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Growing Cuban Tobacco Leaf

The actual growing of the Cuban tobacco leaf is a year-round process that involves many people and several stages. Several fields are planted at different times of the year. This helps to spread the work out over the course of the seasons so not everything is occurring and needs to be taken care of all at one time. While it is a laborious process, the results are well worth it.

Work typically begins during the months of June and July. While this is the hottest time in Cuba, it is also the best time to begin the growing. The time it takes from the actual planting of the seeds to harvesting is generally about seventeen weeks. Those leaves planted in the direct sun can sometimes take sixteen weeks.

The fields need to be plowed very careful when getting them ready for the seeds. A carefully planned out pattern is used for the planting itself to guarantee that everything is grown properly. Animals are used instead of machinery to assure that everything is plowed to the correct depths and the right patterns.

Some tobacco is grown in very special nurseries. These leaves are often grown for a particular purpose and flavor. They are grown in nurseries with thatched roofs to protect the seedlings properly. Some seeds are even grown in specially designed seedbed tunnels to give them extra protection. This is a relatively newer method of growing in the area.

Following approximately forty-five days of growing, the seedlings are generally about thirteen centimeters high. It is at this time that they are ready to be transplanted.  About eighteen to twenty days following the transplant, workers begin to pile soil around the bases of the plants. This helps to promote solid root development of the plant.

Once each plant has reached its optimum height, a process known as desbotonado is performed. In this process, the tobacco leaf’s tip is removed to help with the leaf development. This process also allows for better and faster growth of the sprouts of the plant that can be used. This process is performed several times over the course of many visits to each plant.

After about forty days after transplant, harvesting can generally begin. This is often described as the most difficult part of the process. Each leaf must be harvested by hand, so it can be very tough and time consuming. Generally, a person can only take two or three tobacco sheets at a time and days must go by between each time of collection. Harvesting just one single plant can often take upwards of thirty days.

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