AN EXPERT'S GUIDE
By: Sean Calahan | Oct. 30, 2016
Happy harvest fellow growers and green-thumb extraordinaires. I hope you were blessed enough to have a healthy sun-grown cannabis crop this year. Our season has come and almost gone. Only a few crucial steps await us as we aim for quality flowers during harvest, dry, trim, and cure. I hope to give you a few bits of advice to aid in your overall harvesting process.
When are they ready? Let’s get super close to our buds on our ladies to see just how ready they are. With a 30-60x scope we are looking out for an array of milky white to amber mushroom-shaped trichomes. Preferences will differ in this portion of harvest. I personally like to cut the entire plant down when the trichomes are mostly amber. This is the most mature state of the trichs before they actually burst open. I am a heavy indica grower so I definitely benefit from going the full length into amber territory gaining the most sedative, body affecting highs.
Now that your plants have gone the distance and trichomes are looking just right, it’s time to de-fan them. While the plants are still in the ground or pots (we used Grass Roots Fabric Pots this year) remove all of the larger fan leaves that don’t consist of any visible trichomes and make teas or salves with them! Taking these fan leaves off will allow the air to flow easier to our buds during our hanging/drying phase. After the plants look like bricks on sticks I take a saw after the stalk and then take them to hang. If you grew large plants it might be a good idea to cut the plant into sections before it goes to hang and dry.
DRY & HANG
First of all, make sure that you designate a room/area large enough to hang and dry your plants; they will need enough space in between plants so they are not touching another. Fresh air, a dehumidifier, and even a humidifier will be needed as the plants slowly dry. You will need to make sure you have fresh air slowly flowing into the room to help prevent mold and “bud rot.” We want our drying room to be at 50% relative humidity with temperatures between 60-65F. Let your plants hang 10-14 days. Slow and low is the ticket! This is my personal preference of hang time before trimming. If your space is too dry, use a humidifier to bring the humidity back up to 50%.
TRIM & CURE
To make sure our buds are ready to trim I simply start bending several branches on my drying plants listening for a “snap” in all of them. This is a good indicator that they’re dry enough to trim. Trim on! After your flowers are shaped and trimmed to preference it’s time to cure. Again, preferences will vary during the cure process. I recommend putting your flowers into airtight containers with a 60/40 bud to air ratio and burping them (open jar for fresh air) 2-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes each time. I usually burp the jars for at least two to three weeks before diving in to enjoy. Another method used to cure is putting the trimmed flowers in a holy brown paper bag (from your local grocery store) for up to 6 months in 50% humidity at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Talk about a smooth hit.
Hopefully this year you’ve chosen to grow and harvest your very own cannabis. I sure hope this article has lent you useful information to get your flowers dried and cured to preference. Remember, this is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. Slow and low is the key. Your body will thank you!