Tuesday, July 26, 2011

topping tobacco

We spent the morning down in the tobacco patch checking for bugs, worms, yellowing leaves, and tipped over plants from the rain yesterday. We had a few more to get in the ground yet too and it was also time to top the first round of plants that went in. Very few bugs and worms thus far thankfully and there were only a handful or two of plants that had fallen over so it was not too tough of a job.

Tobacco, like all plants begins to set seed before the end of its life cycle. Since one plant can provide enough seed for about an acre of garden, they are topped when this begins to happen. We typically only allow one or two plants to make seed for us. This way, the plant continues to do what it is supposed to do rather than putting energy in making seeds. Topping a plant is just like it sounds, taking the top off. This also tends to help the plants stay upright better as they finish growing. The flower/seed heads get heavy and the upper leaves that come with them make the plant top heavy so any heavy rains or winds can take the plants down.
Once the plants were topped, we hauled the big pile of broken or yellowing leaves up and began stringing them in small bundles to hang and begin curing.


  1. Is this a cash crop, or for your own use? If for your own use, what comes after curing?

    (You can email an answer, my addy is in "about Me" on my blog)

  2. I have a meagre two plants growing in pots! I put another two in the ground, but it was so hot they wilted and died in one day!

    I was walking by them this morning and remembered reading about topping.. good thing.. they both had flowers way too early... Thanks for a great blog.. so useful to share what you have found on your journey to self sufficiency...