Tobacco is a short cycle crop (between 90 and 105 days), intensive and extremely sensitive to the season in which it is planted, grown and harvested. Tobacco can adapt to a wide variety of soils. However, the most appropriate for its cultivation are those sandy and clay loam. Blond tobacco requires deeper and better drain than black tobacco.
Tobacco has the advantage that it can grow in diverse climates where freezing temperatures do not occur for more than 120 days. Optimum temperatures for tobacco development are between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.
It is well suited to regions with moderate rainfall, well distributed throughout its cycle.
Planting season. Traditionally, in tropical climates it has been considered that the ideal months to plant tobacco are November and December, since it results in better yield and quality and allows for rainfed cultivation, taking advantage of the rain during this season. In mild climate the planting period is in the spring and summer, seasons that have average optimum temperatures to grow tobacco.
Tobacco seeds are very small and its germination is delicate and complicated. It is recommended that they be germinated in green houses to obtain seedlings to be transplanted in the field. Green houses should be installed in clean places, well drained and closed to water sources, preferably in new terrain. Transplantation is a careful process, since the young plant is very vulnerable to climate variations, to diseases and parasites. The seedlings to be transplanted must be 3 to 6 inches high, about 40-50 days after planted.
Harvesting. During harvesting, in order to achieve proper curing of the tobacco leaves it is important to harvest them at the proper time of ripeness, this of course, depends on the variety of tobacco. For example, for black tobacco it is better to harvest before the stage of physiological ripeness, unlike blond tobacco which is harvested at an advanced stage of ripeness so that there is a predominance of carbohydrates. In order to obtain a good harvest, it is necessary to place the harvested leaves in a tobacco house to protect them from the environment and from losing moisture in an accelerated manner. Nor should they be piled up in warehouses for long periods of time, in order to prevent mishandling or premature cell death. They must be strong together in such a way that rings only hold two leaves at a time.
Curing: Once tobacco is harvested, the leaf must undergo a real transformation in order for it to become raw material for the industry. Once harvested, tobacco leaves must first be cured, later fermented and aged.