The real reason why Cuban Cigars are the best

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Storm Surge.

Yup that's right.  The Vuelta Abajo region on the western tip of Cuba is world renowned for having the best growing conditions for Tobacco in the world.  Cigars made here have ash that burns lily white and the smoothest smoke and finest and strongest leaves.  Why is this?  Many say it is the very sandy rich soil high in nitrates and calcium and magnesium.  They say it is the perfect humidity of 65% and 75 degrees F.  These things are true and are important.

But the real reason is high sodium in the soil.  Sodium competes with potassium and reduces potassium uptake.  What this does when combines with high calcium and magnesium in the soil is a lower potassium product.

Potassium causes a darker burning ash.  Sodium, Magnesium, and Calcium burn with a white ash.

Now armed with this knowledge look at the wiki page below. 


You will notice that lo and behold the western tip of cuba (the best tobacco area) is the one that gets hit with the most hurricanes.  This causes the soil to be relatively high in sodium and low in potassium thus producing world famous tobacco (and other leafy greens as well).  Also cannabis producers are looking for replicating that "clean smoke" designated by white ash so this is how they can achieve it.

Another part to understand here is that chloride can be toxic to plants yet sodium is relatively benign.  So how does the Cuban geology prevent chloride poisoning tobacco when storm surge causes salty seawater to cover the land?  High Calcium.  Limestone that underlies the soil absorbs the chloride leaving the sodium free for plant uptake.  Calcium is much better at binding to chloride than Sodium is.  So the key here in hydroponics (and soil growing) is not to put sea salt, sodium chloride, on your plants but chloride free versions like Sodium Phosphate or Sodium Sulfate or BHB Sodium.  Keep in mind phosphorus or sulfur shouldn't be over around 100 ppm each.

Up to 1000 ppm of sodium may be beneficial if NaCl is not used and rather something like Sodium phosphate or BHB Sodium.  100 ppm of Sodium if not a chloride should be very safe in nearly all plants, and perhaps a good starting point in your quest for the best product.

Silica also plays a part here.  Cuban soils are highly sandy so the process of inundation with free sodium (highly alkaline when the chloride stripped by the limestone) will dissolve the sand and produce sodium silicate.  This sodium silicate will have enormous benefits on the leaves.  Bamboo extract is a good organic hydroponic source of silica.  Sodium Silicate can be used too.

Effect of Silica on salinity stress




sodium effect

exchangeable sodium (ESP)

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