There is no better feeling than marking the calendar and preparing to harvest your Cannabis plants. Of course the process of harvesting, trimming, drying and curing is slightly more complex than just waiting for the final calendar date to come around.
Below is all you need to know about when to harvest, the various ways to do so, the science behind curing your Cannabis buds for the ultimate flavour and effect and what can be done with the leftover trim.
When Is The Right Time to Harvest Weed?
In the old days many growers would say when the pistils are 90% brown, she is ready to chop. Nowadays, as home growing connoisseurs we want to pick the plants at the exact moment of peak maturity and cannabinoid and terpene development. Below is a list of all the variables that should be considered before you even glove up and pick up a pair of trimming scissors.
- The trichomes are mostly milky coloured with some hints of amber.
- Calyx development is at its maximum and has completely swollen.
- The trichome heads are large sized and not immature in appearance.
- When the plants have been flushed and reveal a complete fade in colour.
- The pistils have turned brown and have wrapped around the bud.
Time To Chop!
On the basis that you have followed the above criteria, then you are now ready to harvest, and begin either trimming immediately or you will leave the plants to dry before doing any hands on trimming. Below are the two different methods to choose from and each has its own advantages.
Dry Trimming Cannabis – Hanging The Whole Plant
When you are harvesting Cannabis plants, one option is to simply hang the entire plant for a period of 10-14 days. Normally the fan leaves are removed, and everything else is left on the plant which is kept inside the dry room for the duration of the drying period.
The Advantages Associated
- Better suited for large scale growers who don’t have time to trim fresh plants.
- When trimming the dry flowers, it is much easier to remove the dry leaves.
- Dry sift can be made with the dry leaf material and smaller buds.
- It allows a grower a 10-14 day working window as the Cannabis plants dry.
Wet Trimming Cannabis – Using A Dry Net
If you prefer to get up close and personal with your Cannabis plants, then wet trimming is best for you. This basically means that the plants are chopped and you begin to remove the fan leaves, and cut away each bud at every internode. Once you have a big pile of uniform sized buds cut off the main stem, a meticulous hand trimming may begin.
The Advantages Associated
- You can often get a much cleaner manicured final bud.
- It is easy to maintain the same standard once you are focused.
- All of the trim can be saved for freezing and making fresh frozen hash.
- The buds can air out and dry out a slightly quicker time than dry trimming.
The Ideal Cannabis Drying Room
It does not matter how world class your crop is, how it is dried plays a massive role in the final taste and experience. Hanging your Cannabis plants in a dark cupboard or spare bedroom just won’t do, and if you want the ultimate flavours and terpene profiles to come through then you will want to create a customised dark room for drying.
The drying should have the following:
- There is a carbon filter present controlling the odour of the drying Cannabis plants.
- The temperature should be as close to18 – 24degrees Celsius as possible.
- Relative humidity should be as close to 50% as possible.
- Set in a dark environment away from direct sunlight.
- Plenty of height to allow plants to hang.
Time To Cure That Medicine!
When we think of curing we can relate to cured cheese or ham, but what exactly does curing Cannabis buds mean? The main goal of keeping your dry flowers inside air tight jars is to allow the air present to break down not only the remaining plant matter / chlorophyll taste, but to also enhance the terpene profiles and degrade the THC cannabinoid into CBD over time. This is done by filling your jars ¾ full and allowing them to sit for only 10 minutes each day without a lid on. Always keep the jars out of direct sunlight and in a cool and dark place!
The Benefits of Curing Cannabis Buds
- The taste will dramatically improve over time.
- The cure only takes 10 minutes of time each day.
- Effect becomes more potent and medicinal.
- Cannabis buds are as ripe as can be when smoked.
- A simple air tight jar or tub can be used for curing.
What About The Trim?
The added bonus of harvesting Cannabis Plants. The trim refers to the sugar leaf and lower buds that won’t make the final curing jars. The trim can be used to make either dry sift or water hash.
Paradise Seeds Top 3 Strains for Making Hash.
Photo 1: 6 Plastic tubs each with a different strain inside curing.
Photo 2: The buds inside the tubs are perfectly dry and cured.