We’ve finally reached the last step in my “From Roots to Harvest Series” meaning it’s time to harvest weed plants! So far in my grow series, I’ve shown you the following steps:
When it comes to the final stage of harvesting, the amount of time we let our cannabis flower is solely up to the grower. Maturity of our cannabis buds will have a pronounced difference of feeling depending on how long we let the flowers go. Typically, the longer we let our buds mature the more amber trichomes we will have. The trichomes will go from clear to cloudy and finally to amber. This is where you will have more of the couch lock feeling once consumed.
Many growers choose to harvest around a 50% cloudy to 50% amber, as cloudy typically is when the THC is the highest. The more cloudy the trichome compared to amber, the more head high the user will feel. Those wishing for more of a sleepy feeling will normally find the more mature cannabis flower to be the right choice.
As you can see, knowing when to harvest weed is a very important step in cultivating cannabis. A little knowledge and preparedness before diving into harvesting your buds will make the harvesting and trimming process go a lot smoother. Considering it can be a make or break for the overall appearance and flavor of your product, harvesting should be thought of beforehand.
How to Harvest Weed: Man vs. Machine for Trimming
When you’re ready to harvest weed, one of the first steps is the trimming process. Let’s talk about the “man vs. machine” battle which will seemingly never end. This is because new technology keeps arising, year after year, to take out the previous best. Many growers still choose the tried and true hand trim method, which in the end can result in the most impressive manicured flowers your eyes have ever seen. Still, what hoke grower wants to spend eight plus hours trimming?
That leaves us with no other option than to at least look a little into the world of mechanical trimming. When someone says mechanical trimming instantly what comes to a lot of growers’ minds is destroyed buds, loss of trichomes and hay smell. While this may be true under certain circumstances, it most definitely does not have to be the case every time. I have personally found hanging the full plant for 10 to 14 days under my desired conditions (which we will dive into later) followed by a dry trim using scissors and the
Many larger scale growers will either go for a fed automatic trimmer or a team of trimmers, neither of these options are typically affordable for the average grower. There are a couple of trim bowls on the market advertised as wet and dry trimmers, but over the years, I have found these to be the more harmful to the finished quality of your product. At the end of the day, you spent four plus months growing your girls out, so why rush and ruin a perfectly good harvest by mashing your buds?
When it comes time to harvest weed, the drying process is another important step. Cannabis ideally should be dried around the 62°F and 60% humidity. We want to keep light off our plants as they dry while ensuring adequate airflow to reduce the chances of mold. What we are trying to accomplish here is a slow drying time to allow the chlorophyll to decompose and the starches within the plant to be used up.
If you dry the buds too quickly, the smoke will have a bitter green taste, since more of the chlorophyll remains. This is why drying your cannabis properly can really make or break your harvest. A grower must note that taking too long to dry your buds may also have a negative effect on the user depending on their smoking preference. This is because the longer your flower is dried for the more THC that will begin to degrade into CBN and other cannabinoids.
The average user may not notice the difference between a six to 14 days dry but a cannasseur will. For me, when it comes time to dry, I personally aim for dry time ranging between 10 to 14 days. Now at this point many growers will consider their harvest complete, and while your flower is burnable, you may want to wait just a little more.
As stated above, 62°F and 60% humidity is what we are after. Along with that we want to block all UV light and have adequate airflow. Now… saying all that is one thing, but accomplishing it is another. I have found drying in a grow tent to be ideal for my situation. Using your current grow tent or even purchasing a separate dry tent works excellently. Always remember we need to have complete control on the environment in this tent/room as to limit evaporation of terpenes.
Full Plant Hang
Simply cut your cannabis plants down near the base. Tie with string, and hang the plant upside down from the top of the tent or secured line. I find this method slows down the drying time allowing me to keep my humidity on the higher side in my dry tent. This has allowed me to achieve close to a 14 day dry time every run. Remember we must have air in and out within our drying room. A grower must keep a keen eye for any mold growth using this method as humidity can skyrocket.
Hanging Flat Racks
Using hanging flat racks for drying your cannabis is a great space saver, because these racks have multiple layers holding a lot of buds once removed from stems. A grower must note that your drying time naturally without any control of your room will greatly speed up using this method as there is no stalk to slow down drying time. This can be used to your advantage if you are constantly battling high humidity due to your location.
There’s also a lot lower chance of molding during drying using this method as your buds are nicely spaced out on mesh racks. One downside could be the speedy drying time as it could not give proper time for breakdown of chlorophyll, and a grower must keep a keen eye on humidity levels in the room.
Final Thoughts on How to Harvest Weed
Growing and harvesting cannabis should be an enjoyable experience. Keeping an open mind to different techniques when it comes time to grow and harvest weed can really be beneficial, as every room is set up differently. I’m hoping after reading the roots to harvest series you feel a little more comfortable with your future gardens. Always remember growmies (grow homies) are everywhere, and most enjoy helping out!