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Tying Leaf for Hanging/Curing-- How Do the Pros Do It?

Growley Monster

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For anyone who has ACTUALLY SEEN THIS DONE, how exactly were the leaves tied? Four times now, I have had stems shrink enough to slip out of their ties, and fall to the floor. If I tie too tightly, the twine severs the stem. I started out just taking four turns around the stems, then tying a slipped square knot. That didn't work, and gave me the above results. Now I am only tying in bundles of four leaves, with just a clove hitch around the stems, because I figure with less twine used in just wrapping around the stems, shrinkage will create less slack. Also I can easily grab the short end and pull, and tighten up the clove hitch, or else just throw another half hitch around the stem with the standing part. Boy scout types, please, I am a retired seaman so don't just suggest this knot or that knot if you don't know how the pros do it. Knots I know. I need to know how it is done on actual cigar leaf tobacco farms. I am starting to get tired of finding soggy piles of leaves on the floor. I get grouchy and grumpy when that happens.

Also, is it okay to wash off the bits of dirt and mulch with a garden hose nozzle? So far, I am still picking pretty low on the stalks, and the fuzzy leaves cause a lot of debris to stick to them. I have been spraying the leaves off before bundling, and soon I will be picking high enough where the leaves are nice and clean, but I was just wondering. I need to nail down these details this year while I only have 100 plants to mess with because next spring this stuff is gonna get real.
 
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For anyone who has ACTUALLY SEEN THIS DONE, how exactly were the leaves tied? Four times now, I have had stems shrink enough to slip out of their ties, and fall to the floor. If I tie too tightly, the twine severs the stem. I started out just taking four turns around the stems, then tying a slipped square knot. That didn't work, and gave me the above results. Now I am only tying in bundles of four leaves, with just a clove hitch around the stems, because I figure with less twine used in just wrapping around the stems, shrinkage will create less slack. Also I can easily grab the short end and pull, and tighten up the clove hitch, or else just throw another half hitch around the stem with the standing part. Boy scout types, please, I am a retired seaman so don't just suggest this knot or that knot if you don't know how the pros do it. Knots I know. I need to know how it is done on actual cigar leaf tobacco farms. I am starting to get tired of finding soggy piles of leaves on the floor. I get grouchy and grumpy when that happens.

Also, is it okay to wash off the bits of dirt and mulch with a garden hose nozzle? So far, I am still picking pretty low on the stalks, and the fuzzy leaves cause a lot of debris to stick to them. I have been spraying the leaves off before bundling, and soon I will be picking high enough where the leaves are nice and clean, but I was just wondering. I need to nail down these details this year while I only have 100 plants to mess with because next spring this stuff is gonna get real.

Try the forum at freetradetobacco.com. Those guys are most all growers. There may well be a baccy gardener on that forum who lives near you.

I know that when have scored air cured baccy which originated in Amish farms in Pennsyltucky, it is tied in hands of three or four dozen leaves, using fat three strand cotton twine.

The bottom leaves are called mud lugs for precisely the di you complain about.
 

Growley Monster

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Try the forum at freetradetobacco.com. Those guys are most all growers. There may well be a baccy gardener on that forum who lives near you.

I know that when have scored air cured baccy which originated in Amish farms in Pennsyltucky, it is tied in hands of three or four dozen leaves, using fat three strand cotton twine.

The bottom leaves are called mud lugs for precisely the di you complain about.
Yeah I have been on that forum but it's not really a good fit for me. I learned a lot there, but I would rather not post there. I like it here better. But thanks for the tip. Now I know that there is no reason why I can't tie up hands of a lot more leaves. I think the problem is just the way I was tying them. Too many turns around the stems.
 
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Yeah I have been on that forum but it's not really a good fit for me. I learned a lot there, but I would rather not post there. I like it here better. But thanks for the tip. Now I know that there is no reason why I can't tie up hands of a lot more leaves. I think the problem is just the way I was tying them. Too many turns around the stems.

Or maybe too hard of a string.

Note, also, how the hand is tied is by tucking the string thru the stems. I don't keep Broadleaf around any more; but here's some Sumatra.

Here's the knot:

174511


Here's where it's tucked thru:
174512

Kinda hard to m ake out the tuck thru. Basically, the string passes from one side of the hand, right thru center to the other side.
 

Growley Monster

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Or maybe too hard of a string.

Note, also, how the hand is tied is by tucking the string thru the stems. I don't keep Broadleaf around any more; but here's some Sumatra.

Here's the knot:


Here's where it's tucked thru:


Kinda hard to m ake out the tuck thru. Basically, the string passes from one side of the hand, right thru center to the other side.
Thanks! That is sort of what I was looking for. I am getting a much better idea of exactly how to do this best.
 

Growley Monster

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I have found my solution. First of all, I bundle my hands with rubber bands, stretching them tightly. When the stems shrink, the rubber bands shrink right along with them and keep holding the leaves securely. To hang, I tie a clove hitch, that's all, and run the rest of the string under the tie and between the leaves, about halfway through the hand. I tie the strings of two hands together so I can hang them over the joists in the curing barn. I also now hang them for the first week or so under the carport, because the curing barn, AKA garage, just doesn't get enough circulation.

All the mud lugs are picked, or mostly, anyway, and now I am picking pretty decent leaf. I get the ones turning ripe no matter how small they are, and I also grab the nice big long wide leaves before they start to turn. I may try leaving those big leaves to turn yellow in the next couple of pickings, but I see big leaf and All I can thing about is wind damage and bug damage. Biggest leaves are a couple feet long. Tallest plant is about 7 feet tall. I pinched all the flower tops except for a few for Mrs. Monster to admire. I am not saving seed from this crop because I got them all mixed up between CT Shade, CT Broad, Criollo 98 and Habano 2000. I will be more meticulous next year or maybe just grow one breed.

I haven't kept a tally but pretty sure I have picked well over 20lbs fresh weight of tobacco so far, maybe closer to 25lb, and less than 1/4 done harvesting. None of the potted plants did well, even with really big planters. In fact even the raised bed plants didn't do well. They just really need their toes in the ground. I am guessing 20lb green weight will end up about 4lb cured weight. Next year I will keep better track, maybe number each hand and record green weight and number of leaves. I should probably number the plants, too, and record their production.
 
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