What started as a tiny little seed has now blossomed into a luscious, aromatic plant that has been given love and tending for the last several months. The journey of growing outdoor cannabis is coming to an end for the season. Harvest season is just around the corner, so it’s almost time to enjoy all the fruits of your labor! Outdoor grows get one harvest season a year, and it’s almost time. While it can seem a little bittersweet, it begins the last vital steps before savoring the amazing flavors you put your blood, sweat, and tears into. Harvesting still requires follow-up trimming, curing, and proper storage before your buds are ready for consumption. Be sure to not skip these crucial steps.
When it’s time to harvest
While a lot of cultivators have their schedules of when to harvest, there are a few guidelines to make sure the time is right. Growing indoors gives you much more control over when harvest time arrives, but since NY only allows for outdoor growing, we will be focusing on those timelines. Generally for outdoor grows, depending on where in the country you are, harvest falls between September and November. You want to make sure to harvest before the fall rains start and mold can wreak havoc on your hard work. A slight drop in temps doesn’t mean a total loss, but keep an eye on your local weather, as an early hard frost can kill your entire crop. This will lead to wilted, dark, and crispy leaves.
When the timing is right, be sure to harvest in the morning. You don’t want to take them down when the sun is at full strength, but you also want to avoid cutting too early in the day when they are still dewey. Harvesting wet plants can lead to moisture getting trapped and mold forming in your buds.
The easiest way to tell if a plant is ready for harvest is to take a good look at the trichomes (resin glands throughout the plant) and stigma (hair-like structures on plants). When stigmas are ready, they will turn from white to orange and start to curl on the ends. Trichomes start clear and will turn opaque. Trichomes will also feel very sticky to the touch. The perfect time to harvest is when the trichomes are JUST turning from milky white to amber. This is when the plant is at maximum THC content. Any longer and the trichomes begin to break down. Waiting a week or so due to scheduling conflicts won’t make a huge difference in your end product, but any longer the buds will begin to shrink and dry out and mold can fester.
It’s time to harvest! Now what?
A week or so before harvest, you want to flush your plants. Feed them only water to clear out the added nutrients. You also will need to decide if you want to trim wet or dry. Wet trimming is trimming buds immediately after the plants are harvested. Dry trimming involves hanging plants to dry for a few days before trimming. Either way works well, it depends on preference.
You will need:
•Sharp scissors or shears
Be sure to use very sharp or new shears that are comfortable and ergonomic. You will be using them for quite a while and don’t want to experience hand fatigue from poorly fitted shears.
•Rubbing alcohol and rag
Harvesting a lot of plants will build up resin on your shears and make them nearly impossible to use once it build up. As your shears feel like they are getting sticky, put some rubbing alcohol on a rag and clean the blades off. This will ensure smooth, clean cutting and shears that won’t break.
•A chair and table or other clean, flat surface
You’re going to be going at this for a while, so be sure to find a comfy spot to sit and get your work done. You’ll want a clean, flat surface to work on.
•Bowl or tray to collect trimmings/kief
With the inevitable stickiness that comes with cannabis, gloves are a great idea to save your hands from the build-up. Scrubbing off caked-on resin can be a task in itself, so we suggest using gloves.
We also suggest some tunes or a show to keep you entertained during the process, as it can last for hours.
To harvest, you want to start by cutting off large branches, being careful to not disturb the buds on the branches. If your plant is small, you can cut the whole stalk right above the soil and dry it. Decide whether dry or wet trimming is best for you and you are ready for the next step of getting your crop ready to consume.
Unsure of where you are in your grow cycle? Check out this blog to help!
Must be 21+. Please consume responsibly.