TN 86 LC Tobacco


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TN 86 LC Tobacco TN 86 LC is a low converter strain of TN 86. Our seeds are F2 generation. What are low converters? Tobacco plants produce many different alkaloids. Two of the most commonly produced alkaloids are nicotine and nornicotine, which are closely chemically related. During the curing and drying process, some nicotine chemically converts to nornicotine. The heat of combustion can then convert some of the nornicotine into TSNA's, or Tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Tobacco-specific nitrosamines comprise one of the most important groups of carcinogens in tobacco products, particularly cigarettes and American style fermented dipping snuff. Over the past several decades, selective breeding has reduced the nornicotine content in most modern day varieties to near zero in burley and dark tobacco types. With the goal of further reducing TNSA's, research is now focused on lowering the amount of nicotine which converts to nornicotine during the curing process. To qualify as a LC tobacco, the conversion rate must be 3% or lower. The conversion rate of nicotine to nornicotine is controlled by particular genes in the plant, but is not consistent from plant to plant, and declines in successive generations. To be classified as an F1 generation LC tobacco, a leaf sample must be take from each plant during each growing season and it's conversion rate measure. Only seeds from plants with less than a 3% conversation rate can qualify as certified F1 generation LC seed. About TN 86: TN 86, the first burley tobacco variety having resistance to TVMV and TEV diseases, was released by the University of Tennessee as a commercial cultivar in 1986. The new cultivar, which is also resistant to black shank, black root rot, wildfire, and most strains of potato virus Y, was developed at the Tobacco Experiment Station in Greeneville. TN 86 is a medium-to-late-maturing cultivar at about 80 days, that has more leaves and a more upright growth habit than other burley cultivars. Extensive testing throughout Tennessee and surrounding states has demonstrated that TN 86 is widely adaptable. TN 86 has substantially out-yielded other burley cultivars in areas that have heavy infestations of TVMV or TEV diseases. The cured leaf is generally reddish-tan in color and has consistently sold for prices comparable to or higher than those for other cultivars.

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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