Home Grown Tobacco II

Growing your own tobacco is full of difficulties from beginning to end, but we have done this now four or five years in a row. We do Indian farming, without a plow, leaving lawn between the rows (which is nice for mud). Hence we never grow enough. 32 plants gets us through the poorest part of the winter. 80 or 90 plants would be plenty to get off the fertilizer-pesticide system entirely. The plants cannot be grown in the same ground after three years, and poison tomatoes and potatoes and nightshade type things. The seeds are very small, and impossible to plant individually, so the seedlings must be carefully separated. This is fun for a half-blind guy like me! They are set in the ground only when they get some size, not too early or they won’t make it. Then, as was said, they must be covered for frost, cut, the leaves washed in a very mild soap for all the pollen and bugs that stick to them, then rinsed, and hung to dry. Hanging is stringing them like fish, with a pocket knife to cut the stem and run some nice inert rope through. Then they hang for three weeks to dry slowly without touching each other- otherwise they’ll mold. Then they are stored at least 4 months to age, at best at about 70% humidity. To shred the leaves, after removing the stem, I use a coffee grinder, and have used a blender on a low setting, grinding it just a little, to avoid turning it to powder. All this comes to about the same or cheaper than the taxed products in the store, plus the added benefits that for example American Spirit is not even allowed to advertise, of getting off the 713 chemicals and the fertilizers, which they may still use. There are probably lots of websites on the internet that have these things on them.

I thought of growing tobacco myself, from the example of my ancestors having grown it in Kingsville, Ontario. Otherwise, I’d have thought it impossible. My sister found the seeds and worked on the farmer knowledge, and grew a few good crops of it.

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