So you were able to grow a marvelous cannabis plant from just a tiny seedling. That’s an enormous accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself! But it’s too early for rejoicing, as making the right calls during the harvesting process will decide the dankness of the final product. In the following tutorials you will learn how to harvest weed the right way for the most potent weed possible.
When to harvest weed?
But how do you know when it’s time to harvest your weed? Well, there are a lot of signs. At a certain stage your plant’s maturity will become obvious. Its flowers will merge together into massive buds – kolas. There also will be visible crystallization around the flowers, as they will start to emit pungent odor and become sticky. Now that you know that your plant is approaching maturity, it’s time to pull out a magnifying glass (about 20X should be enough) and get precise.
In order to decide the best time for harvesting weed you should check out the color of its trichomes. Basically, trichomes are these fine outgrowths which swell and become mushroom like, producing resin that contains THC (Tetrahydrocannabidinol). Be careful not to confuse them with flower’s pistils. Using the magnifying glass study them carefully.
It is possible to differentiate three stages of trichomes forming. Each one of them corresponds to a certain degree of stone that you’ll end up with:
- Trichomes are translucent and have no color. This means that the bud is immature and has mostly precursor cannabinoids. It might still get you high, but the effects are far less than pleasing.
- Trichomes are cloudy or almost milky white – at the peak with fully realized THC. At this stage harvesting is definitely an option. This way you will get moderate amount of hit without it being too heavy. A lot of growers find this stage to be ideal, because the plant is nearing optimum potency, and there are less psychoactive substances which generate hazy buzz.
- Trichomes have turned mostly reddish or brown, appearing almost amber. This means that they passed their peak with fully realized THC. Most growers consider this stage to be the best time to harvest weed, because it will prove to give a significant stone. Depending on the strain that you choose, you might need to wait until at least ¼ of the trichomes have become darker. It will get stonier from then on.
There’s no way of saying what kind of pot you will end up liking more. So don’t listen to anyone and just experiment with when you harvest until you find the most suitable option for yourself.
Flushing The Nutrients
Once you’ve decided when to harvest weed, what you need to think about is flushing out the unwanted nutrients to purify the final product. This process consists of flooding your plant’s container with large amounts of water (about as large as volume of the container itself). This process is required to get rid of nutrient or mineral build up during pre-harvest, changes of nutrient regimes or deficiency symptoms showing up. All you have to do is pour water, wait a few minutes and then add more water. This will improve flavor and prevent you from inhaling chemicals.
After flushing you may notice some leaves becoming yellow, which is caused by nitrogen deficiency, but there’s nothing to worry about.
Just Keep It Cool
These following steps are crucial when learning how to harvest weed if you want maximum potency. When preparing to harvest, keep the room at a 15% humidity with a temperature around 70 °F and keep up good air circulation. Shocking your plant by leaving it in total darkness for 36 hours just before harvesting gives it extra potency. It can be explained by the fact that it makes the plant produce more resin.
Cutting The Branches
In order to provide better drying and eliminate the possibility of mold forming it is recommended to treat cut branch and kola separately. First, remove the larger leaves and trim off the smaller ones. This will juice up the drying process. But if you’re in no hurry, there’s a noteworthy trick that can improve the final quality: you can omit trimming smaller leaves, thus prolonging the drying process but protecting the trichomes. Now cut the branches and be extra careful not to shake down the trichomes.
Drying Your Weed
Finally, it’s time to dry the buds. Hang the freshly cut branches upside down on a string and make sure that there’s enough space between them. You should also provide comfortable drying conditions: no direct sunlight, enough fresh air, and ambient room temperature with no more than 50% humidity. Now is a good time to use a fan but make sure not to point it directly at the branches.
Now all there is left to do is patiently wait and check on your plants (it can take up to a few weeks). Remember, maintaining proper airflow is important.
As the buds dry out you should be able to pluck out remaining small leaves growing from them and remove the stems. You can choose anything between glass jars or plastic bags to store them, as long as they are air-tight. Given proper storing your weed will surely get better over time.
Now you know how to harvest weed. Toke on and enjoy your new harvest!