COLLECTION AND SEASONING
Due to the needs of collecting and treating tobacco, there is low production of smoking in the home or the garden for personal use. Another deterrent to domestic tobacco production is the need to age aged smoking for one or three years or more. The following suggestions are not based on any experience or research information but are only the opinion of the writer. However, some producers of home-grown leaves have developed harvesting and treatment techniques that are satisfying to them and often share their experiences with others.
The tobacco can be hardened with added heat, or it can be tightened with air. There does not appear to be any practical means for the gardener to use heat for tobacco curing because of the structures that are required. Tobacco could be dried without heat if a room with good air circulation is available. The temperatures for air polymerisation can vary from 15-18 ° C to 30-32 ° C, and the relative air humidity should be around 65-70%. Proper curing should take a few weeks to get good quality. The tobacco that dries too quickly will be green and does not have a pleasant aroma and flavor. While mould or rot could develop if the process is too slow. A room that can be opened and closed as needed to control relative humidity and drying speed.
The harvest can be done by removing the leaves from the stem in the field and treating them by cutting the stem at ground level and hanging the entire stem. The sheets would then be removed from the stalk after they have dried. If the sheets are removed in the field, there should be four or five collected at 1-2 week intervals, starting with the lower leaves. The first harvest would be at the topping or immediately after and when the leaves show a slight yellowing. If the entire stem is cut for curing, it should be about 3-4 weeks after topping up. The lower leaves would be partially damaged at this time. Provide adequate space between the stems to allow satisfactory leaf drying.
Ageing (only necessary if aiming at a very high-quality product)
All commercial tobacco is aged from 45 days to a year or more before being used. Unworked nicotine is hard and does not taste good. For the home gardener, ageing will probably be more difficult, even more than cultivation. Ageing for o can take up to 5-6 years and does not occur unless the temperature and humidity conditions are favourable. If the tobacco is too dry, there is no ageing, and if it is too wet, the leaves will decay. Unfortunately, the correct temperature and moisture content vary widely. The domestic producer would need the knowledge and skills to properly age tobacco or be willing to experiment with smoking. The same would be valid for the addition of flavouring agents during or after ageing and before the smoke is used.