Marijuana cultivation is a an art and a science, yet many novice growers view harvest time the way a child views Christmas, as pay off for good work. While harvesting your crop certainly should be a pay off, underestimating this final step can harm your buds and compromise months of time and labor. That said, here are three key harvest time tips to ensure you receive the highest quality outcome from your cannabis plants.

Flushing

The first tip to harvesting involves mastering the fine art of flushing. Flushing is the last critical step in the flowering process and the first step of the harvest. Beginning two weeks before harvest, flushing involves denying all nutrients to the plant by feeding it nothing but pure water. Built-up nutrients can tarnish the taste and burnability of the final product, therefore, it is imperative to properly flush.

First, flood the plant with lots of pure water. Wait a few minutes to allow all of the nutrients to break down, then repeat the process. A common mistake new growers make is to only flush the plants once; this is often not enough to completely dissolve the buildup of nutrients. A day or two before harvesting, flush a third and final time.

Cutting

The next tip involves cutting. 24-48 hours after the final flush, begin harvesting your plants by first cutting away from the root ball or, if the plants are too large, by cutting the bigger branches first. However, it is important to leave the stems connected to the branches being cut. These will facilitate in hang drying. After all of the plants are cut, hang them upside down with room between each in order to get maximum air flow around the buds.

Curing


Buds should continue to dry for a week at roughly 70ºF with little humidity. If buds are dried too quickly, the plant can retain unwanted nitrates which would negate the flushing process. After the buds have gradually dried, curing begins. The key tip to curing is patience. The process should take approximately two weeks to produce maximum potency in the buds. Novice growers seek to expedite the process, curing for a only a few days, and dilute the plants potency as a result.

Airtight plastic bins are the best option for curing dried buds. Experienced growers will add a slice of lemon or orange peel toward the end to offset any “plasticy” taste such bins may impart. It is important to open the containers several times a day during the curing process to exchange the evaporated moisture with fresh dry air. After one to two weeks of curing, the harvest is complete and ready to smoke

Photo credit: eggrole / Foter / CC BY

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