Growing Tobacco

I don’t smoke, but my gardening neighbor David had extra seedlings of tobacco.  How could I say no?  Here at Piety Hill Homestead, we are always trying out new plants for their usefulness.

Last summer I grew the common Burley type, used in commercial cigarette manufacturing, and this year he gave me a Hopi tobacco plant. This shorter,  more “rustic” type is used by various cultures in ritual practice, and I read it has about a 9% nicotene content as opposed to Burley’s 1- 3%.  Wow!  That oughta light up a pipe!

To use, I simply air-cured my tobacco leaves indoors last summer after they started turning yellow. Throughout the year, they made an excellent gift for visiting smoking friends.  Because it is a smoke mixture free of the 4,000 odd chemicals that going into store bought cigarettes, I feel happy to offer it as an alternative to my loved ones.

I also use it as a fabulous pesticide.  Dried or fresh, I steep it in water and spray it on plants that host bugs. If you walk by Piety Hill Bakery on 4th St., please pause and become acquainted with this beautiful and useful plant.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of seed of both types so feel free to email for a freebie!

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