If you’re an indoor grower, the harvesting process is fairly simple: Uproot the plants to be harvested, then hang them upside down (more for convenience than any other reason) in the same grow room. If you’re planning on creating a new crop, you can replant your pots now and keep your lights on for twenty hours a day, drying your harvest even as you sprout the next crop.
Outdoor growers typically just pull up their plants by the roots, knock the root balls free of dirt, and lash the females (males will already have been harvested several reeks prior) together just above the root balls, sometimes two or three plants per bundle. In large commercial operations plants are typically just hung in a warm, dry place to cure over the next two or three weeks.
Stripping Plants before Curing
This is a wonderfully tedious segment of the personal-use farmer’s growing experience. If you’ve been successful, anticipate spending many busy hours removing individual buds intact from their main stems with sharp, long-bladed scissors-bear in mind that your buds are reservoirs of next year’s crop seeds, and treat them gently. Leaves can be removed and stashed for a rainy day, or left to dry until not quite crunchy, and then ground into a flour for cannabis oil or butter. Unlike commercial growers, you will probably want to trim off everything not worth smoking; a point to remember if you decide to weigh your yield, because your harvested and cleaned pot will lack the four or five grams of nonsmokable stems found in an average ounce Of street weed.
Growers are likely to find a lot more seeds in the buds they harvest than are found in any of the bags they’ve purchased from dealers—in fact, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that half of the weight of your buds is comprised of seeds. A pot dealer who sold buds with the volume of seeds produced by fully pollinated females would soon be ostracized (at the very least) by people who paid him premium prices for mostly seed.
For me personally, more seeds than I need is not a problem, because the more seeds my plants produce, the more I will plant, even if it’s just tossing handfuls of them into roadside ditches. I keep several hundred fat, perfect, hand-picked seeds in reserve for planting next year’s personal crop, of course, but it seems fitting that the abundance of seeds that is provided by nature when plants are left to pollinate freely should be sown at least as freely.
Removing seeds from your own smoke can be a sticky, tedious, but still kind of fun after-harvest chore. Begin by snipping off each individual bud from their parent stem with sharp scissors and placing them into a bowl. Next, roll the removed buds lightly between your thumb and forefinger, feeling for seeds, then gently dislodging them to fall into a collection vessel. Many will be covered by a thin green membrane of plant tissue-which is itself covered with THC crystals.
Lashing and hanging plants is the accepted method of harvesting for growers who handle hundreds, even thousands of plants per season. Personal- use growers who harvest perhaps thirty plants a season often use other methods that aren’t cost-effective on a larger scale. One of my personal favorites is to wait until end-buds have matured enough to have fully developed seeds, then snip off only the fat ends, leaving smaller, lower buds to continue to grow for as long as possible while you prepare the proverbial cream of the crop for smoking.
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