Well…… I managed to drag myself out of bed and set to on the digging of the tobacco plant plots.
I have several digging implements, but the one I rely upon most is the spade which I inherited from my Dad. It is a solid, steel spade of unknown age. It is 10 and a half inches long in the blade by 7 and a half inches in width. Actually, it only took me about three hours to ‘turn over’ both plots.
The critical thing, at this time of year, is to open up the soil. Dig deep and just lever huge lumps of soil out of the ground and turn them over. Do not try to split the lumps up, other than a jab to split really big lumps. The objective is to create huge holes so that frost can get deep inside the soil. The frost freezes the water deep inside the soil. Frozen water expands, thus billions of little holes are created in the soil when the water eventually contracts after the frost. These holes fill with air – including nitrogen, which plants need. This state is called ‘conditioning’. Also, over the next couple of months, I’ll be chucking the daughter’s dog’s poo on the plots, along with human urine and cigarette ash. Note that none of these things cost a penny, and that is the point.
And so we start about now to germinate seeds – but that is another story.
The Exquisite Taste
I have, from time to time, mentioned to people in the pub that I grow my own. The other night, one of my friends asked me if he could try one of my creations. So I made a little cig packet containing four fags. Tonight, he gave me his opinion. He was really impressed by the taste. He said that he had expected the taste to be ‘rough’ and was really surprised that the taste was mild and delightful. I was especially pleased by his opinion because it has borne out my own assessment. Commercial fags are bland – intended to appeal to all tastes.
I have been mixing my own stuff with commercial stuff using ‘Coronas’ cigarettes (Japan International fags sold in Spain). I have in mind to purchase some ‘whole leaf’ tobacco and try mixing with that.
Growing in Buckets
Readers will remember that I have been growing three plants on a bedroom window ledge. I have sought opinions as to why the leaves of these plants have been so small. I am sure that it is true that they have received insufficient sunlight – possibly, to the extent of receiving only one quarter of what they should.
Today, as part of ‘the digging’, I have gathered the seed pods from the bedroom plants and put them on the fireplace to dry. Those plants have therefore no further use, and so I have dispensed with them. Imagine my amazement when I looked at the root systems. Here is a pic:
Oh My God! Note the spade which is seven and a half inches across. Note the size of the roots of the plant! They are almost non-existent! And yet those small roots have managed to sustain the plant through the year and provide some small leaves and seed pods.
WHAT WENT WRONG!
Looking at the first pic, it is obvious that the soil is far, far too compacted. It is a solid lump of concrete, for all intents and purposes. What I expected to find was a bucket full of roots with nowhere to go. I did not expect to find no roots at all to speak of!
And so we now have two good reasons why those plants produced so little – one, lack of sunshine, and, two, dense, compacted soil.
We live and learn. Clearly, a problem with ordinary soil in a bucket is that the soil has nowhere to expand. It is such a compact mass that roots cannot dig in. When I try again, as I shall, I’ll ensure that I use compost, mixed with some soil, some stones and twigs and quite a bit of vegetative material.