Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grow Your Own - Tobacco

The latest egregious increase in the federal tobacco tax has resulted in de facto prohibition for millions of users. Yes, I know that inhaling tobacco smoke may not be wise but it is probably far less hazardous than the nearly ubiquitous activity of living to eat and acquiring mounds of unsightly blubber, diabetes and heart disease as a consequence.

For the time being tobacco is still legal to grow for personal use. Do not try to sell the leaves to another party, however, because that is classified as a crime under laws that are somewhat similar to sixteenth century mercantilist codes thoroughly discredited by Adam Smith over two centuries ago.

The tobacco varieties grown for smoking are cultivars (manmade plants unable to survive on their own) requiring about ninety days to reach maturity depending on the specific variety. The seeds are very small and should probably be started indoors under growlights four to six weeks before the last frost in your area. Light is required for germination so sprinkle the seeds on the growing medium and keep the surface moist but not wet. After harvesting, the leaves need to be stored somehere airy and dry to cure. The longer that they cured, apparently, the better they taste. Both seeds and flavorings are available on the internet. If your first crop is successful it might be a good idea to save seeds for the following year.

I must give the tobacco companies praise for producing consistently high quality, flavorful and conveniently pachaged products. It is far easier to buy their goods than to grow and roll your own. Unfortunately, taxes have now reached a level where they are interfering with commerce.

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