Tobacco
Growing, fermenting, and curing small scale tobacco: A surrogate project for my father.

Introduction

First of all let me explain the impetus for this project. My father has been smoking cigarettes for as long as I know. The smell of Camel cigarettes and zippo lighter fluid are more familiar to me that I would like. Thankfully, I never acquired the habit. We all know that he will never quit. The best that I can do is make his habit just a little safer.

With that goal in mind, I presented my father with two tobacco plants for his birthday less than a month ago. A few times in the past he has conveyed his distaste with government taxation of tobacco and hinted at his want for growing his own. It is the dead of winter right now so with the plants came a three COB, high power LED panel that I made. (I also gave my mother a ginger plant.) The plants will, I hope, spark a new (more healthy) hobby for him.

Use Calculations

A typical cigarette contains 0.5-1g of tobacco. A pack of cigarettes is ~25. If we do the calculation for replacing one pack per day, that’s about 0.5-1 oz per day. A single tobacco plant will yield 3-4 oz, but a conservative yield is more like 2 oz. So to replace a pack-a-day habit, a full tobacco plant would have to be processed every two to four days. A single plant might last as long as a week.

So the idea of indoor growing is mostly abolished. An outdoor patch will definitely be needed.

Each tobacco plant requires about 7 square feet (24" spacing and 44" rows). So a conservative sized tobacco crop for a pack-a-day habit is 1300 square feet. Grow period is about 3-4 months.

Work Log

26 Dec 2019

It seems like curing and aging will be the most difficult process. Without automation, I doubt it will be possible.

Since this is essentially a controlled environment problem, Arduino would be a perfect automation controller.

In a few months the plants will mature and I hope to have a curing oven ready for use.

Bibliography