OVERCOMING IMPATIENCE AND HARVEST AT THE RIGHT TIME
To produce quality cannabis, you must above all be patient and respect the timing of the plant, flowering and drying. We know that patience is the virtue of the strong at least as the grower’s anxiety to harvest and taste the buds increases exponentially every day.
The plant begins to bloom and the buds to form and swell. The buds begin to develop thousands of tiny crystaline dots filled with resin. Inside the glands, or trichomes, resin and THC accumulate.
In full bloom, the resinous glands are so full that they seem about to burst. There comes a time when these no longer fill up because the plant will concentrate its efforts and continue to produce in other glands. If the buds are not harvested, the psychoactive content contained will begin to disperse. When most buds are in this stage, it is the optimal time to harvest.
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The simplest technique for deciding when to harvest is by looking closely at the white pistils that begin to wither and darken, turning brown or orange depending on the variety. While this happens for the first buds, others develop with white pistils that will wither just like the first ones.
There comes a time when no new flowers will develop and most of the hairs have a brown or orange hue. The ideal time to harvest is when at least half of the pistils have changed their color by wilting. The ideal percentage depends on the variety and the specific preferences of the grower. You can choose to harvest slightly earlier or later to test when is the best time for the specific variety.
At the time of harvest the plants can be cut at the base rather than separately for each individual branch. Some cut off the main buds first and wait for the rest of the plant to finish maturing.
Before harvesting, it is necessary to stop fertilizing cannabis plants at least 15-20 days before, rinsing the plants generously in order to eliminate fertilizer residues that could ruin the taste of the buds. In fact, the buds could have an acrid taste and not burn properly otherwise. Some growers leave their plants in complete darkness for 24-48 hours before harvesting to encourage the plant to produce even more resin.
A correct and complete drying of the herb guarantees greater power and a better taste to the same, which otherwise would risk “scratching” in the throat if anticipated, compromising all the hard work done so far.
You can also leave branches with a minimum of vegetation, then return the plant to a vegetative regrowth cycle by increasing the light period again beyond 18 hours. Again leaving the plants in complete darkness for 24-48 could help the plant to perceive the change more. In this way we could recover our favorite plant and preserve the genetics to make new clones for example, or simply repeat the cycle.
DRYING OF CANNABIS
Harvesting has always been a moment of joy for every grower since the advent of agriculture. Finally, the hard efforts of many months have paid off and we can celebrate our harvest.
Once harvested, the whole plant or individual branches can be hung upside down if desired, but they can also be dried on a tray as long as there is enough air circulation. It’s fundamental that drying takes place in a place away from direct light, and that the area is sufficiently ventilated so that drying is not too fast. The quality of the final product, however, will greatly depend on how this drying is done.
The larger, resin-free leaves can be removed before setting the plant to dry. Grab the plant at the base of the stem and cut off the largest leaves, starting at the bottom and working up to the tip.
Normally about 2 weeks can be enough to obtain optimal drying, sometimes even less and depend entirely on the environment chosen. Leaves must be gently removed upon harvesting before starting drying, rather than later.Hydrofarm StackIt Stainless Steel Drying Rack
If, on the other hand, the room you choose is humid or poorly ventilated, fungi and molds may appear which will ruin the product. If the buds are contaminated or have mold they are absolutely unusable. Some molds are pathogenic and would be harmful for the consumer.
Slow curing is essential and any drying method to speed up the process is not recommended. Only once the drying is complete will we be able to decide whether to store our buds, for example in vacuum bags if you want to keep them for long periods, or use them to prepare tinctures or other extracts straight away.
Weed loses power in contact with light, air and heat. So whether you choose to vacuum or store your buds in airtight containers, find a dark, cool place to store them.
- When you notice that at least half of the pistils have a brown or orange color, be prepared and observe carefully your plants daily.
- As a general rule it can be said that the plant harvested with more white pistils will have a slightly lower power but a more cerebral and active effect. With more darker pistils the herb will have a more sedative effect. This general rule holds true up to a certain point, rather the type of effect will mostly depend on the characteristics of the variety itself.
- During the last weeks before harvest, the plant must not be fertilized and should only be watered generously to eliminate the presence of any remaining fertilizers that would ruin the taste and more.
- Stop watering the plant a few days before harvest to encourage it to produce more resin.
- After cutting the plant, the large leaves that don’t have resin glands are removed.
- Taking the plant by the trunk and holding it upside down, you begin to remove the large leaves with their stems. We can also eliminate the tips of smaller leaves without resin crystals.
- Handling the gems carefully. Better to touch them as little as possible because the resin glands degrade easily and the THC oxidizes.
- The THC in fresh cannabis is not psychoactive. To become smokable marijuana, the weed must be dried. The drying process greatly influences the quality of the final product. A partially dried herb will scratch the throat and be very light in effect.
- Cannabis should be dried in a dry, dark, cool and ventilated place. We will let it dry until the central stem breaks by folding it and the buds are crunchy to the touch but still a little damp inside.