Where is tobacco grown?
Know that tobacco leaf will grow in almost every type of soil. Tobacco is an extremely hardy plant. It grows pretty much where any other agricultural crop will grow, although, as a rule of thumb, tobacco grows better in soils which drain well. The important thing to note is that tobacco will be extremely affected by the soil in which it is grown; lighter soils will generally produce lighter colored tobacco, while darker soils will generally produce darker colored tobacco.For best results, grow tobacco in a climate that's dry and warm. Tobacco requires a frost-free period of 3 to 4 months between transplant and harvest. For best results, tobacco should be ripened without heavy rainfall; excess water causes tobacco plants to become thin and flaky. The ideal temperature for growing tobacco is 68° to 86° F (20° to 30° C).
Part 2Planting and Transplanting Tobacco
- Sprinkle tobacco seeds onto the surface of a sterile seed starting mix and lightly water. Be sure you place your starting mix in a small flower pot, preferably with holes in the bottom. These seeds should be grown indoors for 4-6 weeks.
- Seed starting mix consists of compost and other nutrients which promote healthy seed growth. They are available at most gardening and home improvement stores.
- Tobacco seeds are extremely small (not much larger than a pin prick), so be sure not to sow them too thickly. Allow adequate spacing between seeds to avoid overcrowding.
- Because tobacco seeds are so small, it's not advisable to begin them outdoors. Also, their nutrient requirements are different from many other plants, so adding a bit of gravel or special fertilizer designed for tobacco is a good idea.
- Tobacco seeds require warm temperatures ranging from 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit to properly germinate. If you aren't growing in a greenhouse, make sure your indoor area meets these temperature requirements.
- Do not cover the seeds with soil since they need light for germination; covering can slow down and even prevent germination from taking place. Seeds should begin to germinate in 7-10 days.
- Water the soil frequently to keep it moist but not soggy. The soil should never be allowed to completely dry out.
- Be extra careful when watering because the force of the water can uproot the freshly emerging tobacco seedlings and cause them to die.
- If possible, water the seedlings from the bottom. If you used a flower pot with holes in the bottom, set the pot on top of a tray of water. Leave it there for a few seconds so that the water is absorbed by the soil. This will water the seedling without wetting the leaves.
- Your seedlings should be large enough for transplantation if you watered and stored them correctly.
- Transplanting seedlings to a larger container will allow them to grow a strong and healthy root system.
- To see if your seedlings are the right size, try grasping them. If you can easily pinch them between your thumb and index finger, they are ready for transplanting. If they are still too small, allow the germination process to continue until they have reached the right size.
- Transplanting tobacco plants bare-root (without soil) directly from the seedling pot to the garden is an easier method, as it only involves one transplantation. However, once planted, the bare-rooted plant can go into "transplant shock" where some or most of its largest leaves turn yellow and wilt. After a week, the tobacco plant will begin to flourish once more, but avoiding transplant shock altogether will save you a week of waiting as the potted plant will begin growing immediately once transplanted.
- Water your seedlings with plant starter fertilizer solution like miracle grow or seaweed/fish emulsion fertilizer. This should be sufficient food for the plants until they are ready to be transferred to your garden in approximately 3-4 weeks.
- If your plant begins to look yellow or look stunted, another dose of fertilizer may be needed. Do so sparingly, however, since over-fertilization while in pots may burn the plants roots or lead to overgrown, spindly plants.
- Be sure the area you plant the tobacco is constantly exposed to sun, well-drained, and tilled.
- Lack of sun will result in spindly plants, poor growth, and thin leaves. This may not be problematic if you intend on planting tobacco for cigar wrapper use, since growing tobacco under shade can create desirable leaf characteristics.
- Also test the pH levels of your garden. Tobacco plants need to be planted in moderately acidic soil, otherwise they won't flourish. The soil itself should have a pH of 5.8. Poor growth and some growth disorders may occur if the soil pH is 6.5 or higher.
- Avoid preparing your garden on soil that is infested with diseases and nematodes. Nematodes are parasitic worms which feed on tobacco and are extremely difficult to exterminate once infestation occurs.
- Transfer the tobacco plants to your garden when the shoots are 6–8 inches (15.2–20.3 cm) in length. Space the plants at least 2–3 feet (0.6–0.9 m) apart in a row, and space rows 3 1/2 - 4 feet from each other.
- Tobacco plants are "heavy feeders, " meaning they will deplete the nutrients in the soil in about 2 years. To counteract this, employ a 2 year rotation in your growing space by planting for 2 years in a different location and waiting 1 year before transferring it back to its original location.
- Rather than having an empty garden plot, you could rotate tobacco with plants that are not susceptible to common soil-borne pests, like corn or soybeans.
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