Harvesting and Curing Marijuana Properly:
You finally made it through all different grow cycles and now you can admire your plants in all their blossoming glory. However, your work is far from done. You still need to harvest, dry and prepare your buds for consumption. While the process isn’t necessarily difficult, it requires patience and self-discipline. Timing is crucial to get the best out of your plants. So, in this article, we’ll follow an unorthodox approach and we’ll take things from the end: What happens after your plants are full of buds ripe for the taking?
Finding the Right Time to Harvest
The key to a great product is to harvest cannabis at just the right time. Cannabinoids in your plants' trichomes are formed exactly during that period, so it is essential that you wait for the buds to ripen. Harvesting too early will lead to an overall worse experience, as the key cannabinoids would not have had enough time to form. Harvesting too late, on the other hand, can lead to the degradation of the main cannabinoids THC and CBD, making the end product more narcotic.
CBD and THC Formation
THC and CBD are the most prevalent chemical compounds in marijuana plants, although at least 113 different cannabinoids and terpenes have been isolated from the plant, exhibiting various effects. THC is the primary psychoactive of cannabis and can be found in trace amounts in the whole plant. However, its highest concentration is in the resin of the buds, where it starts developing about two weeks into flowering. Increase THC content will lead to a more cerebral experience for the smoker.
If you wait, even more, the THC will gradually start breaking down into CBD, which is not psychoactive but produces a pleasant, muscle-relaxing effect to the user. Harvesting cannabis in the appropriate window will give you different results depending on what your tastes are. Maintaining these effects on your end product will come through proper harvesting and curing practices. Read on to find out more about it.
How to Harvest Marijuana
Flush Before You Start
The last step before harvesting your plants is to clear all remaining salt or nutrient residues that have gradually built up inside them. Flushing your crop a few days before harvest is a great way to enhance taste and potency. The main culprit for this buildup of excess chemicals is a condition called "nutrient lockout". This happens when your plants receive excess nutrients and leads to unwanted effects on bud quality.
Flushing your plants is not only useful before harvesting. Experienced growers use this technique frequently throughout the growing process as it is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the quality of your product. There is some debate as to what flushing actually accomplishes, however, the consensus is that it improves bud taste by removing unnecessary chemicals.
The final flushing should take place at least a week before harvest and it is similar whether you do it in soil or in hydroponic grows. In soil, you just need to run a lot of fresh water (pH of about 6) through your hydroponic system. The exact amount depends on the size of your container. A good rule of thumb is to use as much water as the volume of your container.
In hydro, run clear water (pH of about 5.8) through the system for a few days. Do not be alarmed if you notice leaves yellowing and wilting. At this stage, the plant is focusing on producing buds, so it is natural to get rid of unnecessary parts.
Get Down to Business: Chopping Down the Buds
Now comes the fun part: actually collecting ripe bud from your plant! Although you can certainly improvise, there are quite a few tips to make your life easier. You should, first of all, remove larger leaves to make room for the bud-producing glands at the top. Then you will be ready to cut the kolas. Treat each branch with extreme care as you hang it to dry. If you are rough, the trichomes might fall and this is obviously the last thing you want right now.
After Harvest: Curing Marijuana Buds the Right Way
After you have cut your plants apart, it is time to do some final trimming. Use a pair of disinfected scissors to carefully remove all the extraneous leaves surrounding the buds. We would advise you not to throw away all the trimmings, as they are rich in trichomes and you can use them to make amazing edibles.
Keep the buds in disinfected mason glass jars you will use for the curing process. For the first 14 days, open the lid and let the air circulate for about 15 minutes, two times a day. This removes moisture and reduces the chance of rot. Don’t forget to label your jars according to strain, potency or date!
Great curing is where pros really shine. Follow this advice and you will realize that a little bit of patience can add a whole lot of punch to your marijuana experience.
Written by : HowtoGrowMarijuana.com