Shelter and Cultivation of Tobacco

T Shelter and Cultivation of High Grade Cigar Tobacco, Alabama.
All over the world today a great number of institutions and other agencies are engaged in the scientific study of the problems of agriculture. Their efforts result in continually bringing about improvements and sometimes decided changes, not only in methods which have been accepted for long periods, but also in introducing certain products into regions differing widely in natural conditions from those of their origin, and often far removed from the latter. In the view before us we see a good illustration of these facts. This field of young tobacco plants in Alabama is perhaps several acres in extent. Yet in order to produce the best conditions of shade and humidity for the growth of the plants, the entire field has been covered with a framework of laths supported by rows of poles set in the ground.

At first thought it would seem that such an arrangement would be too costly to prove profitable. But the tobacco here produced is Sumatra leaf, one of the most valuable varieties grown, the returns from which, after harvesting and curing, amply justify the additional expense involved. The special adaptability of Sumatra tobacco is for cigar wrappers. Originally it was produced only in the islands of Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, and though efforts were made to introduce it into Florida under seemingly suitable conditions of soil and climate, they were unsuccessful until it was noted that the character of the leaves was much improved if they were grown in the shade of trees. Artificial shade, such as we see, was then resorted to, with highly satisfactory results. Most of the Sumatra tobacco now raised in this country under these conditions is produced in Florida and Connecticut, though some comes from other sections.

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