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Cultivation

The Tobacco Process

Cultivation

During the summer the seedbeds are prepared, choosing loose and well drained soil, preferably close to a water source. After applying fungicides and herbicides to the seedbeds, farmers distribute the seeds with sand and ashes so they will know where the seeds are planted.

Irrigation starts right after this process, and thereafter two times per day. The seeds are covered with rice straws to avoid the direct heat from the sun, excessive loss of humidity and to protect them from wind. After 45 days of irrigation the offshoots are 15 to 20 centimeters tall and are then ready to be transplanted.

Sowing is done in stages starting in October, to accommodate the different phases of the process without creating a backlog. The offshoots are sown 40 centimeters apart from each other. Watering is essential during this process.

Tobacco plants need 45 to 50 days to reach complete development, but throughout this period they have to be visited regularly to eliminate buds on the plants before they flourish since flowers consume great quantities of nutrients, damaging the useful part of the plant: the leaf. In Spanish, this is called “desbotonado”. The elimination of buds allows plants to develop bigger leaves, but at the same time, unleashes an accelerated growth of side shoots which also have to be eliminated, which is called “deshijado”.