Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Great American Backyard Tabaco Experiment, Day 68

Day 68. An example of the great growth thus far.

Greetings Friends,

The transfer has been a success for the most part. Any time you transplant/transfer plants, the shock is a stressor and can kill a plant (especially if the plants are very young). This post features pictures and notes from Day 64 and Day 68. Enjoy the update!

Day 64:

This past week saw record-breaking high temperatures in the Greater New Orleans area so it was imperative to keep a close watch on the tabaco plants. Even though tabaco thrives in hot and tropical climates, these plants are still young and the heat should be minimized.

The tarp definitely helped out, but it was important to make sure the plants had water at all times. On Day 62, the plants did not receive water and it showed. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures but little guys were wilting and not as green. However, everyday after, I made sure that the plants had plenty of the H2O and by Day 64, the plants were growing fast and getting greener. The only plant that caused some concern was the guy on the lower-right hand corner and I knew he was struggling and might not make it. Check out the photos.

Day 64. Looking good even in the 100+ degree weather.

Day 64. Notice even that the MVP shows signs of wilting in the extreme heat.

Day 64. Grow baby grow.

Day 64. This guy is growing even with some of the prior caterpillar damage.

Day 68:

Wow! Constant watering and vigilance pays off. Even though we are not talking about a lot of water (about a 16 oz bottled water's worth per day spread among the three trays), if the plants are well-hydrated, nature will take care of the rest. It is amazing to see how rapidly they are growing; new shoots and leaves are appearing and they are growing fast! The MVP is about 4 inches tall now and the green is very deep right now. Unfortunately, there is one plant that did not make it. I deduce that the combination of transferal, the heat and how small it was caused the plant to wither and die. But all is well otherwise. The remaining 11 plants should suffice and result in a good crop regardless. Also, there have been no signs of any caterpillars or other pests so the plants have been able to thrive.

Check out the blog next week for an update as we continue the Great American Tabaco Experiment.

Day 68. What progress...

Day 68. A nice specimen.

Day 68. Notice the little leaf in the center that is appearing.

Day 68. The MVP.

Day 68. Even with the heat, the leaves do not wilt as much during the day.

Day 68. This guy did not make it.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Great American Backyard Tabaco Experiment, Day 59

Day 43. An example of a tabaco pest. Damn caterpillar.

Greetings friends,

As I mentioned last time regarding our little experiment, you must maintain a constant watch to protect your tabaco crop. In this post I will give you a quick summary from Day 43, Day 49 and Day 59. Enjoy the stories and the pictures from each of these updates.

Day 43:

Here we go again! I found some more evidence of pest damage. I quickly scanned through the plants but these caterpillars are well-camouflaged. (I suppose they have to be as they are prey for birds). I found 4 and quickly disposed of them. You can see an example of one at the beginning of the post. If you miss even one, your plants are in danger, so again, either inspect your plants regularly or use insecticide (but you all know my thoughts on the latter option). Anyway, there were plenty of plants that survived. This is the reason tabaco has evolved over time to produce so many seeds. The probability of just one surviving from seed to mature flowering plant is low, so the plant produces thousands and thousands of seeds. And so after cleaning house (or garden), I wait for the plants to grow some more.

Day 43. Some damage but not too bad.

Day 43. A survivor.

Day 43. A nice survivor.

Day 43. A victim. Or two. Or three. Or...

Day 49:

By this time the sprouts have had a chance to recover from the caterpillar damage and have regained their color and strength. Again, all I did was check on the plants at least once a day. I personally checked the plants once in the morning and once at dusk. Any hint of damage resulted in me scouring for pests. I found a couple today and quickly terminated them. I apologize, PETA...not. Anyhow, at this point I felt that in another week, the plants would be strong enough for transfer to individual containers.

Day 49. Greener and denser.

Day 49. The MVP is doing well. Notice the veins.

Day 49. A nice scene.

Day 49. A healthy return.

Day 59:

We have approached the day of transfer. Selection Sunday! (well today is Thursday, but I love March Madness). Not to be confused with transplanting to the open field, transferring is quite simple. What I did today was choose the best-looking candidates from the hundreds of sprouts. I do this so that the plants can have a few more days under their belts and be strong enough to survive the hot, open weather. All I did was inspect each potential candidate and if it looked healthy, strong and green and without damage, I delicately pinched the sprout from the base and dug my fingers beneath the soil and pulled it from the container. TIP: Moistening the soil before pulling the sprouts causes less damage to the plant and root system.

I had soil containers ready (you can buy these at any garden center or Home Depot) filled with the backyard soil (this helps reduce shock to the plant during the transplanting step) and gently planted the sprout. What you have to notice during transfer is the root structure of each tabaco plant. It is simply amazing. Tabaco by its nature is a nutrient-water-hog. Tabaco loves to take from the earth as is evidenced by the impressively abundant root systems.

All-in-all, there were 12 plants that I chose. After transfer was complete, I put the little guys back on the table out back, added life-sustaining water and covered the plants using the homemade see-through tarp. Now that there are less plants from the hundreds that were available, it is even more essential that I maintain a constant watch. At this point the VIPs should thrive as each has its own container of soil and is not competing with crowded neighboring plants. I will let these plants stay as they are anywhere from 10-15 days before we transplant out to the open "field" (ahem, I mean backyard).

It is very hot right now, so the tarp is important in providing shade, but every day these plants survive only makes them stronger. Until next update, check out the Day 59 pictures and let us know what you think. Hopefully, we have inspired a few of you to catch that greenthumb and begin your own tabaco crops.

Day 59. Bird's eye view before we transfer.

Day 59. The best sprout. The MVP.

Day 59. Some nice specimens.

Day 59. Prepping up for Selection (sun)Day.

Day 59. A chosen sprout is up-rooted for transfer.

Day 59. Look at the root system!

Day 59. Going into the soil.

Day 59. The All-Stars have been chosen and transferred to individual containers.

Day 59. Creme de le creme each in its own container.

Day 59. Back to the shade.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

WWNO: WTC of New Orleans Examines Trade with Cuba

WWNO: World Trade Center of New Orleans Examines Trade with Cuba (2009-06-01)

Click the above link to read the report concerning a possible trade relationship between Cuba and the States (particularly how Louisiana plays into this).


Belicoso Brothers Interview

Greetings Friends,

I had the opportunity to speak to Zach at the cigar-related website and podcast site called Belicoso Brother's Cigarcast. He interviewed me last week and we chatted all things cigars and Devil's Weed. It was a treat and as I told him during the interview, it is nice to see cigar aficionados like him and his partner-in-crime, Peter, create and maintain these type of websites. They are integral in spreading the good word of the cigar and they inform other interested cigar smokers about our industry and culture. And since the creators are part of the younger generation of smokers, they are important in continuing the tradition of cigar-smoking. Their website also includes a blog. It's a beautiful thing, so listen to what these geometrically-inclined cats have to say.

To check out their website click here or to download the Itunes podcast which aired our interview, click here (episode number 2).

Good luck, Belicoso Brothers, and keep up the great work!


Monday, June 8, 2009

DogWatch Social Club Interview

Greetings Friends,

We at Molina Cigar Co. and Devil's Weed wanted to inform you of our interview with Bob at the all-informative DogWatch Social Club (Cigar Radio) website. If you would like to see the summary of the show and listen to our interview click here and scroll down to Show #221 (May 9, 2009). Or if you would like to download the show (caution: it's a big file), then click here.

Devil's Weed LP-1803
was also featured as the cigar of the month for these guys so we are very honored. Check out this website if you haven't and stay informed about the cigar industry's latest news, updates and features. Thanks again to Bob and Dale at DogWatch Cigar Radio!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Smoking Ban in LA Fails!

A bill to ban smoking in Louisiana bars and gambling facilities failed to pass the House 29-71. For continuing coverage on this breaking news event, please refer to

At least Louisiana politicians have not totally lost their minds.


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