Harvesting, or harvesting cannabis, is a truly magical and long-awaited moment. All the hardship and constant care is behind us, all that remains is to reach out and pluck the coveted cones. But it’s not that easy. In order for the harvest to please you, as they say, “for all the money”, it is necessary to properly conduct the harvests, to dry the crop, and then to cure it. The taste and effective qualities of the product will directly depend on this.

In this article, we’ll go over all the basics of harvesting cannabis. We’ll go over the most common questions growers ask on cannabis forums, as well as a selection of the most yielding and unpretentious cannabis varieties.

When to harvest?
Before harvesting cannabis, there are a number of preparatory steps a grower has to take. This will significantly improve the taste and flavor of the buds. It is necessary to think over exactly where this procedure will take place, as well as where the harvest will be dried and treated.

Once everything is ready, the real question is: “When to harvest? The answer can be given by natural “indicators” to determine the degree of maturity of the buds. The beginner will ask: “Why all this if there are passport indicators?” The fact is that the growth rate of cannabis is not constant and largely depends on the conditions of cultivation. If they are far from ideal, the whole process can be delayed. For this reason it is always better to allow an extra week or two for the cycle, and to be guided by the appearance of the bush.

The color of the trichomes on the inflorescences
This is the most accurate way to determine the maturity of cannabis buds. It’s simple enough. Take a magnifying glass or better still a jeweler’s microscope and look at the trichomes as they mature in three stages which you can identify by their color.

Transparent – trichomes have just grown and are just beginning to synthesize resin.

Cloudy or milky – the trichomes are filled with active substances and secrete resin.

Amber – the active substances in the trichomes have reached their peak concentration and are beginning to disintegrate into simpler compounds.

The best time to harvest is when the first amber trichomes appear. When the number of trichomes reaches 10-20% of the total mass, it is safe to harvest. The difference in the color of the buds is due to their varying degrees of maturity. The ones that were formed first will be the first to ripen. With this color ratio, almost all of the trichomes will have accumulated the maximum amount of THC and CBD. Some growers, however, recommend waiting until the share of “amber” reaches 45-50%, but in this case, the effect of the cones would be more sedative.As a rule, only the lower inflorescences remain unripe. You should not wait until they are ripe. This is because at this time the active ingredients in the other cones will begin to oxidize and lose their potency. Alternatively, you can make the harvest in two stages.

Many harvesters cut the main stem of a cannabis bush above the unripe inflorescences, giving them time to develop further. This usually takes one to four weeks.

Yellow leaves on the cannabis bush

The appearance of yellow leaves on the cannabis bush is another sign of a ripe crop. When the big fan leaves have changed color or fallen off, you can safely get to harvesting. However, this usually happens at a later stage of maturity, and therefore the crop may lose some of its psychoactive power. But if you prefer a sedative effect, it is worth looking at this indicator of maturity.

You should also be aware that the leaves can turn yellow for other reasons, such as too much or too little nutrient. So it is still best to look at the state of the trichomes.

The color of the pistils

Another indicator of maturity is the pistils – the hairs sticking out of the inflorescence. The pistils appear at the start of flowering and change color as the crop matures. When the plant is mature, about 80-90% of the stigmas will be orange, red or brown, depending on the variety. They will also change their shape, becoming less slender.

Getting ready to harvest the buds
Rinsing the bush
Proper preparation for the cannabis harvest can improve the taste of the buds. The first thing growers do is rinse the cannabis bush. This is to remove nutrient residue from the top part of the plant which makes the harvest bitter and can be harmful to the grower’s health. Flushing is only done if you use mineral fertilizers. If you are an organic grower, you can simply continue watering with clean water as before.

About 2 weeks before the intended harvester, you should completely stop applying any fertilizer and start watering the plant with pure water only. As a result, the bush will make full use of the macro/micronutrients accumulated in the tissues, clearing out any excess.

Dehydrating the cannabis bush

This is done to facilitate and speed up the drying and pruning processes. The essence of the method is to st

op watering the plant about 5-7 days before harvests. This “motivates” the cannabis plant to use all the water accumulated in the cells and tissues. Also dehydration, being a stressor for the plant, can increase the concentration of THC. Hemp produces this cannabinoid mainly for self-protection in various situations.

Total darkness

This trick is applied 1-3 days before the harvests start. As a result, the plant gets another stress, and therefore begins to intensively synthesize resin. This gives the buds a richer flavor and increases the THC concentration.

The harvest
The technique for harvesting cannabis is quite simple and straightforward. The first thing a grower needs is a pair of sharp scissors and a flat surface (ideally glass, but a table covered with a piece of paper will do). It is needed so that afterwards one can easily collect all THC crystals and small parts of inflorescences that have fallen off during the harvester. The rest is done in this order.

You can either cut it off completely, or you can cut it off one branch at a time.

Next, all the leaves that grow separately from the inflorescences are cut off from the branches. They will contain a very small percentage of THC. The growers usually either throw these away or use them in cannabis foodstuffs.

Now all the inflorescences should be cut off the branches.

The final step is to manicure the cones. The small leaves that stick out to the sides are cut off of them. On these leaves, as a rule, you can also see trichomes. The concentration of THC in them is not as high as in the buds, but they can still bring quite a decent effect. Most of the time, the “sugar leaves” are finely chopped and dried separately. This takes about a day, after which the first sample of the crop can be taken.

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