11 Growing Notes
I'm getting a couple of leaves a day, now -- mostly still pretty small (4-8" long, 2-4" wide), none of the bigger leaves have started turning, yet.
Given the rather sketchy information about harvest, I've decided to just pinch leaves when they turn fully yellow, or any amount of yellow and start to brown around the edges -- basically, when the leave looks to be "dead."
Indian grows fast & tall (my 2 tallest Winter-over plants, and also the fastest growing seedlings) -- big, wide, veiny leaves. Lots of nicotine. Attracts many white-flies.
White flies also seem to gather around seedlings, but seem partial to the Indian & Sacreds. Sometimes rose.
Both Havanas (503b & 608) grow long, slender, "delicate" leaves with light veins, and seem white-fly and other bug resistant. Slow growers, though -- perhaps they don't like the temp swings and would do better in a more stable environment.
Madole also has long slender leaves, medium-veiny, and seems more bug-resistant.
AFAICT, the white flies don't actually eat the leaves -- although SOMETHING is sneaking out there at night and putting pencil to dime sized holes in my leaves. Clearly not a worm/caterpillar, as they're much more voracious than that. Could be "acid burns" from dropping redwood trash -- as happens to many other plants in this area. I try to keep them clean, but it's tough. Next year, experiment with sprinkler (rinse vs drip) watering (probably at night.)
Indians sprout huge flower clusters -- very pretty.
Rose looks like it'll be a cute little flower-bush, too.
The others are all in seedling stage, although the Chilean & Sacred seem to be fast growers, also.
Indian might be less veiny if it were more shaded. Or, maybe that's just how it grows.
It's come to my attention that when the pros produce "shade grown" -- that means tobacco in a wide-open field (12+ hrs of direct sun/day), but under 50% canapies, like they have at garden stores. My set-up is more like 100% sunlight 2-5hrs/day (depending on which tier of the garden they're in) and in full-shade the rest of the day. The Indians may have just grown veiny from being in the 5hr/day sun spot.
Bugs suck. White flies are annoying. Look into some sort of fogging mechanism, next year. At this point (several large plants), I spend about $6/week in bug-spay (organic, by Safer), although it was much less when the plants were small, and will be much less when they're more harvested. Still, even not counting labour, I bet these cigars cost me on the order of $2-5 each.
Ok ok... so I could spend less in dirt & drip-irrigation next year. Although I'll probably have to re-nitrogen the soil.