Planting Facts: Shade tobacco is grown under a large canopy to prevent burning of the leaves. Large fields are covered with gauze or cheese-cloth nets, shielding the tobacco plants from direct sunlight. Unlike other varieties, shade grown plants can reach a height of seven feet, and have leaves over two feet in length. Every plant is tended by hand at least a dozen times, and the cultivation process is time-sensitive.
- Setting poles: The poles that hold up the tents may need to be replaced or re-secured in to the ground. This task may cause musculoskeletal strain and pain.
- Putting up netting: The white nets are put up and taken down each season.
- Setting wires: The wires that the plants are tied to during stringing must all be secured. The workers use a wooden stick to assure the wires are tight. If not, nails are used to tighten wires to the poles. Eye injuries are common during this process.