Grow Tip: When And How To Harvest Your Cannabis
Harvesting your cannabis in the right way at the right time is essential if you want to get the most out of your plant. Getting wrong can lead to some weak, or strange tasting bud – which no one wants! It is a mistake often made by novices, and a crying shame to have stumbled at one of the last hurdles. To help prevent such a travesty from happening, we have put together a guide to harvesting you bud like a pro.
1. GET A POCKET MICROSCOPE
As cannabis flowers, it produces loads of little trichomes full of cannabinoid goodness. By observing these trichomes as they develop, you can gain a lot of insight as to when the best time to harvest is. However, to do this, you will need a pocket microscope with a strength between 25x-100x. With this in hand, you will be able to easily observe the trichomes around the flowering sites as they develop. What you are looking for is a change in colour. They should initially start of growing clear, turn cloudy, and then eventually start going amber in colour. It is when the majority of trichomes have turned cloudy that the cannabinoid content is at its highest. If trichomes start turning amber, then the cannabinoid content has passed its peak and is now degrading.
It is worth noting that the colour is not the same for every strain of cannabis out there. Some strains can actually start with amber trichomes, giving the unprepared a heart attack. What is important is to watch for an initial colour change.
2. FLUSH YOUR PLANT
During the last two weeks of flowering, you want to stop feeding your weed and start flushing the soil. This will help remove any built up salts and remaining nutrients from the soil, forcing your cannabis to use up its reserves. Whilst this may sound odd to some, the reasoning is sound. You want your plant to use up all of its reserves, so that sugar, starch, and other nutrient content are all used up just before the harvest. If allowed to remain, it can cause your bud to taste bitter, create a harsh smoke, and make it harder to burn.
First, as the flush begins about 2 weeks before harvest, you want to try and time it to coincide with the majority of your trichomes turning cloudy. This can be quite tricky, and will come with practice. Keep an eye at the rate with which your trichomes are changing and make an educated estimation as to how long it will take for the majority of them to change.
To begin a flush, you want to be using pure, plain water. First, soak the soil so that water runs all the way through. Now give it 5-10 minutes to allow the water to loosen the salts and nutrients up. Now follow up with another soaking. This next wave of water will help the now broken up content run through the soil and out the bottom of your pot (or deeper into the soil if growing outdoors). This is known as a two-step flush. You need to do this at regular intervals for the last two weeks to ensure the soil is completely cleaned.
You can actually test you cannabis to see if it has used up all of its food stores. Simply break off a leaf and taste the juice that comes out of the stem. If it is bitter, then there are still nutrients present in the plant. If tastes like water, then you are ready to go!
3. HARVEST BEFORE THE LIGHTS COME ON
Lastly, an often overlooked pro tip is to harvest before the lights come on, or before the sunrises when outdoors. During dark periods, cannabis stores starch in its roots, moving it into the plant when it is exposed to light. By harvesting during a dark period, you ensure that any potential starch content is at its minimum. The result is a much smoother smoke.