Bad Economy or Good Sense? Home-grown Smoke Takes Off

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Pinetree Garden Seeds of New Gloucester, Maine is experiencing a “phenomenal rush” of gardeners wanting to grow their own organic, heirloom tobacco along with their veggies and herbs, according to Donna Childs, CEO of Pinetree. “Our customers are always looking for unusual plants for their gardens, decks and patios,” Childs notes, “And heirloom tobacco takes so little space for such dramatic yields – we’re struggling to keep up with the demand for seeds and our comprehensive ‘grow your own’ book written by Bill Drake. Bill was famous in the 1970s as the author of the all-time bestselling ‘Cultivator’s Handbook Of Marijuana,’ and his new tobacco book promises to revolutionize home-growing of heirloom tobacco just as his '70’s book did for marijuana – and look what’s happened to home-growing in that field!”

and he was also the inventor of the 'American Spirit' brand of natural tobacco cigarettes. His new book is phenomenal – it covers everything anyone could possibly need to grow a personal crop of heirloom tobacco, and to understand what the tobacco industry has really been doing to smokers for generations.

Donna Childs and Richard Meiners, owners of Pinetree Garden Seeds of New Gloucester, Maine, (http://www.superseeds.com) have been selling a lot of heirloom tobacco seeds this season. “I’m not sure whether it’s the economy,” Childs shrugs, "or whether people who smoke are finally discovering that they can easily grow their own high quality organic tobacco. People are realizing,” she continues, “that it doesn’t matter whether they live in the country on a farm like us or in the city with just a patio or backyard for growing space like many of our customers – tobacco makes an excellent potted or garden plant. And,” Meiners adds, “a year’s supply of tobacco only requires a couple of mature plants, so space to grow their own organic tobacco shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Whatever the reason,” Childs laughs, "we’re running hard to keep up with the demand for heirloom tobacco seeds and growing instructions.”

Childs notes that it probably helps that the instruction book Pinetree Garden Seeds offers is “The Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco” by Bill Drake. “Bill was the author of the all-time bestselling 'Cultivators Handbook of Marijuana' back in the 1960s,” Childs says, “and he was also the inventor of the 'American Spirit' brand of natural tobacco cigarettes. His new book is phenomenal – it covers everything anyone could possibly need to grow a personal crop of heirloom tobacco, and to understand what the tobacco industry has really been doing to smokers for generations.” Meiners adds, “Our customers have traditionally been leaders in their community in growing their own food organically and naturally, and I think we’re just seeing the beginning of this new gardening trend with tobacco.”

“Tobacco was one of the four great gifts of the Great Spirit to the Native Americans, along with corn, beans and squash,” Drake adds, "and I believe that having access to pure natural tobacco is the rightful heritage of every smoker. And for gardeners who aren’t smokers themselves, growing pure, natural heirloom tobacco for friends and family members who do smoke is an act of love. Besides, growing tobacco is a lot of fun – it’s a fascinating plant with hundreds of heirloom varieties like ‘Frog Eye Orinoco’ and ‘Jorge Grande’. So home growers not only get to enjoy true, traditional tobacco, they can relax knowing that their tobacco is organically grown and free of deadly agricultural chemicals and additives." Drake’s website http://www.cultivatorshandbook.com is a motherlode of information for what he calls “gardening on the edge".

“I love working with Pinetree Seeds," Drake smiles, “because their philosophy of simple, prosperous rural and urban living, and the kinds of products they offer their readers to support that philosophy, remind me so much of my friends at the 'Whole Earth Catalogue'. WEC offered everything from Yurt kits to worm farms and, Drake notes, “no counter-culture home was without a well-thumbed copy. Readers who were alive and conscious in the '60’s will remember the WEC well, and so will many of those who were born later and have tried to recover the spirit of those times. I’ve tried to remain true to the spirit of that new age consciousness with my heirloom Tobacco-growing handbook, which is why I love working with Pinetree Garden Seeds customers.”

“Pinetree Seeds is committed to bringing our customers everything they need, whether they garden for pleasure, for profit or increasingly, for survival," asserts Meiners, “and growing your own native heirloom tobacco definitely fits within any of these gardening categories. Whether you’re growing your own tomatoes, gourds, beans, herbs, grains or tobacco http://www.superseeds.com is definitely in tune with Bill’s concept of 'gardening on the edge.'”

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