5 Steps For Harvesting Marijuana Plants
A marijuana grower’s harvest is a time of celebration. You have grown and tended to the plants, nurtured them with love, and now it is time to collect the fruits (or flowers) of your labor.
But how do you know when to harvest? Many factors go into deciding when to harvest cannabis plants, including strain type, growing conditions, desired yield size, and more.
In this article, we will teach you the steps for harvesting marijuana plants so that you can get the perfect yield every time!
1. Identify When The Flowering Stage Is Complete
Perhaps the most important tip we can give you when it comes to harvesting is to do it at the right time. When harvesting cannabis plants, you want to make sure that the flowering stage is complete. For most indica dominant strains, this takes about 10 weeks. For Sativa dominant strains, it takes around 11-12 weeks.
The next step is determining whether your plant has been “fully flowered” or not by looking at the pistils. Begin to watch your cannabis plants from between weeks 5-8 of flowering and examine each mature female reproductive organ (called a “bud”).
If you see amber-colored pistils, you will know that the flowering stage is complete.
2. Prepare for Harvest
Prep is a key element of the harvesting process that many novice growers overlook or don’t pay close enough attention to. Without a proper prep session, your plants will likely be bruised, wilted, and deteriorated by the time you ready them for harvest. What is important in a prep session are:
You should trim off the lower branches. Also, you shouldn’t use any heavy tools or machines to trim foliage as this can cause damage to your leaves and plants. The upper part of the canopy should be trimmed off with a pair of hand-held shears or scissors that have been sterilized beforehand.
It is important to remove as much of the wilted foliage from the plant as possible, especially when trimming the shrubbery on top. This helps to ensure overall health when you harvest. As a bonus, it also creates better airflow around the plants, decreasing the amount of strain on your fan or ventilation system.
The long stalks that are left after trimming should be tied back with string to the stem so that they don’t interfere with harvesting and drying. After this is done, the trimming is complete, and you are ready to harvest your plants.
Harvest time! As you prepare to reap the rewards of your labor, take a moment to appreciate the hard work that has gone into this entire process. You have provided life-giving nutrients to these living plants, and now they are ready to give back in return. You must understand how to harvest correctly to ensure that you get the best quality product for your efforts.
The first step is to make sure you have all of your materials ready. You will need a good pair of scissors or lightweight pruning shears, a bowl, or a tray. Once all of these things are in place, you can begin the harvest.
Most people notice first when they start harvesting marijuana plants is just how long their colas are! You will need to trim them off in an orderly fashion so that your final product doesn’t end up looking like a Frankenstein marijuana creation. To begin, cut about 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) from the bottom with your pruning shears or scissors.
Once you have done that, try to make cuts at an angle using only one cut per stem. The goal is to minimize the amount of “shake,” so doing one cut at a time will help you get the smoothest harvest possible.
It is important to be thorough and precise when harvesting your plants, or you may risk damaging your buds with an improper cutting technique. You also don’t want to skimp on this step either, as the more you give yourself a mess of leaves and stems from dealing with them, the more likely it is that you will make a mistake or do something improperly.
Being efficient and getting the final product into packaging quickly will ensure that your harvest is as fresh as possible when you bring it home to be used in edibles, medicine, or whatever other purposes you are using it for.
4. Drying and Curing
Drying your buds is the last step before they can be stored or used in other forms. It is also one of the most important steps because it will affect how fresh your flowers are when you use them later on. If done correctly, drying can help remove excess moisture from the plant material so that you don’t get a lot of moisture in your lungs when you go to smoke the product.
Storing the plant material as soon as possible after harvest is important because it will reduce loss to decay. You can dry your plants in several ways, but the most common method is to hang them upside down in a cool, dark place and let them dry out naturally. This is the method that is most often recommended because it takes longer and produces a better quality end product than other methods.
You can use mesh screening to string your flowers up so that they are away from dusty surfaces, which could make them sticky and decrease quality. Make sure you hang your plants in an area where there are a lot of air currents. If you put them in an area without a lot of circulation, they will dry out slowly and become sticky, leading to mold growth. Once your plants have been dried properly, it is time for curing.
On the other hand, curing is a process used to develop the flower’s flavor, aroma, and potency. While drying removes moisture, curing stems from the fact that you are completing breaking down and oxidizing THC. This is where you can make or break your final product.
This process takes anywhere from 3-12 weeks, so you will need to be patient. You mustn’t try to keep checking on your buds because they could lose some quality over time if put through extreme temperature swings. If you don’t have the proper humidity levels, your flowers could dry out too quickly, leading to losing some of the flavor and aroma qualities that you are trying to develop with curing.
Curing is a process that is unique to each grower, so it may take some trial and error before perfecting it.
The final step in this 5-step guide to harvesting marijuana plants is storing the harvested material properly to lose quality over time. While proper curing allows for moisture to be removed from the plant material, there can still be some left in it that could lead to mold growth. You want good ventilation when storing your plants so that there is enough airflow to assure freshness and prevent mold spores from growing anywhere on the plant material.
You now have five tips for harvesting marijuana, and hopefully, you will find them helpful. The harvest is an exciting time of year for cannabis growers because what’s coming in is all about the final product, so it can be a good feeling to see all that work come together.
Whether you are a professional grower or a casual hobbyist, proper harvesting can help you produce better flowers for your next harvest and make all the previous time you have put into growing worthwhile. Check out our selection of high-quality seeds. Happy gardening!