It’s been a long season and one of the most exciting times is of course, Harvest time! With all the excitement comes quite a few steps to make sure the final product is one you are proud to put your name on. Harvesting cannabis can easily be considered one of the most tedious processes of them all. From meticulous timing to having a team you can count on, the last thing a cultivator wants is to finish out their season unprepared with little to show for themselves. Check out this article on how to harvest cannabis and keep producing that perfect end product.
What We Will Cover:
· Cannabis Harvesting Preparation
· When It’s Time To Harvest
· How To Hang Your Harvest / Setting up your dry space
· Tips and Tricks For Harvest Time
Preparing for your cannabis harvest comes down to several somewhat tedious steps all of which are significant to success when finishing out your growing season. Whether you are growing cannabis indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse you must be prepared to harvest marijuana when the time arises. Here are some relative time references for when your harvest should be coming to completion.
Indica- dominant flowering times: 45 to 70 days
Sativa- dominant flowering times: 60 to 75 day range sometimes up to 80-100 days
Hybrid strains flowering times: 45 to 70 days
Some would argue that it is more simple to determine the marijuana plant’s final growth stage and completion for an outdoor grow, because cultivators are naturally anticipating the infamous “Croptober” and gearing up for winter. On the other hand, cultivators growing cannabis indoors or in a greenhouse are using light deprivation to manipulate the cannabis plant’s light cycle into blooming. This technique is used by many cultivators to get more runs per season and grow year round.
The point here, my friends, is that knowing when it is time to harvest will vary, but needing to be prepared for harvest is a constant no matter how you grow.
Harvesting Pot Preparation Checklist:
· Establish a time reference for your harvest.
· Keep an eye on the bad weather around your estimated date of harvest (rain, snow, cold fronts).
· Line up distributors: We recommend three depending on your crop size and end product.
· Decide your end product, which will dictate your harvest plan. Are you harvesting for flower or concentrate? Are you drying or freezing your final product? You will strip the buds from the stem and vacuum seal your crop if you are freezing for full spectrum production. Alternatively, if you decide to hang your product you will chop your crop and dry your cannabis instead.
· Stop feeding your plants and begin to flush your crop at least a week prior to the estimated harvest date.
· Cut down your trellis.
· Stop spraying anything esp. when your plants are very late into flower.
*Pro Tip: Use lady bugs and predatory mites to subside any pest infestations.
· Pick your team.
· Create a harvest plan: Are you cutting your plants whole at the stock or separating branches?
· Set up your dry space.
· Order and organize the proper tools and equipment. (gloves, tarps, loppers, etc.)
· De-leaf your entire crop prior to harvesting and hanging. This will make your harvest much more efficient in time, space, and give you the ability to delegate the team to more appropriate tasks.
When It’s Time to Harvest: Spotting Visual Cues
Now that we are prepared for the inevitable “chop of your crop”, it is time to focus on when your cannabis is ready for harvest. There are some classic cues to use to know when your cannabis is ready. Take a look at this quick guide on how to harvest weed at the right time, every-time.
Outside of the time reference per strain given to you above, there are some visual indicators that are key to knowing when your plant is ready to harvest and…. Smoke! Take a look at the cannabis trichomes on the top of the plant’s colas. The trichomes on your buds should be red or brown, and not milky white. Notice: If the hairs on the tops of your buds are still translucent your weed is not ready to be harvested.
Are your flowers giving off a pungent aroma? This is another low-key sign your plants are getting ready to finish. Take a look at the leaves on your cannabis plants. The leaves should be showing the same signs you would see as if there are nutrient deficiencies in cannabis. Not to worry! The leaves curling and becoming yellow is a good thing! This means the buds are taking in the nutrients from the leaves to finish out the budding process.
How To Hang Your Harvest: Setting Up Your Dry Space
There is a lot to know about the consistency in environment, size, and equipment for your harvest’s new home. To spare us too much attention to detail we have created another no bulls***, straight to the point set of instructions to ensure your harvest is safe to dry and make it to market. Once you have determined the time at which your harvest will be ready to cut, you will need to estimate the size and amount your harvest will yield. Your dry space should be cool, dark, and easy to control. Some cultivators outfit high class facilities for their all important product, while other growers on a budget get more creative. Using shipping containers, barns, and even sheds to get the jobs done. Find a place that you can run electric to and easily control the humidity, temperature and air flow.
Once you have considered where you would like to dry your crop, make sure there is appropriate space to work and hang in the shade, beams that support the weight of your plants, and an appropriate electrical support hookup. Be sure to install all necessary equipment prior to harvest to ensure the electrical output and space is worthy of drying your coveted cannabis.
A few notes to remember when harvesting and drying your crop:
– Wet plants will increase humidity, and so will adding newly harvested plants to pre-harvested ones in the same space. You will want to harvest and fill the space in one swift sweep or stagger your crop.
– Higher humidity means you will need to run not only an AC unit, but fans and a dehumidifier. This will prevent mold and loss of viable product.
– The humidity should range from 45-60% and temperatures between 60-72°F with constant air flow.
– Though every cultivator is ready to get their cannabis to market, the sweet spot to drying your crop is between 7 to 10 days… sometimes longer, and definitely no shorter than five days of dry time.
Tips and Tricks for Harvest To Get You By
Now what kind of cultivator would I be, if I didn’t leave you with some tips for cannabis growing and harvesting?
Yes, there are some tricks to the trade to give your harvest an extra bit of love and have the process flow as smoothly as possible.
Here are the top tips we decided will take your harvest to the next level.
· Ice your roots: That’s right, adding ice to your roots will give some extra color to your buds and increase the density of your colas.
· Have a back up plan: What is better than having one ac and one dehumidifier? Having two! This will save you a lot of heartache in case one goes out, so you are not in constant fear of compromising your harvest.
· Cold snaps add color: Keep an eye on the weather. Rain is no good, but a little cold snap can give your buds the most beautiful purple color, redefine those trichomes, and increase the aroma of crop.
· Stagger your harvest: Is your dry space too small and you fear it will be too packed with pot? By staggering your harvest you can cut and dry a greenhouse and have consistent product drying and curing at separate times.
· Dry Time: You should allow 7 to 10 days (closer to ten) of dry time. This will increase the quality of your product. Don’t rush the process!
Take it from the professionals and try to enjoy the most bountiful time of season! Yes, it can seem like your harvest is never ending, but that will make the smoke that much sweeter… By staying consistent, upbeat, and following our cannabis harvesting techniques you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor on the highest high. Happy Harvesting!