Save your Dottle and your Butts!
Most of us are out of the office today because it's Memorial Day. The holiday (today) is often stretched out to include an entire weekend full of the kind of festivities so many of us enjoy. After the winter months, this usually marks the first occasion most folks can enjoy the outdoors on an extended holiday which means you’re bound to see a lot of people smoking pipes and cigars. And while enjoyable as smoking is, I wanted to share a neat little trick you can do with dottle or cigar butts: gardening.
Yes, I said "gardening", and no, I don't mean you should flick cigar butts or knock your pipe dottle all over you garden. However, tobacco has been known to be a very useful addition to gardens for centuries. I stumbled upon this useful tip years ago when I was growing a basil plant and it was becoming bombarded with beetles. I decided I was either going to kill completely the stringy, wilted excuse for an herb that was peppered with holes from bugs and speckled with yellow dots or save it by using an old tin of Penzance. Smokers of Penzance, please don't give me any flack. The tobacco in the tin was given to me because it was left outside by a friend and was then bone dry. Since I don't smoke Latakia, I figured it would either kill my basil plant or make it better. I put a few flakes in a mug and poured hot water on top to make tobacco tea. This went into a spray bottle. Some of the other tobacco got sprinkled around the plant while I sprayed the leaves lightly (after plucking off the ones with holes). Adding water to the pot like I always did, I checked back in a few days. The basil was nearly double in size - or so it seemed. The leaves were all perfectly green and there were no holes from beetles. I never had a problem with beetles eating the leaves after this on the basil or anything else. As it turns out, making a tea from tobacco and spraying flowers on anything in the garden (besides tomatoes, it seems) makes bugs not want to chomp on them. Cigar butts, pipe dottle, and ashes can all be saved in a container and added to compost or soil to deter bugs as well.
I would suggest a little bit of research before you start hosing down roses or broccoli with tobacco tea from a Super-Soaker squirt gun, though. But from personal experience, the results have been successful. Brian Levine, who used to work for us, told me about saving his cigar butts and dottle to use in his flower garden for the same reason. Who knows? Maybe your wife will encourage you to smoke more cigars or pipe tobacco. You can always tell her she is free to empty your ashtray anytime she wants.
Today you can find new cigars from E.P Carrillo, along with pipes from Rad Davis, Tsuge, Dunhill, Luciano, P.S. Studio and a lot of great factory pieces as well. Don't forget to check out the estate section and add a few tins of tobacco to your order. You know, because it's good for the garden!
Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector