Grow your own tobacco


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As tobacco plants for the garden, especially the ornamental tobacco species (Nicotiana x sanderae) are popular, which spread with their night flowers on the terrace and balcony a very special evening atmosphere. But not only the culture of ornamental tobacco is possible in our latitudes, also smoking tobacco (Nicotiana) for the production of cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco can be grown in the garden.

Grow your own tobacco - is that allowed?

The answer is yes. The domestic cultivation of smoking tobacco for personal use is completely legal in Germany and also tax-free. "Tobacco or tobacco equivalent products made from home-grown raw tobacco or tobacco substitutes and used for their own needs" are exempt from tobacco tax under the 2009 Tobacco Control Act (TabStG). According to current case law, private tobacco cultivation is also permitted in Austria and Switzerland. Of course, this should be kept in a small planter frame and should not exceed 100 plants. In addition, no trade may be made with the products.

Smoking tobacco as a leaf ornamental plant

Smoking tobacco is a handsome leaf ornamental plant

Is your own tobacco cultivation worthwhile?

The cultivation of tobacco is no more difficult than that of many other garden and crop plants. The manufacture of tobacco from self-grown tobacco, however, is extremely complicated and complex and it takes some expertise and many weeks of care and patience to produce from the plants a tasty tobacco blend. Producing cigarettes and cigars from home-grown tobacco is not child's play, but rather a task for specialists, inventors and enthusiasts. Garden tobacco, however, is "healthier" than conventional cigarettes anyway, because it does not contain any softeners, flavors or other additives. Whether smoking, chewing or sniffing tobacco generally makes sense, everyone must decide for themselves - it is of course not recommended.

Plant tobacco yourself

Among the many tobacco varieties, there are only a few that are suitable for the production of smoking tobacco. The most important are the Virginian tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and the farmer tobacco (Nicotiana rustica). From the end of March, the tobacco seeds can be brought forward in pots on the windowsill. The light germs are scattered only on the ground and lightly pressed. Keep the seeds moderately moist, then the seeds germinate within one week. When the first leaflets have developed, the seedlings are poked and placed in individual pots. From May, the small tobacco plants may be planted in the garden. Tobacco plants prefer a loose, sandy-humus-rich soil. Loam soil must be loosened before planting and improved with sand. A planting distance of 30 centimeters should be kept, as the mature tobacco plants can reach up to two meters in height and also grow quite expansive.

Tobacco plants grow up to two meters high

Tobacco plants grow up to two meters high

Maintain tobacco plants

After planting it is important to protect the young plants from snails. Four weeks after planting, the soil around the plant should also be loosened and piled up. If the tobacco as a pure ornamental plant in the garden, the care measures are hereby already completed. If, on the other hand, the tobacco is grown as a crop, it must be treated as follows: In order for the tobacco plant to put its vigor and seasoning into the leaves, it should be "decapitated" as soon as it has developed two or three flowers. This means that the flowers are cut off at the main stem to prevent the plant from putting unnecessary energy into blooming and fruiting. In addition, tobacco plants, like tomatoes, have to be regularly spiced up. That is, one removes the young necrets in the leaf axils to regulate the branching and maturation of the plant.

flowering tobacco

The flower of the tobacco plant is cut off

Harvest tobacco leaves

Once the leaves of the tobacco plant have matured, they can be harvested. This is already the case a few days after planting out. Tobacco plants ripen from the bottom to the top, that is, it is regularly cut from below over a period of several weeks mature leaves of the mother plant and hung to dry. Ripe tobacco leaves are recognizable by the fact that they turn brighter from the edge, first light green, then yellowish-brownish. Only the lower and middle leaves of the plant (the "main crop") are harvested because they are milder and the nicotine in them is less concentrated. The upper leaves, the so-called "Obergut", stop. The tobacco leaf is not cut from the stem during harvest, but demolished horizontally from one side to the other. Never tear the leaves from top to bottom, otherwise long injuries to the stem will occur!

Tobacco leaves dry

Depending on the variety, it takes between six and eight weeks for the tobacco leaves to dry completely

This is how the tobacco leaf turns into smoking tobacco

First, you have to distinguish between cigarette tobacco and cigar or pipe tobacco in the production of smoking tobacco. Since only by the right mix of different tobacco varieties (Virginia, Orient, Burley or the like) sets an aromatic taste, it makes sense to pull different tobaccos next to each other. After harvest, the tobacco leaves are dried for at least six to eight weeks, depending on the variety. To do this, hang the leaves on a leash as airily as possible in a damp, damp place so that they dry slowly - without, however, drying them out. An open barn or rainproof shelter is well suited for this purpose. Mark the rows of leaves with name and harvest date so that you can distinguish them later. Subsequently, the tobacco is "sauteed" in a sugar-containing solution to obtain special flavor nuances. There are many different recipes and procedures for this. Exception: Darker, more spicy tobaccos such as Geudertheimer can dry very slowly for up to a year and then be processed unsound. By subsequent fermentation lasting several days, the remaining proteins in the tobacco leaf are finally broken down and the leaves become supple and aromatic. After a several-week post-ripening phase, the tobacco can now be crushed and mixed.

Video Board: HOW TO GROW TOBACCO PART 1: Selecting the right seeds.

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