WHEN TO HARVEST?
The proper time to cut down a crop is determined by several factors. Harvest happens at the end of the flower cycle and when the growing media has been sufficiently flushed of any remaining nutrients. Different strains have large variations in the flower cycle times. Typically, sativa dominant hybrid strains take up to a month longer to reach completion than indica dominant hybrids. Research your plant's genetics to determine how many weeks of flower it will need until harvest. Also, it is important to “flush” your plants of any nutrients in the growing media beginning the second to the last week of flower before harvest is anticipated. If you have too much nutrient remaining in your plants roots and leaves, your cannabis will have a less desirable taste than the same genetics if properly flushed. Use a binding style flushing agent to ensure that any remaining nutrients in the media are sufficiently eliminated. Do not wait until it’s too late to flush!
It is important that more than one of these visual conditions is observed before deciding to harvest.
- Trichomes “oil glands” color: 10-25% amber. Use a magnifying loupe to get a close visual inspection.
- Bud formation: flowers have filled in and look enlarged and swollen.
- Stigma “hair” color: majority have turned red/orange from yellow/white.
- Bud color: lighter green than in the weeks before.
- Leaf color: yellows, oranges, reds and purples.
PREPARE YOUR DRYING SPACE
The room should be between 60º-70ºF and 40-50% humidity.
String wire or have hangers available to hang your plants from.
Any light coming into the room should not be from grow lights or the sun.
Keep a slow-moving fan on, (NOT pointed at your plants) to circulate the air.
Dry until the medium size stems make snap when bent and the outermost portion of the buds are dry and slightly spongy. Typically, 4-7 days.
CUT DOWN YOUR PLANTS
Starting from the main trunk, cut an inch above any branch so that a hook is naturally formed.
Trim off of the larger “fan” leaves before you hang your branches upside down on your wires or hangers in your drying space.
There are many ways of drying your herb and each has its good points and solid methods. This is simply the way we think it should be done. Drying time also depends on where you live and the place you dry them. Places in a desert would dry your plants faster, and tropical places would take longer.
Protect your hands with rubber gloves.
Use a spring-loaded pair of scissors to spare your hands from being fatigued.
Start by removing the bigger leaves.
Carefully cut a section off the branch, giving you a handle to hold onto the cola.
Very carefully trim the smaller “sugar leaves” into a bag. All of these trimmings can be used to make various types of concentrates like cannabutter and hash.
Place your buds into a brown paper grocery bag, stacking them no more than 3” deep. Close the tops of the bags by folding them over like a lunch bag. Curing in this type of environment will create the perfect humidity, slowly drying them to perfection and avoiding over drying and mold issues. Open the bag once or twice daily for the first week, allowing them to “breathe”. Doing this ensures they will dry slowly which leaves a nice smooth burning and tasting product. Leave your buds in the bags for a couple weeks. Transfer your buds to glass containers with a 58% humidity silicon packet (these can be purchased at your local hydroponic store). This will keep your buds fresh for years.