco.
Features of growing tobacco
Further in the article we will talk about growing ordinary tobacco. If you decide to grow shag (Nicotiana rustica), then many of these tips you will not need, shag is much easier to grow and less heat-loving. For the middle lane, its sowing is carried out in May in soil under a film or covering material, and it manages to grow and produce a crop.
So, the first thing to take care of is the seeds and their planting. Seeds are now sold on the Internet on many sites, you just need to choose a convenient store and tobacco for you.
Varieties of tobacco
There are many varieties of ordinary tobacco. It is worth saying that for the period from 1990 to 2010. In the All-Russian Research Institute of Tobacco, more than 20 new productive and disease-resistant tobacco varieties with excellent characteristics have been developed.
As with vegetables, it is better to choose local varieties for your site. Therefore, we list some zoned for the territories of the former USSR and popular varieties:
- Trapezond Kubanets. The growing season from planting seedlings to the last breaking 103-134 days. Technically fit leaves an average of 27 pcs. Nicotine content of 2.6%.
- Trapezond 92. The variety is resistant to numerous damaging factors, viral tobacco diseases. It has a short growing season. On average, 98 days after planting, leaf breaking is carried out.
- Samsun 85. The variety belongs to intensively ripening varieties, mid-season - the number of days from planting to leaf breaking will be approximately 105-110 days. The number of technically ripe leaves from one tobacco bush is approximately 50 pcs.
- Anniversary New 142. The vegetation period from planting seedlings to ripening leaves of average breaking 78 days, until the last breaking 82 days. The nicotine content in the leaves of 2.0-2.1%. The variety has comprehensive resistance to tobacco diseases.
- Holly 316. Late-ripe form, intensive type of leaf ripening. Low in nicotine. From planting to ripening the leaves of the last breaking 120 days.
We recommend the first year to grow just a few bushes. So you test your strengths and learn all the nuances of the process. Therefore, for starters, you will need very few seeds. Tobacco seeds are as small as dust. In one gram about 12 thousand seeds of tobacco, and shag about 4 thousand pieces. To get the smoker's annual “norm,” you only need to sow a quarter of a gram of tobacco seeds or three quarters of a shag. You do not have to buy more seeds. Two or three bushes will give them more than is necessary for sowing a hectare.
Tobacco seeds retain their germination for a long time, so sowing is also possible with old seeds, although it must be borne in mind that their germination capacity decreases over time.
Tobacco can be planted on seedlings on window sills, with or without picking. The necessary seedling age is 40-45 days. But such a technique is only good for small (up to a quarter hundredths) volumes. However, for the first experiment we don’t need more. When growing tobacco in large volumes, it is either immediately planted in the ground (in warm climates) or greenhouses and nurseries are used.
Tobacco seeds are sown superficially, sprinkling them on wet soil.
An important point. The depth of planting of tobacco seeds is not more than 0.7-0.8 cm (0.3-0.5 cm for shag). After sowing, they are only slightly pressed into the ground and very carefully watered so that the seeds do not go deep.
You can sow not dry seeds, but hatching ones. In this case, 4 days before sowing, the seeds are soaked in warm clean water and placed on a damp cloth. This will accelerate seed germination and reduce the time for seedlings to be distilled by a week.
The optimum temperature for the germination of tobacco seeds is +25 ºC ... + 28 ºC. If the temperature is lower, this can delay the seedlings of plants, or even destroy them.
Overmoistening, as well as overdrying seedlings is impossible. It is better to water a little bit almost daily.
Planting Tobacco Seedlings
Seedlings are planted when it reaches a height of 15 cm, has 5-6 developed true leaves and a well-developed root system. At this point, the danger of spring frost should pass outside the window, and the soil at a depth of 10 cm should warm up above 10 ° C. In different regions, this period is different, but approximately this is from the end of April to the end of May.
A week before planting, you need to start hardening the seedlings, reducing watering and accustoming it to the open air. 2-3 days before planting, watering seedlings completely stop, abundantly watering only 2-3 hours before planting.
Plants are planted one at a time in the wells, previously pouring 1 liter of water into them. In general, the process is very similar to planting tomato seedlings. And of course, every transplant is a shock to the plant. Therefore, it is advisable to preserve the soil on which the seedlings grew.
During the growth period, it is necessary to regularly loosen the soil, remove weeds, feed and water. You can feed plants based on the norms of tomato fertilizer. Watering is usually limited to two or three waterings per summer, spending 6-8 liters of water per plant. Better watering is not enough than waterlogging.
A rooted tobacco bush can have roots up to several meters, and many tobacco growers consider watering adult bushes harmful. However, a few days before harvesting, it would be nice to water the tobacco.
In flowering plants break off inflorescences (budding) and lateral shoots (pinching) are regularly removed.
Soil for tobacco
Tobacco is planted on fresh lands, for lack of such, it is placed either after steam, or after winter or other plants, imposing different requirements on the soil with regard to nutrients. For this reason, tobacco should not be planted, for example, after beets and potatoes.
The best soils for tobacco should be considered sandy loams, characterized by the presence of potassium and nitrogen, necessary for a tobacco plant.
Like all people from the New World, tobacco is rapidly depleting the soil. But the remedy is known - fertilizers perfectly solve this problem.
The best fertilizer for tobacco is cow dung. Bird droppings, oil cakes are also considered a useful fertilizer for tobacco. In soils poor in lime, liming is used, it has a beneficial effect not only on the crop, but also on the completeness of combustion of the tobacco plant.
Harvesting begins when the color of the leaves of tobacco changes from green to yellow-green or light green. Since even on one bush there will be leaves of varying degrees of coloring, then the cleaning can stretch for several weeks.
Pests and Tobacco Diseases
Tobacco is damaged by a number of pests, namely:
- Peach aphid, Aphid greenhouse, Aphid tobacco. Dangerous pest of tobacco. A widespread species that feeds on many cultivated and wild plants. Peach aphid populates all organs of the tobacco plant and sucks the juice from them, which leads to a decrease in yield and quality of raw materials.
- Blackleg. It is manifested by lodging and mass death of seedlings. The base of the stems is thinning and rotting. A brown or white coating appears on the affected surface. The causative agent is stored in the soil.
- Powdery Mildew It is observed shortly after transplanting seedlings into the ground. On the lower leaves, separate spots with a cobweb-powdery coating appear; then the plaque becomes solid and covers the upper leaves. Mushroom overwinters on plant debris. The disease reduces photosynthesis, leads to inhibition of plants. Reduces yield and quality of raw materials.
- Black root rot more often affects seedlings, but adult plants are also sick. On the affected seedlings, the leaves fade, turn yellow and dry, the roots turn brown or blacken and often die off. In adult plants, the leaves bind, and black and white spots form at the ends of the roots.
- Common broomrape. Distributed everywhere in the south and southeast of Kazakhstan. The parasite settles on the roots of tobacco and develops due to the host plant, forming a powerful branched stem of purple color. As a result of the mass infection of plants with broomrape, tobacco productivity and the quality of raw materials are reduced. Broomrape is propagated by seeds that persist in the soil for many years.
- Mosaic. The leaves of diseased plants have normal green patches that alternate with light green. Later tissue stains die off. The main source of plant infection is the post-harvest residues of diseased plants, both in greenhouses and in the field.
- Bacterial hazel. On the tips of the leaves of young seedlings or along the edges of the leaves, oily or weeping spots appear. In wet weather, they decay, and the whole plant becomes infected from them. Round chlorotic spots appear on the leaves of grown plants, which merge to form patches of dead tissue. The causative agent of the disease is stored in tobacco leaves, in tobacco dust, in inventory.
Tobacco drying and fermentation
Well, the most important part of getting smoking tobacco is its drying and fermentation. We’ll make a reservation right away: if you don’t smoke, did not have previous experience with tobacco use, it will be quite difficult for you to determine the degree of readiness. You can either not dry it, or rot it. However, let me remind you that our grandfathers grew and dried up shag without a higher education.
After harvesting, the leaves of tobacco are hung up for drying in a ventilated room, while it is advisable to place containers with water there to increase humidity. Leaves dry in about a month.
Then the dried leaves must be moistened with clean water from a spray bottle and stacked, covered with polyethylene, and left to stand for up to a day for even moisturizing. Leaves should be soft but not moist. After that, the leaves, either whole or cut, are stolen into sealed glass containers (banks) for fermentation.
Fermentation of tobacco
Fermentation is a biochemical process that occurs at a constant temperature of 50 ° C for several weeks. Tobacco is fermented to reduce strength, change taste for the better, reduce nicotine and resins. This can be done, for example, in electric ovens at a temperature of +50 ºC ... + 60 ºC. Sometimes it is more convenient to dry the chopped leaves rather than the whole.
The resulting tobacco can be smoked in pipes, wrapped in cigarettes, since wrapping machines and tissue paper are now sold in many places. Finally, you can try to make a cigar - it is simple and interesting.
Of course, our material does not pretend to be a detailed textbook, and many subtleties remained unaffected. And if you take tobacco farming seriously, you will need to study this issue more. But in order to get the first crop - you already know enough.
We will be happy to read your tips and secrets on tobacco growing, drying and fermentation.
And in conclusion, we remind you again: smoking is addictive and harmful to your health. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you smoke - maybe it's time to quit? Nerd against smoking!