SHTF Guide to Growing Tobacco

Even if you don’t smoke, you should consider growing tobacco.

The use of tobacco is a dangerous habit, one that causes three million deaths annually worldwide. However, it is legal, and adults who enjoy using tobacco are free to make their own decisions. Whether you’re a smoker or not, there are plenty of reasons you should consider growing your own tobacco.


Tobacco may not be healthy, but let’s face it—after the apocalypse there may be situations when you want to take an edge off with a cigarette. If you don’t, someone else will, and that’s where tobacco’s real value to preppers lies.


Is It Legal to Grow Tobacco?

Most people never consider growing their own tobacco because they assume it is illegal to do so. Commercially grown and processed tobacco is heavily regulated, but surprisingly growing your own is not. At least not in most areas.


Prior to an apocalyptic event, you should check your local and state laws to make sure it’s legal to grow tobacco where you live. After the SHTF, however, there will be no more laws. You’ll be able to grow wherever the conditions are right.


Why You Should Grow Tobacco

One of the main reasons smokers grow tobacco is they want the cigarette without the additives. While that is a good reason to grow tobacco, it’s hardly the only reason. Keep reading to learn more about why you should grow tobacco, even if you’re not a smoker.


Medicinal Uses

In the past, tobacco had a wide variety of medicinal uses. In Pre-Columbian America, the use of tobacco was believed to promote good health. The smoke from tobacco was believed to disinfect and help ward off disease and fatigue. It has also been used as toothpaste, as an antidiarrheal, for pain relief, and to heal wounds and burns.


Today we know tobacco does more harm than good, and there are better medicinal solutions. However, after TEOTWAWKI you might not have access to those healthier alternatives.



Unlike many other barter objects, like lighters, tobacco isn’t something you’ll need to stock up on ahead of time if you want to trade it. You can grow your own tobacco. After the SHTF, tobacco will be as valuable as coffee. It’s one of those creature comforts people need when they’re under stress.


If you’re a smoker, think about what you would be willing to trade for a cigarette when you really need one. Other smokers feel the same way, making this one plant that will be worth its weight in gold once the grid goes down.


How to Grow Tobacco

Believe it or not, you can buy tobacco plants on Amazon. Once the grid goes down, however, you’ll have to grow your own from seed. This needs to be done indoors. You’ll transplant the plants once they reach a height of 2-3 inches.


Use a flat tray or other type of container that is 4” to 8” deep. You’ll want to fill these with mineral-rich soil. Spray the top of the soil with water from a spray bottle to keep it moist. Sprinkle the tiny seeds across the top of this soil. Take care not to let the soil dry out. Spray as often as is needed to keep it moist.


To successfully grow your own tobacco, make sure the following conditions are met:

  • Your soil pH is around 5.8
  • Start your seeds indoors
  • Keep your potting soil damp
  • Grow in partial shade


After you’ve transplanted your tobacco plants, care for them as carefully as you would any other plant. Take measures to keep predators away and make sure they get the water, sunlight, and nutrients they need. It will take approximately 40 to 60 days for your plants to grow big enough to harvest.


How to Grow Tobacco Indoors

Although tobacco is a relatively easy plant to grow in most parts of the United States, you may not want to grow your tobacco outdoors for security reasons. If you aren’t able to grow plants outside you can still grow them indoors.


To grow tobacco indoors, find a warm, sunny location for your plants. Make sure the soil you use has the right nutrients. If growing indoors is something you’re planning to do, stock up on fertilizer that contains potash and nitrogen now.


How to Cure Tobacco Leaves

To cure tobacco leaves for use or barter, hang the leaves up in a cool, dry area. It takes a long time to cure tobacco, but hanging the leaves is most of the work. Once that’s done, you’ll let them dry for eight to ten weeks. Take the leaves down, and you’ll have tobacco that is ready for use.



Why you should grow your own tobacco.


Learn more about the forgotten medicinal qualities of tobacco.