After months of work, and daily maintenance, your cannabis crop is coming to an end. But that doesn't mean all of the important work is over. Knowing how to harvest a cannabis plant, and doing it properly, will improve the quality of your final product.
Before you harvest a cannabis plant, it is a good idea to make sure the plant is ready for harvesting. Check the trichomes with a microscope:
If your plant is ready for harvest, prepare your work space, and the area you're going to dry your plant in. You need to prevent contamination from things like; mould spores, dust, or dirt, to keep your flowers clean.
If you have grown your plants in a dirty, or dusty area, then you may want to consider washing your buds after harvesting. This will remove all of the dirt from the flowers. You can then leave your buds to dry, and as a result, will have a cleaner harvest.
Use bleach, and clean the whole drying area thoroughly. Doing this will prevent the risk of mould spores getting to your drying plants. If these spores germinate on your flowers, you will see bud rot, and powdery mildew form. As a result, your harvest will be ruined. Let the room dry out, so the smell of bleach has gone.
When you are harvesting your plants, the smell will be stronger than ever. Of course, you do not want people smelling the cannabis, because it will raise unwanted suspicion. You must ensure that you have extraction and a carbon filter in the drying room! Do not let the smell get out unfiltered! It's a rule you must not break! ( Rule Number 3: Cover The Smell)
There are a few different techniques to harvesting a cannabis plant. Some growers like to chop the whole plant, and hang it without removing any leaves what so ever. Some growers like to remove every bud from the stems and dry them individually.
The most common of these methods is to remove branches from the main stem of the plant, and hang them upside down. This is the technique we will cover in this guide.
To harvest a cannabis plant by removing the branches one by one, you will need to prepare a place to hang all of them. Before harvesting, make sure you have a length of string across your drying room. This will make sure you don't have to put the flowers down flat, just cut them and hang them.
Cut branches off at internodes, so you can use these "V's" to securely hang your flowers. Always consider how you're going to hang a stem before you chop it.
Find a good place to cut, and use some strong garden shears to chop off the branch. It is best to separate all branches into single stems with no side shoots. Each flower needs to hang in its own space, without touching any other flowers. Side shoots will droop whilst drying, and may cause problems with air flow.
After removing the branches from the main stem, most growers will trim off all of the leaves around the flowers, and on the stems. This will leave behind just the cannabis buds.
There are other trimming techniques that will increase or reduce drying time for your cannabis flowers after harvest. Choose what is right for you. Harvest and manicuring can be a long task, make sure you have put enough time aside to complete your harvest undisturbed.
If time may be an issue, consider "Dry Trimming" your cannabis plant, have a look at our guide on dry trimming.
Once you have manicured your flowers( if that was your chosen method of trimming) they will need to be hung upside down, in a dark room.
Hang all of the branches at equal intervals. Air flow is important here because if the air stays still, it will become stale and mould spores can germinate. You must make sure the buds are not touching each other, or the walls of the drying room.
The room should be dark, and have a small fan at the bottom to keep air moving around. Do not point any fans directly at your buds, this will dry them too quickly. You only need air to be moving. A small fan and extraction on slow is perfect.
When you have harvested your cannabis plants, and they are hanging in a clean drying room, you have to set the environment. The idea is to dry the flowers slowly (between 10 and 14 days)
If the temperatures are too warm your bud will dry too quickly, if it's too cold, your buds will take longer and may suffer with rot.
For a detailed guide on the best way to dry your cannabis check out our guides to drying.
Harvesting is always an exciting time for new cannabis growers. Even for experienced growers it is still a good thing to look forward to. But never rush it! Only harvest your plant when it is ready. Check the trichomes and make sure the THC is mature and the buds are ripe!
Roll some joints before you start, prepare a comfortable place to work, and have some good scissors. This may take a few hours. But, enjoy it, take your time, and remember to cover the smell!!!!
Thanks for reading! You can find more information on anything related to growing in our cannabis grow guides. All of our guides are written by experienced growers, and members of our cannabis growers forum. If you have any questions, sign up. It is free, and we are always happy to help!
Happy Growing! And stay safe out there.
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