Methods of curing tobacco. Page: 4
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on some of the soils of the Connecticut Valley, but the average soils at
present used for tobacco produce a good wrapper leaf and a poor filler,
as a rule.
On the other hand, the soils of the tobacco district of Ohio are very
strong, heavy soils,-containing a very high water content. These produce
a strong, heavy, dark type of tobacco, which can be used at present
only for filler purposes. The characteristic crop of Ohio used to
be a wrapper, but in the change of style from dark to light cigars the
produce of that district is adapted at present to the filler only. In
Pennsylvania the same thing holds true, except that along the river
courses the soils are lighter and a very fine quality of wrapper can be
produced. The main dependence of the grower is a filler crop, and on
the heaviest limestone soils filler leaf only is produced. The Wisconsin
soils appear to come midway in texture between the Connecticut Valley
and the Pennsylvania soils, and both filler and wrapper are produced.
It is important that the distinction between the commercial requirements
of the wrapper and the filler leaf be recognized; for under the
present demands it is not only impossible to produce a wrapper and a
filler of the same excellence upon the average soil of any of these
Northern districts, but the treatment of the plant from the time it is
set out until it is in the hands of the manufacturer should be different,
depending upon whether the main object is to produce a wrapper or a
The crop is planted in rows, usually 3 to 4 feet apart, and 18 to 24
inches apart in the row. It is topped to 15 or 18 leaves, and is frequently
suckered during the season. It is on the ground about ninety
days, the season averaging from about the middle of May to the last
of August. All the leaves on a plant do not ripen at the same time.
Under the conditions prevailing it is therefore usually considered
necessary to determine the average time of ripening and cut the plant
when the middle leaves are ripe. The ground leaves will of course be
over ripe, while the top leaves will have hardly matured. The stalk is
cut and laid on the ground for one and one-half to two hours to wilt.
It is turned, if necessary, to prevent burning. It is important that rain
should not fall upon the plant while lying on the ground. After it is
wilted sufficiently the stalk is speared on a lath, about eight plants
to the lath. It is then hung in a barn to dry. The tobacco barn is
quite tight but well provided with ventilators, which are opened on
favorable days, as the barn must be well ventilated until the tobacco
is thoroughly wilted. Artificial heat is not used. The time and
rapidity of curing depends entirely upon the weather. It rarely
exceeds two months, however.
When thoroughly dried the laths of tobacco are taken down during
a warm, damp spell, and piled in heaps with sacks or cloths spread
over them to keep the pile in " order " for several days. "Order" or
"case" in tobacco curing means a moist condition in which the tissue
will not break. Frequently when the piles begin to dry the butts are
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United States. Department of Agriculture. Methods of curing tobacco., book, 1898; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6321/m1/4/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.