In one of our previous articles, we’ve discussed how weed growers know when to harvest their plant. Harvesting cannabis isn’t quite like harvesting edible crops. To get the perfect smoke, you need to be very careful with how you handle the harvest of your plants. Now that you know exactly when you want to harvest, it’s time to get all the necessities together.
Prepare Your Harvest Area
Set aside a designated room or area for harvesting your plants. This area is intended to reduce the spread of odor and begin facilitating the curing process as soon as plants are cut down. This area should be 70F (21C) or below to prevent cannabis oils from volatilizing, which helps reduce the odor. You can setup fans and humidity controls too in the room
Get Your tools ready
Harvesting weed requires a few specialty tools, some are necessary, and some just make things easier. Getting these ready before harvest will save precious time.
- Trimmers – These include handheld scissors, mechanical, and electric trimmers. These are absolutely essential.
- Trim Trays – While not essential, trays make harvesting easier and allow you to reap some extra reward. They provide support and comfort while trimming, and catch excess kief and sugar leaves via a mesh screen.
- Gloves – A good pair of nitrile or latex gloves are also needed. This prevents contamination of buds, and keeps your hands from becoming a sticky mess. Gloves will also prevent powerful marijuana odors from lingering on your hands long after trimming.
- Lines – This is less of a tool than just something you want to have ready to hang your plants from. Material isn’t important, it just needs to be sturdy enough to hang your harvest from to aid in drying.
- 90+ Proof Alcohol — High proof rubbing alcohol of 90% or more (find it at your local drugstore) will help clean scissors, hands, and anything else covered in sticky resin.
- Hanging Drying Racks — If you are short on space to dry your crop, consider these handy hanging drying racks. They’re lightweight, velcro onto any hanging rod, and provide for lots of air flow. For a small amount of real estate, they hold a LOT of drying cannabis. When not in use, they fold up for compact storage.
Prepare your Plant
You also need to get your plants prepared for harvest.
- Remove old leaves –This is the first thing you do, remove the yellow leaves on the 25% bottom of the plant when harvest is approaching. Its discovered that these leaves are taking up more energy than they’re providing to the buds
- Stop spraying – Stop any kind of spraying 2 weeks or sooner before you harvest. This prevents residue in or on your buds.
- Flush your plants – This is a simple process but must be done correctly, as it has a large impact on the final quality of your cannabis. The purpose of flushing is to remove any residual nutrients and/or chemicals that have accumulated in the flowers. Flushing is done by watering plants with only clean water until you harvest.
Flushing stands as a quality control measure to the taste of your smoke. Residual fertilizers make smoking these buds harsh and unpleasant. Un-flushed buds smell like chemicals when they burn. Growing organically will reduce your flushing time and volume.
How to Flush Your Plant
- Prior to flushing, you’ll stop fertilizing. All you need is clean water, distilled or RO water to water your plant. Flushing agent is advisable if you have access to tap water.
- Flushing is to commence 7-10 days prior to your harvest date.
- If growing in soil – just water as needed with clean water throughout this time.
- If growing hydroponically – replace your reservoir with clean water, and recirculate for 2-3 days. After 2-3 days, refill your reservoir again with clean water.
Harvesting Your Plants
The most important consideration with this step is to handle your plants and buds properly and in the right environment.
How Should You Cut?
There are two ways to begin harvesting your plants.
You can either harvest the whole plant by cutting the main stem, or harvest only the most mature buds.
This method of harvest is quicker, easier, and require less monitoring of individual bud maturity. You simply need to cut the main stem, then hang or further divide up the plant.
This harvest method seems rigorous but can potentially increase your overall yield and quality. You first remove the ripest buds (as determined through the previous steps). Next you wait 5-10 days for the remaining buds to reach perfect ripeness, then harvest them as well.
To be continued in my next article …