You’ve heard the word, you’ve seen the hashtag, but what is Croptober and how can you as a cannabis business prepare for the unexpected this “holiday season”? As a sun-grown cannabis farmer, you know that the term “Harvest” isn’t just a cute word you put on a dishcloth for fall decoration. Though a time for cultivators and consumers alike to celebrate, Croptober means business for the outdoor farmers growing weed with natural light. From the months of late September to early November 80%-85% of our favorite cannabis varietals are ready for harvesting and knowing when to harvest buds and how to keep marijuana fresh is officially more important than football parties and Halloween costumes.
What this article will cover:
• When to harvest cannabis
• Solutions and preparation for weed harvesting time
• Tricks and Treats for your Canna-business this Croptober
When is the Best Time to Harvest Cannabis?
Croptober signifies harvest season and it is one thing to know how to grow cannabis, but also knowing when to harvest marijuana at its best quality takes a certain type of mastery and experience. The four key factors that go into when to harvest outdoor cannabis are weather, date planted, temperature, and flowering time. As many experienced cannabis cultivators will state, growing cannabis is 80% observation. Keeping a close eye on your crop and the factors that can affect its overall quality throughout the cannabis growing stages is a top priority, but especially important when harvest time is looming.
As a general rule of thumb, the optimal time to harvest is dependent on the cannabis subspecies. That said, when to harvest pot plants that are Sativa strains occur around the 10th week of flowering and Indicas usually finish earlier, about the 8th week into flowering. Autoflowering plants are ready to harvest around the 10th week from the seedling stage, but this cannabis subspecies flowers with age, not light cycle. Though this time estimate is more of a rough guideline, it is imperative you take a close look at your plant’s physical anatomy to ensure your weed is ready for harvest.
Signs It’s Time To Harvest Weed
• Fan leaves are yellowing or curling
• The resin on the trichomes have turned milky white
• Pistils will begin to turn red. (Check the top hairs of your buds)
• Pushing out a strong aromatic smell
• Firm, tight, dense colas
Croptober: Solutions and Preparation
Knowing when your weed is ready for harvest is half the battle. Now the real physical labor begins. Harvesting, hanging, trimming, storing… That’s right, the fun stuff. Nobody can afford to lose their investment especially if your company depends on one giant harvest a year. Little mistakes can cost you millions and it is up to your canna-business to be as prepared as possible.
Start with getting a handle on your harvest. Estimate how much weed you will be bringing down per plant, in total, and answer that all-important question ‘When is cannabis ready to harvest?” Knowing this will help you set up your space. You need to be able to house your harvest in an appropriate drying space at the ideal cannabis humidity and temperature for about 10-14 days.
Having an idea of how much you plan to harvest and when will help you set up your team. Whether you are looking to trim your cannabis using a team of professionals or trimming and grinding cannabis in bulk, your team must be prepared and sizable enough to take on your harvested crop.
Once you have your team, focus on the fundamentals. Do you have all your dispensary supplies? Bear in mind you are NOT the only one harvesting this Croptober! Those vacuum seal bags are not only used for hunting game and turkey bags are not only for Thanksgiving. Waiting and being short on your curing, trimming, and storing supplies can affect the quality of your final product dramatically.
Finally, once your weed has undergone the drying process and is waiting for its final destination you should line up “How to store weed as a business”. Taking into account space, storage conditions, labeling, security, and proper curing strategies.
Tricks and Treats For Your Canna-business this Croptober
Who would I be if I didn’t leave you with a couple of tricks of the trade to ensure your Croptober is a straight-up celebration? Aside from knowing when to harvest and preparing for all that comes along with the harvest season, there are some easy ways to make sure your buds pack a punch and you make what your crop is worth in the end game.
Helpful Hints for a Happy Harvest:
- Stagger Your Harvest- With proper planning while you’re planting you can have a crop that hopefully finishes at different times. Having some versatility in the subspecies of your cannabis will give you proper time to harvest, save space in your drying room, and hopefully get some of those early finishers out the door before the market floods and the demand lowers.
- Have more than one distributor- Ideally you will want two or three distributors depending on the size of your crop. You know the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” well this is also true with settling with only one outlet for your entire crop. Build a bond with a few different labs and distributors to create a smoother process for testing, selling, etc.
- Versatility– Not just within your cannabis strains, but in your flavors and harvest approach. Harvest live and freeze your product to open your company up to more final product possibilities. Selling flower doesn’t have to be your only option. Learn about the different popular cannabis products out there. Also, be versatile when it comes to flavors. Pick a fruity strain that is trending, lean into lemons, grapes, and cherries, but change it up and grow something outside the box. Consumers love options!
- Harvest time- Keep an eye out on the weather, yes you want to harvest early and get your product on the shelves, but maybe there is one nice cold snap on the way! A little bit of cold breeze will finish these outdoor buds nicely, giving your weed a pungent smell and killer purple coloring!
There you have it! Though Croptober can be an intense time of the year for your crop, canna-business, and farming friends doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the wait. Just take the time to prepare, build a team with passion and love for the plant, and reap the rewards of a successful season. Happy Harvesting!