Once your plant has matured and gone through the flowering period, when the buds are looking beautiful and fat it is time to begin thinking about harvesting your crop. If you haven’t harvested weed plants before this article will talk you through each step on how to harvest marijuana successfully so you can get onto smoking it.
How to know when its time to start your marijuana harvest
- Knowing when the flowering time is complete
- Colouring of the pistils
- Using a jewellers loupe to assess when trichomes are ready
Flowering period Completion
First of all it is important to know when your plant has completed its flowering period. One of the easiest way to judge this is based on the strain you are growing. When Choosing your strain you will have been supplied with the information about how long the flowering time should last, this will give you a good gage on when it will be complete. Alternatively a rough guide to flowering time completion is as follows:
Indica: harvest after 8 weeks of flowering
Sativa: harvest after 10 weeks of flowering
Autoflower: 10 weeks from seedling to bud
Although knowing when your plant has completed its flowering period is important, knowing when to harvest is determined far more by the look of the pistils and trichomes on its buds.
This is the easiest way to determine whether its time to harvest your plant or not.
Pistils are the little hairs that sprout from the buds of your plant. During the flowering process these hairs will be white and stick straight out of the bud. The more they darken and curl the closer it is to harvest time. Depending on what kind of effect you want from your buds you should look out for the following ratio of red/brown pistils on your bud.
- 0-50% of the pistils have darkened in colour and curled up. This is a sign that the buds are not ready to harvest yet.
- 60-70% of pistils have darkened in colour and curled up. You plant is ready to harvest and it THC levels should be at their most potent
- 70-90% of pistils have darkened. Harvesting your plant now will give your buds less THC and more CBN creating a more calming, sleepy effect.
How to know when trichomes are ready?
The next and seen by many as the most effective technique for checking when trichomes are ready to harvest is to inspect the color of them. For this you will need and digital microscope or jewellers loupe. Trichomes are tiny, glandular, growths on the leaves and buds of your plant. They often have stalks and a head, looking similar to a mushroom. Some trichomes are known as resin glands, these are the crystally, frosty looking things you see on your bud/leaves. These trichomes are also what makes weed stickier. The trichomes you are looking for in order to harvest are the ones that look like little mushrooms. This is where the buds THC and other good stuff is located, so knowing when these trichomes are at their highest THC potency is crucial to choosing the right harvest time. As these trichomes are so small and you need to get a close up look at them, this is when you need your digital microscope/jewellers loupe.
Take a close look at the bud with your digital microscope/jewellers loupe. Clear colourless trichomes indicate your bud is not quite ready yet. When trichomes are ready around 70-80% of them will be cloudy, this will ensure the most potent buds, giving you a heady energetic high,. Waiting longer will mean the trichomes will turn amber in color. Harvesting when a majority of trichomes have changed to amber will give you more of a stoned, body high.
How to harvest marijuana
Right so you’ve inspected when your trichomes are ready and it’s time to finally begin the marijuana harvest.
What equipment you will need to do this:
- Sharp scissors for trimming the buds
- Stronger scissors or gardening shears for cutting branches
- Disposable rubber gloves to stop your hands getting overly sticky and dirty
- Containers or trays to place your trimmed buds and trimmings in
Once you have all your equipment ready you are good to go.
- The first step is to use your strong scissors or gardening shears to cut off a branch from your plant. Cut the branch to a length that is easily manageable to handle.
- Next pull away all the big fan leaves from your bud. You can use your hands to do this as they will come away easily. Put these leaves to one side to dispose of later.
- Now it’s time to trim the small sugar leaves surrounding the bud. You will be able to see the leaf tips but not the stems. So using your small scissors closely trim these leaves making sure you are not taking away any of the bud.
- You will be left with a branch with a nicely trimmed bud on it. Leave the bud on the branch as it will be easier to hang during the drying process. Now repeat these steps with every branch and bud until you have completely stopped your plant. This process can take a while, but it’s worth it to have nice, neat buds.
A top tip is to trim the buds over a container that you can catch all the trimmed leaves in, these can be used to make hash later on.
Now that the marijuana harvest is complete and all your fat, juicy buds have been trimmed, it is time to begin the drying process.