If you’re new to the world of growing cannabis, you may be wondering when to harvest your cannabis plants for best results. You’re not alone & that’s why we’ve compiled some key information below to help you through the process.
When To Harvest Cannabis for Better Results
Every ganja gardener has their own green thumb when it comes to harvesting their cannabis plants. However, most marijuana gardeners understand that when it comes to the optimal time to harvest their plants, it’s best to look at the shape and color of the trichomes (or the tiny glands that cover the cannabis flower). When your plant’s trichomes swell—starting to look like mushrooms—and turn an amber or milky white color, that’s an indicator that they are now mature and ready for harvest. Ideally, you’ll want about 20% of the trichomes to be in that state. When gazing at your plants, you’ll need a microscope to help see if this has happened or not.
Another reliable indicator of when a marijuana plant is ripe for harvesting is the changing shades of its fan leaves. During the flowering stages, nitrogen paints the leaves their signature green shade. When it’s time to harvest, however, these fan leaves will turn yellow and begin to fall off as the nitrogen drops. Be sure to take advantage of these plants’ peak maturity, otherwise it will lose some of the THC!
What’s Next After Harvesting?
After you have harvested your plants, the next steps involve drying, trimming, and curing.
Most outdoor growers choose to wash their cannabis flowers once they are harvested. It’s not mandatory, but it can remove unwanted dirt, dust, pollen, wildfire ash, bird debris, animal droppings, insects, etc. All things you don’t want to ingest! Afterwards, you can hang your buds upside down from string or wire to naturally dry. Hanging the buds upside down actually tricks the plant into thinking it’s still alive, keeping the bud healthy! Place them in a room where you can limit the amount of light and monitor the temperature and humidity of the area. A basement or windowless attic can be ideal, maintaining a soft airflow which is perfect for drying your buds.
Now it’s time to trim your buds! Trimmed buds are usually considered higher quality, as seen in magazines, dispensaries, and online. They can also omit a juicer smell, are easier on your throat, and give you more THC.
There are two ways to go about this: wet trimming, and dry trimming. Wet trimming takes place all at once; you cut down the plant, cut buds off branches, trim the buds, and then place them up on the drying rack. This method lets the plant dry quicker and gives you a more eye-catching final product; however, it can be very sticky. Then there is dry trimming, which involves cutting down the plant and hanging it for several days. Then, once dry, you begin to trim them. This process is a lot less messy, but can leave the product more brittle and prone to breaking, so be sure to handle with care.
Ever noticed some cannabis smokes very smooth and tastes incredible, while others have more of a harsh, flavorless feel? The main reason for this is usually if it’s cured properly. When your crops are cured properly, even old cannabis can still taste great. Curing involves drying your plants in a slower, more controlled environment—like a sealed mason jar—and takes place for up to two months.
Now the funny part: once your specimen are sealed, it’s time to burp the jars. This doesn’t mean what you think it means. You must leave the lid off your mason jar for 10-15 minutes and then reseal it. This is meant to allow for some air exchange and moisture release. How often you do this is really up to you. Some growers burp their jars one to two times per day for the first week or two. It’s basically a practice to make sure the jar has good airflow and is at the right humidity.
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