Monday, September 26, 2022

Hang 'Em High

 ... the tobacco stalks, that is.

I harvested my tobacco yesterday. Well, all I had room for in my garage as things stood, which amounted to 8 of my 20 plants. This time, I took the easy way out and cut down the whole plants and hung them upside-down, as-is.

The crop right before harvesting. The Virginians were tall and stately. The biggest of them was 5' 6". The Tennesseans were short and swarthy, but with broader leaves. I only harvested Virginians and ran out of hanging space in the garage before I got them all.

The stalks in the garage. Fittingly, you can just barely see the pictures of Lee and Jackson looking on approvingly in the background.

This time, I'm not going to let the cure to the point of crispiness. Once they turn brown, I'll take them down and go about the fermentation process while the leaves are still pliable. I might even smoke some of it before I ferment it, just so I can get a few puffs of it in case I ruin it again.

I ended up with a lot more tobacco than last time because I planted them well-spaced in the ground instead of crowded together in a planter box. They responded by stretching out and getting really big.

This might just end up well.


tim eisele said...

A yes, the fundamental problem of agriculture: you generally either get barely any crop at all, or enough for 50+ people. Nothing in between. And it comes all at once, so you have to work like crazy to preserve it if you want it to last through the year.

Well, at least you have enough that you can try several different fermentation methods now.

tim eisele said...

Incidentally, while the leaves look mostly intact, I do see what looks like a few holes from insects eating the leaves. Did you see any good caterpillars? Maybe some tobacco hornworms (Carolina sphinx)

or tomato hornworms (five-spotted hawk moth)?

The bugguide range maps do show both species being in California, so either is at least possible.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I didn't see anyone eating the stuff, but I did see some holes. For the most part, the bugs left it alone. I suspect that most of them are vaping these days anyway.

K T Cat said...

As for the size of the crop, I was thinking the same thing - that I can try multiple fermentation methods. Certainly, one ought to make it through the mold gauntlet.

Also, I'm going to smoke it at various stages in the process and see if I can tell a difference. Since I don't smoke, I'll have an uneducated palate. Perhaps that's for the best.

I'm thinking that next year's crop will be corn so I can try my hand at moonshine.