I'll be posting my efforts to grow my own cigars, with diary-like entries as something worth telling (IMO, not yours ;) happens. If you like that sort of thing, read on. I'll try to remember to precede each post with "MCR:" (Misc Cigar Ranch :), so you can filter them out, if you want.

--- 7/18/02

Tobacco seeds arrived today. They're the size of pepper. Not big chunks of fresh-ground-pepper, but the little black stuff that's in pepper-shakers. Incredible. Anyway, the booklet says they need to be exposed to sunlight to germinate and like all the nutrients that are in ash. Luckily, we heat our house with wood, so have a huge compost pile made up mostly of ash.

"Planted" the 12 varietals that will eventually (hopefully) comprise the "Don Misc* Secret Blend" -- and by planted, I mean "shook unto the surface of the soil/ash and watered them with an eyedropper so as not to mix them up, wash them away, bury them or otherwise do anything they wouldn't like. Just getting started, and this is already a labour-intensive crop -- sheesh! Who's idea *WAS* this?! :D

Booklet says to expect seedlings in 2 weeks, although another article says he got sprouts in 10 days. "Close enough."

Book says I'm allowed to grow 1/10th acre for personal use, and farmers get 4-7000 plants per acre with a yeild of about 5oz of cured tobacco/plant. That sounds like too much work, I'll shoot for less than that ;) 40 plants sounds like about 10 boxes of cigars -- that's more than enough for me to smoke, store, trade, give-away and compost (if they turn out to be rockets.)


* Booklet talks about cutting your tobacco for cigar filler. Why do we care about long-filler vs cut? I understand hand-made (typically long) vs machine made (always cut), but is tobacco that's cut by loving, caring hands as good as long -- is it the cutting that is bad, or the machine-processing? Seems to me you could get more homogenous blends (if that's a goal -- hmmm, maybe not) with cut filler, and the risk of botching a cigar with wrinkle-filler (the normal by-hand method) seems high for an untrained roller (me.) Perhaps cut into strips, vice shreds would work? Hey, I can roll sushi, how hard can this be?! ;^D

(NOTE: Look into those little hand-crank rolling machines, when we get that far. Also, locate a pro-roller or two, and start a friendship.)

* Need to get more links to sites with info on the harvest -> cigar process. A lot of what's out there is cigarette based with "oh yeah, you can make cigars, too, if you want."

* Will tobacco help me get rid of deer? Or are they going to eat my plants, become addicted, and come back demanding more? <sigh>

* Book recommends lots of sun for big, fast growing leaves. Other articles say "shade tents" to prevent leaves from growing too quickly and becoming veiny. Is "less veins" just a wrapper thing, or the whole cigar? Does cut vs long filler matter? Veins probably don't have as much taste as leaf (pure speculation), probably go with shade-mostly.


Tune in next week (or 2) to hear all about MCR seedlings :)

* "Don Misc"? "Don Elaine"? Will need to work out a name -- but that's many years away. Mrs. Misc. wants "Laurel", "Mountain" or "Redwoods" in the name, to reflect the area of origin. We'll see what happens.