A busy evening. Caught up with some Emails although there are more waiting, and heard from Lulu.com that the ebook of 'Ghosthunting' isn't getting past their conversion filters. I'll have to fiddle with it and try again. It's because it's written as a manual so it has subheadings. Novels and short story books don't have those. Apparently subheadings mess up the contents page. This doesn't affect the print version.
I've also spent a fair bit of time processing some leaves. I lost all the ones in the greenhouse to mould. It was too windy here to have the roof vent open and even though temperature and humidity were perfect, without air circulation the mould took hold. High humidity, warmth and no circulation means mould can spread very, very fast. All those are now in the compost.
Fortunately that was only half the leaves. The rest were in the garage and remained mould-free but humidity in there was too low. Some dried too fast despite regular misting and are still green. Roughly half of the garage stock was okay but all of it was too dry.
I've steamed all the leaves and re-hung the too-green ones. They might still work, they might not, but it costs nothing to try. If they refuse to change colour I will use them in an attempt to produce nicotine juice for Electrofag. They won't go to waste. If the Righteous succeed in banning Electrofag (oh, they haven't given up yet!) then I'll need a way to keep mine in action.
The nicely browned ones are now rolled up into cigar-sized wads. Still a bit on the rough side for smoking. They need to ferment a bit and age. This evening produced 42 grams of smokeable baccy and I have about the same still hanging up in the garage. That 42g would cost somewhere around a tenner at UK shop prices so even if it is a bit rough and even if it's all I get, I've broken even on the experiment. More than break-even if I include the leaves in jars with brandy/cherry brandy flavouring and the ones I 'tested' - and way more than break-even when I consider this year's first-ever experience of smoking the flowers (thanks to Rose for that one). If there are any Electrofag juice producers reading, that flavour would be a winner.
So this experiment was a success in that it ended up costing nothing. I'll look forward to the flowers next year and start collecting earlier. A whole rollup of flowers is too much but sprinkle some dried and chopped ones into the rollup and it's like smoking a summer meadow.
Seeds - I have enough to cover Scotland in tobacco plants. I already have the buckets and trays from this year so next year's cost is only compost. And I have until then to set up for a better drying method. .
Correct drying would save a lot of lost leaves and a lot of bother. Steaming overdried leaves doesn't half stink out your kitchen. I used an old pot and an old bamboo thing that was for steaming those pancakes you get with crispy duck. It's never been used for its intended purpose and is now designated as 'tobacco steamer'. They don't need much steam, just enough to give them a thin-leather consistency. Don't cook them!
It would have been better if they hadn't needed steaming at all, but this is all experimental and there were bound to be cock-ups on the first try.
Next year I'll know which disasters to avoid!