Harvesting Marijuana: Timing & Techniques
Tips for Harvesting Marijuana
From the vegetative stage to the flower stage to harvesting your crop, growing marijuana can be a very rewarding process. The time from the beginning of the vegetative stage to harvest will vary based on the strain you selected and your own growing techniques. If you aren’t rushing to complete a sea of green, screen of green or simply a smaller cannabis grow, then you’ll probably harvest 4 – 6 months from the time you initially started growing.
To tell when your plants are reaching maturity and harvesting time, you’ll need to be paying close attention to the buds and to the resin glands on them. A magnifying glass, especially the kind of loupe used by jewelers, can be incredibly useful for this purpose, because you’ll be looking at individual hairs and glands on the surface of the buds, little details that you’ll need to see up close.
One common indicator for harvesting marijuana is observing the trichomes. Experienced growers can harvest based on the THC resin glands that they can see, and others harvest based on the color of the calyx hairs on the bud.
In the case of THC resins, they should look like long little spindles with balls on the ends. A little like alien feelers, actually. When those THC globules start to deteriorate, to fall over and change from clear to a more amber color, it’s time to pull your nutrients and flush your plants in preparation for harvest.
Indicators for Harvesting Marijuana
If you’re using the calyx hairs as an indicator of when to harvest, you’ll want to pay attention to their color as those buds develop. Calyx hairs generally start out white, they are thick and vibrant but as the plant reaches maturity the hairs grow darker, turning red or brown, depending on what strain you chose to grow. When you start seeing the color change or hairs begin falling off, it’s time to flush out your nutrients and harvest.
Precisely when to harvest is also open to personal choice, though, with many breeders harvesting at the very peak of their bloom, before any degradation of resin glands or hairs has occurred. Other growers champion a more mature harvest, claiming that resin production can be as much as 25% greater in the final weeks of flowering. As a new grower, it’s best to do your research and choose a time you think is best. Ultimately, only experience will allow you to choose when the perfect time to harvest is for your needs. Approach your first harvest with open arms and a willingness to learn and you’ll be happy.
Once you’ve flushed all your nutrients by watering with pH-neutral water for 2 – 3 weeks, you may gleefully commence with the carnage of cutting them down. Harvest your plants with a pair of garden shears by clipping them off in one fell swoop at the base of their stalk. Trim any excess foliage that you consider trash, including fan leaves, and prepare to dry and cure your bud.
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