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Connecticut Shade Tobacco Seed

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Market price: $4.99
Our price: $3.25
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SKU181321
SKU181322

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Connecticut Shade Tobacco

75-80 days, 100 seeds

Connecticut Shade leaf produces some of the finest cigar wrappers in the world. Originally grown under trees to provide shade from the direct sun, today's shade leaf tobaccos are now commercially grown under shade cloth. The covering is used to duplicate the tropical shady conditions where this type of tobacco was originally grown.

Connecticut produces nearly 900,000 lbs of shade grown leaf annually. Connecticut shade-grown tobacco is one of the most expensive agricultural commodities in the world commanding prices of $55 or more per pound for the highest grades of leaf. Our seed stock originates from one of these Connecticut farms, and is the same seed used to grow 60 acres under shade cloth in the 2013 season.

Connecticut Shade Leaf will grow to over 9' in height producing 26-28 leaves. The plants are very uniform and have little to no suckering. The leaves are a light green averaging 12" x 18" and turn a mottled yellow as they ripen. It matures in 75-80 days. Shade Leaf tobaccos will develop leaf qualities more similar to a broadleaf wrapper when grown in full sun. When shade grown the leaf will be larger, thinner and be more elastic.

Heirloom Tobacco Seeds Planting Instructions

Sow tobacco seeds indoors in flats, trays or small pots 6-8 weeks before transplanting. A plastic tray with 4 or 6 packs inserts works very well. Fill trays approximately 3 inches deep with a fine starting mix soil or potting soil. Pack soil very lightly. Potting soil should be screened to remove any large chunks. Thoroughly soak soil and let drain before seeding. Do not use garden soil.

Sprinkle 2-3 tobacco seeds in each pot on top of the moistened soil. Do NOT cover seed. Mist the seeds lightly with a spray bottle and cover the tray loosely with a plastic dome or sheet of clear light plastic film. Do not seal tightly. Leave a corner propped up to allow some air exchange. Place in a well lit area near a window or under grow lights where the temperature is a constant 70-80 degrees. Do not exceed 85 degrees. Mist the trays daily and keep the soils surface moist at all times. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Tobacco seed germination is very temperature dependant. Lower temperatures will greatly delay germination.

When the tobacco seeds start sprouting, remove the plastic cover and move to a fully light area such as a greenhouse, cold frame or under grow lights. Keep soil moist at all times, but do not over water. Water when the surface of the soil first begins to appear dry. Over watering may cause seedlings to dampen off, and impedes root development. Thin or divide tobacco seedlings to 1 per pot.

 

Planting instructions for tobacco plants:

Set seedlings outside in filtered sunlight for 2-4 hours per day for a week before planting to acclimate and harden off the tobacco seedlings. Plant seedlings in rows spaced 2 feet in all directions after all danger of frost has passed. Keep soil moist until plants are established. It is normal for plants to wilt after
transplanting and appear not to grow at all during the first 2 weeks. All the growth is taking place under ground at this stage. Once established, tobacco requires little water. Fertilize lightly at planting and again in 4-6 weeks only if needed. 

Cut off the flower heads when they appear. Topping forces the energy into the leaves making them larger and thicker. Cut off suckers (side branches) when topping. Leaves ripen 2-3 weeks after topping and are ready to harvest when they turn yellow, or become a mottled green and yellow with curled edges.

 

Harvesting and curing tobacco:

Tobacco leaves may be picked as they ripen (primed) and strung on wire or string with ½ inch of space between them for curing. Whole plants can be cut and hung when 50% of the leaves show signs of ripening. Curing (aka color curing) happens when chlorophyll in the leaf breaks down and the leaf changes from green or yellow to brown. Hang leaves or plants in an area where you can maintain a daily average of 70-80% humidity to cure and dry. Basements or outdoor sheds often make great curing locations.  If dried to quickly, the leaf will not cure and will dry green. Tobacco that fails to cure and dries green is unsmokable.

After curing, continue to dry the tobacco leaf until it is completely dry and the main stem snaps like a twig. Once cured and dried, the leaf can be left to hang and age where it is, or brought back into case (re-humidified until the leaf is pliable) then packed into cardboard boxes for storage and to age. Aging allows time for nitrogen compounds in the leaf to break down, which removes the harshness of freshly cured tobacco and lets the true flavors come through.

For a downloadable PDF of these instructions, click here.

Don't forget there is tons more growing, curing and other information at Fair Trade Tobacco.

 

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