How To Grow Cannabis
Tips For Harvesting Cannabis.
Like any plant, Cannabis has a life-cycle, undergoing several changes before finally dying. Similar to fruit and flowers, Cannabis buds will reach peak maturity and then slowly deteriorate. Helping your plants achieve peak ripeness and knowing when that is, can be crucial in timing your harvests. Learn more about how you can affect the potency, flavor and aroma of your buds with these tips for harvesting Cannabis.
If you’ve been following our Tips for growing Cannabis, you should be looking forward to a successful harvest. Each of the previous cycles has a huge bearing upon the yield and quality you achieve in these final stages. A productive Vegetative Stage, followed with correct Flowering Techniques, your plants should be ready to harvest after 8 – 9 weeks in flower, depending upon your choice of strain and growing conditions.
Over an average of two-months, your plants have pre-flowered, budded and matured. Towards the end of the flowering cycle, growth as slowed, the buds have swollen and the once-white pistils have shriveled, changing to shades of red, orange and brown. These are the ‘tell-tale’ signs of a maturing Cannabis plant.
There are several techniques that you can utilize during this maturity stage, helping improve your yields. Don’t be too eager, harvesting early. A large proportion of the bud’s weight is added towards the end of this stage. However, leaving your buds for too long, increases the chances of mold and bud-rot, as well as affecting many aspects of the weed. Learn to time harvesting your Cannabis, for the very best-quality buds.
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Top Tips For Harvesting Cannabis At Peak Maturity.
When should I harvest my Cannabis plants?
The answer falls within a set time-frame of about a week, depending upon several factors and variables. Indoor growers have more control over the timing of their harvests. Generally, most of the modern, popular Indica-dominant hybrids require 8 – 9 weeks to completely mature. While Sativa-dominant strains can take an extra week or two to fully ripen.
Outdoor growers are often at the mercy of nature, choosing the best days possible, is often more important than timing your harvests for peak-ripeness. Cannabis plants mature from early September, through to late October. Select strains best suited to your location and average temperatures. If your buds become too wet, or frost-covered, they will quickly deteriorate.
With a general understanding of when your ‘harvest-window’ is, work back ten days. This should be the approximate time your plants start to begin maturing. You should see a reduction in the number of pistils the budding areas are producing, with their color changing and darkening. Lower leaves are beginning to wither and die, while those left, may begin to lighten and yellow. All this is perfectly natural, as the plants reduce their intake of Nitrogen, using up their own stores.
Your plants do not require anymore nutrients at this time and although the yellowing in vegetative growth is an indication of Nitrogen deficiency, it’s a sign of maturity in later flowering. Feed your plants just water during these last few days, forcing the plant to use its own reserves.
For the final stage, you’ll require a magnifying glass. THC is contained within the heads of the trichomes, covering the buds and leaves. When magnified, trichomes look like tiny pin-heads, or mushrooms. The heads on these glands fill with THC and other compounds, changing from a clear, to milky then dark, amber color. Aim to harvest at a 50/50 clear-milky ratio for the best effects.
Timing Your Harvest
The majority of Cannabis strains require between 8 – 9 weeks to fully ripen. From week-7, your plants no longer require nutrients and are beginning to show signs of maturity. These last few days and weeks see the buds swell and gain weight, as well as change color. Time your harvest to produce the flavor and effects best suited to your needs.
Pistil Color – Mainly White / Trichomes – Clear.
As the buds mature, the pistils change color. If the majority are still white, the plant still needs a few more days to reach its full potential. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the trichomes. Clear liquid within the head is another indication of immaturity. Wait a few more days.
Pistil Color – 50% White / Trichomes – Becoming cloudy.
More and more of the pistils have turned from a thick, white flower, to a shriveled amber ‘hair’. The false seed-bracts have swollen, giving the buds more mass and density. While the heads of the trichomes have filled with a cloudy liquid. Your plants are becoming mature. Harvesting now will produce good quality buds with an uplifting, energizing high and light flavor.
Pistil Color – 75% Amber / Trichomes – 60% – Milky, cloudy color.
At this stage your plants have reached peak maturity. The buds have reached their maximum weight, the aroma fills the room and the leaves are yellowing and dying. Inspection of the trichomes shows them full of a milky-colored liquid. Harvesting now will produce the best-quality harvests, flavor-filled, aromatic buds and the highest concentration of THC.
Pistil Color – 95% Amber / Trichomes – Brown.
Your plants are coming to the end of their life-cycle and are beginning to deteriorate. Buds harvested now will have a slightly different taste and effect. Left to mature for too long, THC begins to degrade, changing into CBN. This generates a more relaxed, tranquil state of mind, rather than the uplifting effects produced by lesser-matured buds.
By watching the changes to your buds, you can produce the best-quality harvests. Don’t be too eager to chop down your ladies, those last few days can produce the most intense aroma’s and flavors, with the highest THC levels.
How To Harvest Cannabis Plants.
Once your happy your plants have reached complete maturity, it’s time to harvest them. There are several different methods that growers use, finding the best option for you, is down to personal choice. Larger operations often use machines to automatically strip and trim the buds from the stems. While smaller, hobby-growers use scissors. Make sure you have a suitably-sized, comfortable set, as trimming can take some time.
Decide if you’re going to chop-down the whole plant, or just the upper-sections. Buds mature at slightly different speeds, even on the same plant. If you’re looking to maximize your yields, ensuring all the buds have achieved peak-ripeness, remove the larger, mature buds and leave the remainder for a week longer.
Over the coming days, these smaller, ‘popcorn’ buds will quickly mature. The plant will focus all its energy on those left remaining, increasing their mass, density and resin, in the hope of pollination and fertilization. The gains in weight are negligible, but the quality and flavors are greatly improved.
Whether you harvest the whole plant, or just the mature buds, is a matter of personal choice. Outdoor growers, with large plants, tend to stagger the harvests, taking the mature buds over a period of a couple of weeks. While indoor growers often remove all the plants together. Allowing them to clean the equipment and area, ready to begin again.
There are several different methods for harvesting Cannabis. Some people like to completely remove all the unwanted leaves from the buds, trimming them tight and tidy. Other growers prefer to remove just the larger, unwanted fan-leaves, leaving any resinous leaves on the plant for a second trim. Both methods produce the same, final results, if performed correctly.
Hanging cut branches, allowing the buds to dry, is a common method. Placing the trimmed buds into baskets, or onto drying racks another. Try to keep the drying room around 65 degrees, with a gentle movement of air. Too warm and the buds will become brittle and taste harsh. Too cold and they will struggle to dry evenly.
In a warm, dry room, your buds should be dry after 5 – 7 days. They can be removed from their stems and given a final trim ready for curing. The stems should break and snap, with the buds dry enough to smoke and enjoy. With a little more drying and a curing stage, your buds will reach their highest potency level and fullest flavor.
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What To Do Next.
Your buds still contain a small amount of moisture and require a final drying stage. This is often referred to as curing. Place the dry buds into a sealed container for the next few days, periodically opening it and exchanging the air. You may find your buds become sticky and slightly damp. This is the inner-moisture slowly surfacing. Allow the buds to dry again, before returning to the sealed container.
This slow removal of the remaining moisture, balances the flavors, while improving the aroma and potency of your weed. Once fully dried and cured, buds can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container, with no loss of quality.
If you’ve followed our tips for growing Cannabis, you should have produced yourself a good-quality, successful harvest. Like many things, practice makes perfect and the more you understand about a subject, the easier and better it becomes. Cannabis is a living plant, the more you understand about how it grows, the greater effects you can have upon it.
With a wide variety of growing methods and techniques, there are many ways to grow Cannabis. From simple pot and soil culture, through to automated hydroponic systems, utilizing the very latest in climate control. Growing Cannabis can be a fun and very rewarding hobby, as well as a legal, profitable business.
If you would like to learn more, improving your harvests further, download the Marijuana Grow Guide. Written by Robert Bergman, owner and founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, this complete cultivation manual covers each stage of the growing cycle in greater depth and understanding.
Available as an instance PDF, it has become the world’s most downloaded, free guide, dedicated to Cannabis and Marijuana growing. Completely free and without any obligation, find out how you can claim your copy of the Marijuana Grow Guide.
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