Homegrown cannabis growers learn the basic and advanced techniques of cultivating cannabis plants through experience.
Cultivators can get a lot of information from video tutorials and other online resources, be it about choosing the right strain for indoor or outdoor growing or watering, feeding, harvesting, and storing buds.
So how do you harvest cannabis, and what are the important storage tips you need to know? Keep reading to find the answers.
How To Tell If Your Cannabis Plants Are Ready For Harvesting
Cannabis plants have varying types, and from seedlings until maturity, they experience a wide range of growth and development periods.
The duration of the cannabis growth cycle depends on several factors, such as the growing medium (like soil or hydroponics), desired yield, and the strain.
Approximately, you need to wait six to16 weeks to harvest most cannabis plants. You can expect nine to 12 weeks to pass between planting your cannabis and harvesting it.
In growing such plants, you have to dedicate your time, care, and passion. An important part of the cannabis growing routine is watering your plants.
You should use the recommended water for cannabis growth for a high-quality and bountiful harvest. Now, here are some of the ways you can determine whether your buds are ready to be harvested:
- Check The Color Of The Trichomes
What are trichomes? These small resin glands are found in cannabis buds or flowers that serve as their defense system. Observing the appearance of trichomes is one of the recommended ways to figure out if your cannabis plants can be harvested.
Trichomes appear as tiny little crystals covering the buds and leaves of cannabis plants.
They are often described as sticky, shiny, and aromatic. Trichomes become aromatic when harvesting time draws near because of their terpene (aromatic compounds) and cannabinoid content, like cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
So, what do trichomes look like if it’s time for harvest? The ideal appearance of trichomes is that almost half should look milky white while other trichomes should be amber.
They’ll look like blankets of frost. If you see that the trichomes are still clear, it means the plants need more time to grow, so you need to wait a little longer.
It’s important to use either a magnifying glass or a digital magnifier when observing the color of trichomes because you might not be able to see the hue clearly with the naked eye.
- Look At The Color Of The Leaves
Cannabis growers also observe the leaf color to tell if they can harvest the buds of their plants. The large or fan leaves change color.
In the flowering phase, the green hue of leaves is due to their nitrogen content. Hence, early growing cannabis plants need nitrogen.
The fan leaves turn yellow when the buds are ready to harvest because the nitrogen level decreases.
- Watch Out For Curling Of Leaves
When the fan leaves appear yellow, there’s a tendency for them to curl because of lack of moisture.
This phenomenon is a natural occurrence in cannabis plants because they absorb less water close to harvesting time.
- Observe The Pistils
A pistil pertains to a female cannabis plant’s sex organ that looks like hair protruding from the calyx or the first part of a cannabis flower that’s formed. Look for brown pistils, which indicate maturity.
When you observe with a magnifying glass or a digital magnifier that almost half of the pistils look brown, then you can harvest your cannabis buds.
Know How To Store Your Cannabis Buds
Cultivating your cannabis plants involves proper harvesting, drying, and curing or storage.
After you cut down your plants during harvest, you need to dry and cure the buds properly to preserve flavors and retain terpenes and cannabinoids.
Slow open-air drying is highly recommended for newly harvested cannabis buds, which eradicates most of the moisture.
How long should you let your buds dry? The drying process takes about two to seven days.
When you dry trimmed cannabis, you need to hang the buds upside down on a hanger or a line in branches or as whole plants to prevent flattening.
Check the dry branches or buds after two days by bending one of the stems. If it snaps, it means that the buds are completely dry.
If it doesn’t, leave the buds hanging and check if they’re dry the next day.
Once your plants are dry, it’s time to cure and store them properly. Here are some storage tips you can apply for your homegrown cannabis buds:
- Prepare The Things You Need: You should have airtight jars and a hygrometer, a tool that measures humidity and temperature, before you start to cure the buds.
- Store The Buds In The Airtight Containers: Place the trimmed cannabis buds in an airtight container. Use a wide-mouth quart or a half-gallon glass mason jar. A metal, wood, or ceramic vessel can be used as a storage container for cannabis buds. Don't use plastic bags because they let oxygen enter, causing moisture and deterioration of buds, and your cannabis may taste like plastic. You should pack the buds in airtight containers loosely. Avoid crushing or compacting them. Afterward, store your cannabis buds in a cool, dark, and dry place.
- Check If You Have Overdried Buds: The cannabis buds should look softer because the moisture from the central part rehydrates the external parts. If you don’t notice this occurrence, then it’s likely that your buds are overdried. If your cannabis buds are too dry, you can rehydrate them by placing a humidity pack in the container. On the other hand, buds that are too wet should be left with the lid off (anywhere from 12 to 24 hours) before you reseal them.
You can grow healthy cannabis plants on your own by staying abreast with the latest information about how to properly cultivate them.
Harvesting cannabis entails careful assessment of the signs that the buds are mature enough and ready to be picked.
Storing your cannabis buds should be correctly done as well to ensure you can keep them fresh either for medicinal or recreational purposes.