Tobacco Plants Update

My tobacco plants are coming along quite well, but still not very big. Here’s a snap I took a few days ago:

The plastic fork on the right gives an idea of the scale. The biggest plant is about 6 inches high, and beginning to overshadow its neighbours. I’ve got 37 pots of this size, each with one or more tobacco plants in (my re-potting strategy has been to divide up plants, but not separate them completely). I’ve also got about 10 pots with pepper plants growing in them, which seem to be doing well.

I’m beginning to think that I’ll put the biggest tobacco plants in their own separate, large pots. What would be the best size to get? And what would be the best soil to put them in? I’ve still got lots of stuff in a grow-bag, which is what I’ve been using up to now.

I’ve still got plenty of the seeds that Leg-iron kindly sent me back at Xmas. I’m hoping that they’ll germinate again early next year, but I’m wondering whether it might be a good idea to keep them in the fridge. Does anyone do that with seeds?

The little sage plant that I’ve been cultivating on my kitchen window sill flowered a month or two back, producing lots of little white trumpet-shaped flowers arranged around the plant stem, and dropped its remaining leaves. I thought that would be the end, but it’s now producing new leaves at its base.

Speaking of plant growth, I revisited Rio de Janeiro a night or two back, using Google maps. This is one of the roads in the Gavea district where my parents lived back in 1965. Our house was the first house on the right at the top (which can’t be seen, as the Google camera truck hasn’t been up there yet):

The astonishing thing for me about this photo is how verdant it all now is. Back in 1965, as I recall it, there were quite a few trees, but none of them anywhere near as big as these. The street looks like a veritable forest now. Nor was there that building on the right, covered in what looks like ivy. Nor was there ever any moss growing on the road.

I suppose that, in Rio’s hot summers, these trees now provide cool shade. And since all the back roads in Gavea seem to have the same rich abundance of foliage, I suppose it must have been deliberately cultivated.

But at least the granite cobble stones have not changed. They’re probably the same ones that were there 5o years ago, and maybe even 100 years ago. And they were the ones across which I walked, to catch the lotação that hurtled at break-neck speed through Rio’s busy streets from Gavea to Leme, and to get off in the old centre of Rio, where my father worked, and buy ice-cool orange squash in paper cups, or flavoured water ices in cones, and the wonderfully-illustrated American DC and Marvel comics that were unobtainable in England.


About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to Tobacco Plants Update

  1. Andi Bowden says:

    My tobacco plants seem to like Miracle-gro moisture control compost (B&Q quite often have it 2 bags for ten quid) you can mix it with soil to make it go further, and the pots need to be bucket sized at least, the bigger the pot the bigger the plant as far as I can gather, you could always just by some cheap buckets from your local pound shop and drill some holes in the bottom for drainage. I’ve got about 30 plants (Virginia, Burley and Turkish) the biggest of which are about 15-16 inches high, just need a few weeks of decent sunshine now!

    • Frank Davis says:

      Miracle-gro is one of those companies that won’t hire smokers. So I doubt if I’ll be buying any of their products any time soon.

      • Andi Bowden says:

        And I’m using their compost to grow tobacco, I love the irony, I’ve a good mind to write to them and tell them that their product is great for growing tobacco!

    • legiron says:

      I use actual buckets. Pound shop buckets with holes drilled in the bottom, filled with general purpose compost (currently cheap in most supermarkets). Each one stands in a ‘moat’ (pound shop cat litter tray) to deter slugs. Even so, they need to be well grown before they go outside or the slugs will reduce them to stumps overnight.

      They are still in the greenhouse, but they’ll move into the garden when (if) the weather stabilises and ideally before they fill the entire greenhouse! The great thing about buckets is that if there is a surprise frost before they are ready, I can move them back into the greenhouse again. Well, maybe – last year they grew taller than the greenhouse!

  2. churchmouse says:

    Agree with Andi on the pot size.

    Also, if you plant outdoors, the slugs will go for tobacco plants like crazy. To help stem (!) this, I have put crushed eggshells around the base of the plants (you’ll need at least four to six crushed eggshells per plant) and have placed plastic drinks container cylinders (tops and bottoms cut off) carefully around the plants so that they can continue to grow undisturbed. The rain has been great for growth, alas, also for slugs!

  3. karlos says:

    If anyone needs any tips just ask me, cuz I love the stuff – Made in England –

  4. waltc says:

    Nothing to add about plant growing but just to say that I liked the Brazil stuff. We all live in reach of a time machine and there’s sensual pleasure in going backwards.

  5. PaulinMO says:

    Mr. Davis,
    Storing seeds in the fridge shouldn’t be a problem. Three years ago I’d made an order to a company here in the colonies,
    I planted one of the seeds and kinda lost interest after I received them. They sat in their plastic in the bottom of the crisper drawer. This year, with the threat of a hike in the excise tax, I decided to sow and raise my own and this is the result as a week ago:
    The next hurdle is to properly cure, shred, and get it stuffed into those little tubes.
    I suppose it gives a GYO’er a sense of satisfaction that not a penny makes into the pockets of the reven-newers!

  6. Rose says:

    I quite agree with Andi, bucket sized pots.

    As you know, I favour John Innes No.3 loam based compost.

    I keep my tobacco seeds in the china cupboard in jam jars or in a seed box a friend gave me for Christmas, on top of the fridge, though last year, through sheer idleness I just left the dried out pods on the shelf above this computer because I got fed up of finding undated jam jars full of forgotten seed at the back of cupboards.
    I tested some of them this year, the 2006 Golden Virginia in an opened foil seed packet,didn’t germinate, but the 2009/2010 Havana in jam jar did, I think you’ll have no problems using Leggy’s seeds next year.

    Currently my best Virginia plant, sown in mid-January, is 40″ tall from root to tip of the highest up standing leaf, with tiny flower buds just visible in the growing tip, but the average is 30″ in bucket sized pots.
    My tallest Havana is 31″ planted out in the garden, I know because I just measured it.
    The Perique and N.Sylvestris aren’t worth mentioning because they were sown very late as an after thought.

  7. Rose says:

    I’ve also got about 10 pots with pepper plants growing in them, which seem to be doing well

    I’m glad to hear it, mine are a catastrophe, thin stems, floppy leaves and tiny flower buds that keep dropping off, it’s only my second year growing them, but as last year they did very well, I can only assume that it’s the weeks of low light levels, so this morning as a last desperate measure, I’m sinking the pots in the garden.

  8. Frank Davis says:

    I don’t think I’m going to be able to use buckets, because I’m growing these plants on my window sill (I’ve got no garden) and there isn’t space for something as big as a bucket. So I’m going to have to use something a bit smaller.

    I’ve no idea how big these plants are likely to get, or how long they’ll keep growing, or when I should think about harvesting them..

    • Rose says:

      Then I would suggest that you find the biggest flower pots that you can fit on your windowsill and saucers to match. I’m just leaving the leaves to turn brown on the plant and harvesting them then, but Junican and Leggy have been doing experiments with curing.
      You can be fairly sure however tall they grow that you will get a good harvest of flowers, they are repeat flowerers too, you pick, they grow some more.

      Just use the green bit at the bottom of the flower, put them on a piece of kitchen paper on something the same heat as a modem and dry them slowly until they are the colour of cardboard with not a trace of green. Then put them through a herb mill.

    • legiron says:

      They’ll grow to the size of the pot. Smaller pots, smaller plants, but they’re still tobacco. if it’s all indoors you’re also safe from slugs and frosts and high winds, so… swings and roundabouts.

      Then again, one large pot, in the corner of the living room, could result in an interesting conversation piece ;)

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Call for smoking ban to be relaxed
    Jul 9, 2012—A year and a half after the imposition of a law banning smoking in public places in Spain, bars and restaurants are calling for smoking rooms to be allowed on their premises, according to a thinkSpain story.

    Spain’s president, Mariano Rajoy, said during his electoral campaign that he was in favour of allowing catering establishments to set up separate, ventilated and sealed-off smoking zones, but health minister Ana Mató vetoed this from the start.

    But the issue has reared its head again amid plans for a casino city in either Barcelona or Madrid, known as Eurovegas.

    The head of Spain’s hotel and catering federation, Emilio Gallego, was reported to have made the point that it was ‘a shame’ that for local traders’ voices to be heard, a multinational company had to speak up.

    Were it not for Eurovegas, said Gallego, the fact that numerous bars and cafés had gone out of business or lost thousands due to a sudden shortage in customers and in drinks ordered would continue to be ignored.

    “A significant number – if not the majority – of bar customers smoke, and enjoy having a cigarette with their coffee or beer,” Gallego said.

    “I cannot see the problem with having separate smoking rooms in hotels, bars, cafés and restaurants – it’s no different to having baby changing rooms; those who don’t want to see it or be affected by it do not have to go in there.”

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Lord the junk science never ends:

    Smoking on footpaths increases hazardous air pollutants
    July 9, 2012 in Health

    (Medical Xpress) — A study by the University of Otago, Wellington has found that smoking on city street footpaths increases the amount of dangerous fine particulates in city air.

  11. legiron says:

    What the hell are they smoking in Wellington? Whole plants?

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