Unlike most other annual agricultural crops, tobacco has a small seed (1
oz=300,000 seeds), which cannot be sown directly in the field. Seedlings are raised in
carefully selected and tended seedbeds where protection is given against heavy rain and
excess sun. Young seedlings are planted out by hand or mechanical transplanter, and
spacing between seedlings and rows varies with the kind of tobacco and with the location.
The crop needs a minimum of 120 frost-free days and can be grown in a variety of soils.
Producing disease-resistant tobacco of acceptable quality is difficult, because the plant is susceptible to many diseases. Chemical control is now widely practiced, although the choice of chemicals is limited by the need to ensure that they do not taint the tobacco when it is smoked.
In the United States and Canada tobacco is often stalk-cut by machine, but in many parts of the world, it is still harvested leaf by leaf. Only a fully ripe leaf is used. After harvesting, leaves are tied together in pairs on curing sticks or strings.
History - Aging - Curing - US Tobacco Industry
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