It's time to start pulling leaves. The drying part looks easy enough, it's the curing part that looks tricky. Every site and YouTube video I've seen has a different method, so I'll have to allocate batches to different methods to see what works for me.
This means I'll probably end up with only a small amount of successful tobacco this year but I'll have a better idea what to do next year. I'll also know not to bother with the rubbish clay soil I have (some have better soil and weather, but I have to work between permafrosts here), and use compost-filled buckets in moats as growing media. Also, next time, I'll need six-foot support canes because the wind knocked some over this year. Politicos take note - this is what 'learning lessons' actually means.
Booze production will also begin in earnest later this year. Including an attempt at mead from Rose's tips in comments. As for resources, I have huge and swollen plums all ready to go, a few gooseberries and raspberries (not enough this time) and it looks like I'll have a decent apple crop if the wind leaves enough of them on the tree. I have no demijohns - well, that's not perfectly true, I have six but they are at my parents' house in Wales and getting them here intact will cost more than new ones. So I need an alternative, and there is a really cheap one available.
The idea comes from here and is superbly simple and extremely cheap. Five litres of supermarket own-brand water costs pennies, it's even cheaper than beer despite what you've heard, and if the water isn't great I'll use it to water plants in the event that it ever stops raining. There might be bigger ones available, I haven't looked. The plastic bottles, with a bung and airlock in the top, become wine fermentation vessels.
You can make wine out of pretty much any kind of vegetable matter except tomatoes. For some reason, that just will not work. Sure, some types of plant are better than others - most fruit works as do most root vegetables, and even some flowers, but runner bean wine and courgette wine isn't often produced for a good reason. It tastes dreadful.
Now I'm wondering about the stems those tobacco plants will be left with once the leaves have gone. That's a fair chunk of plant material. I had planned to dry them and use them as chimenea fuel but...
Tobacco wine. Dare I? It would be the ultimate evil, surely?
I think I feel something growing on my forehead...