Sorting the WordPress Problem Out: The Curing Box – Using to Dry Leaves: The Plants

I am at a bit of a loss to think of anything to blather about tonight, so I’ll spend a little time on ‘associated topics’.

I mentioned the WordPress Problem a week or two ago. What was happening was that WordPress was slow loading and loading to the wrong ‘page’. It ought to load the log-in window first, and quickly, then it should load ‘Comments’ and quickly. What was happening was that everything was very slow and, after the log-in, it was going to a list of blog WordPress ‘functions’, such as ‘All Posts’, ‘Themes’, etc, not all of them specific to this site. The only way that I could get into the site was via ‘All Posts’. Even that did not always work.

I seem to have solved the problem. There was a recommendation, which was to ‘clear THE WHOLE browsing history’, although clearing THE WHOLE was only hinted at. I don’t really understand what I’m doing, but I did delete THE WHOLE, apart from passwords and autofill. Also, there were a couple of downloads which were ‘search engine related’. I got rid of them also.

Anyway, when I had done that, and clicked on the BSC link, everything was back to normal – straight to log-in, straight to comments, straight to ‘new post’ when I clicked it. (This one) Of course, next time I do it, it might be cocked up again. Oh… Forgot to say that I changed the password some days ago without effect.

Damn! I’ve just opened a new tab and clicked the BSC favourite and – shit – crap again.

Must try harder. I’ll have to pester the WordPress admin, and pester them I shall – greatly.

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Re the ‘Curing Box’. Readers might remember that I was having problems when I simply hung leaves in the box in that the lowest parts of the leaves dried out far too quickly and dried out green. Because of that, those green parts had had no chance to ‘cure’. To correct the problem, I rolled up the leaves in towels. Here are a couple of pics as a reminder:

2014-08-17 16.07.29

That is the box. I was going to put hinges on the flap (at the bottom front) and the lid (self-evident). I’ve decided not to – hinges would be more trouble than they are worth – it is simple enough just to move the flap and the lid out of the way.

2014-08-21 15.33.12

There are the rolled up towels containing the leaves hanging inside the box.

The whole thing is powered by a crock pot (slow cooker) placed at the bottom of the box. The heat level is controlled by a thermostat. Further, since then, I have lined the interior with kitchen foil and partially insulated the outside with polystyrene sheets. It is all very ‘Heath Robinson’.

The ‘towelling method’, allied with the ability to maintain a constant 35ºC, has yellowed the leaves nicely (apart from a few stubborn bits) over the last two days.

JB from Ireland found a really good, short pdf article on curing tobacco. It is ‘authoritative, being a result of the investigations of an agronomist, but is simple and clear. Here it is:

http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/436/436-048/PDF_61-64CuringTobacco.pdf

What I particularly liked about it is this. It says:

The leaves need to be ‘alive’ for the starches to ferment into ‘reducing’ sugars. The fermentation must be done at a low but warm temperature (around 35C), otherwise, the sugars, being ‘reducing’ sugars, will decompose into carbon dioxide and water. The leaves will be ‘cured’ when they have become yellow. After that, the leaves need to be ‘killed’ by increasing the temperature to around 55C for as long as it takes, generally, a couple of days.  Nice and simple, don’t you think?

I didn’t think that it would be possible to get a temp of 55C using the crock pot on a low setting, but it is possible.

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All this experimentation is fascinating. Today, I have tried the kitchen oven, but it is very hard to control the temperature and avoid overheating. I have tried the propagator, but it is not hot enough. The curing box seems to be working well.

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Growing the plants this year has been a bit weird. Some plants are gorgeous, but others are not very pretty. Here are a couple of pics:

2014-08-24 15.07.27

 

That is Plot 1. The white thing is a 30 cm (1 foot) ruler. You can see that there are some jolly big leaves on those plants. But you can also see that there are small plants in the foreground and on the left. Those were plants which I put in later because of slug predation. There is still September and October for them to grow.

2014-08-24 15.08.41

That is Plot 2. Not so good, but it is North facing. It does not get much sunshine since it is overshadowed by next door’s bushes and trees. Note how the development of the plants gets worse on the right. Those plants are nearest the fence and most overshadowed. But there is time yet, as I said. All I’m interested in is getting the best harvest that I can this year. I have plans to extend Plot 1 over the winter and, possibly, abandon Plot 2. What is the point of having a decent-sized garden and having most of it just grass?

I wish I had thought of growing tobacco plants twenty years ago.

 

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4 Responses to “Sorting the WordPress Problem Out: The Curing Box – Using to Dry Leaves: The Plants”

  1. Samuel Handley Says:

    Perhaps the fence could be painted white to reflect more light onto the plants and solve some of the shading problem.

    • junican Says:

      I honestly think that it would not work because of the ‘North Facing’ aspect. I wish that it were otherwise!

  2. J Brown Says:

    I think you next project is going to be a polytunnel…plants can go out earlier (or later, as mine did this year) and still catch up – and will continue to grow through November. I also was reading about fertilizing – I found a company that advertised in the US specifically for tobacco growers, and their product for the growing season as an 8-16-8 fertilizer. So, 8% nitrogen, 16% phosphorus, 8% potassium. I have read that if there is too much nitrogen in the leaves, they are very hard to color cure….??

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