I’ve been growing tobacco again this year. In my first year, growing them indoors (I have no garden) they eventually grew the full height of the window. In my second year, I started them late, and they hardly grew at all. This year I started them earlier, but they’ve only grown about half way up the window. I don’t know why my tobacco plants grow upward. Maybe I should clip off the growing tip to make them grow sideways?
I’m still using seed that Leg-iron sent me three years ago. After last year’s failure, I wondered whether the seeds were no longer quite as viable as in the first year. But given that the same seeds have done better this year than last year, they may be as viable as ever.
I’m a bit surprised that Leg-iron’s seeds are still viable. Because seeds (along with fruits and vegetables like apples and potatoes and carrots and tomatoes) have a very slight metabolism. They’re ‘ticking over’ and burning energy at a microscopic rate. And since tobacco seeds are so small, it’s a surprise to me that they haven’t used up all the energy stored in the tiny seeds.
I’ve also got a plant growing from some seeds that smokingscot kindly sent me. He sent two seed pods. One was a complete failure, but the other was a considerable success, and produced lots of plants. Unfortunately most of them died, and just one plant remains. And it looks different from Leg-iron’s Bulgarian climbing tobacco plants. It has bigger leaves, and hasn’t shown the same tendency to grow upwards. I still have half a seed pod full of these seeds, so next year I’ll see if I can grow some more.
One other experimental plant I’ve got this year is actually one of last year’s plants. It’s been suggested that tobacco is an annual plant, and dies at the end of the year. But I kept one of last year’s small plants, to see how it would do given another summer. And it did very well. In fact it did almost as well as the plants grown from seed this year. Which makes me think that tobacco isn’t an annual plant, and can keep growing from year to year. I’m thinking that I might retain my 2-year-old plant through the winter, and see whether it carries on growing in a third year.
And since one plant has survived for approaching two years, another experiment I might try is to chop down my current crop, and harvest the leaves, but then leave the stumps of the plants in their pots. Because after year 1, I found that many of the stumps left in the pots started growing new leaves before I finally disposed of them. Because if tobacco will just keep growing, year after year, maybe there will be no need for seed. And the same plant may produce new leaves and shoots, and regrow each year. But that’s an experiment for next year.
Several of the plants have flowered. In the past I haven’t kept the seed pods. This year I think I’ll collect them and try to germinate them next year.
Lots of interesting experiments in store!
But I still haven’t figured out what to do with the leaves after I’ve harvested them. Over the past two years, I’ve just tied the cut plants together, and hung them upside down in a cupboard. Doing this, the leaves stay green, but gradually dry out. And I’ve found that if this is ground down into small fragments, it’s perfectly smokeable when added to manufactured rolling tobacco. And in fact all my smokes these days are made up of a confection of various different kinds of tobacco.