Harvesting your cannabis crop is one of the most critical stages in the growing process. The timing of your harvest will determine the quality and potency of your finished product. If you harvest too early, your buds will be less potent and less psychoactive. If you harvest too late, your buds may be more potent, but they are also more likely to be harsh and unpleasant-tasting.
To ensure a successful cannabis harvest, you need to have a clear understanding of the plant’s life cycle and the factors that influence the timing of the harvest. This cannabis harvest guide provides everything you need to know about harvesting your first cannabis crop, including tips on when to harvest, how to harvest, and how to properly cure and store your harvest.
What You Will Need For Your Cannabis Harvest
Before you start your cannabis harvest, you will need to gather the necessary tools and supplies. This includes pruning shears or scissors, collection or trimming bags, and storage containers or bags. You will also need containers for storing your finished product, such as mason jars or food-grade plastic containers. Additionally, you may want to invest in a good microscope or high-power magnifying glass to inspect your trichomes and determine when your cannabis is at its peak potency.
The Ideal Time To Harvest Your Cannabis Plants
Knowing when to harvest your cannabis plants is crucial to a successful harvest. Generally, the ideal time to harvest will depend on the level of cannabinoids and terpenes that have developed in your buds. Your buds will contain the most cannabinoid and terpene content when the trichomes on the buds have matured and become cloudy-white or amber in color. Using a microscope can help you select the best time to harvest your plants. This could take anywhere from 7 to 12 weeks after flipping your plants into bloom, depending on the plant’s genetics.
How To Properly Harvest Your Cannabis
For a successful cannabis harvest, it’s important to use the proper harvesting technique. Begin by removing any remaining foliage from the plant and trimming away any buds that are not mature. Then, cut them from the main stem, being careful not to damage or compress the buds.
Now you are ready for the next step: curing.
Dry Your Cannabis
Drying & curing your cannabis is an essential step in the harvesting process. This allows for the further development of herbaceous and earthy flavors and, most importantly, preserves the cannabinoid and terpene content of the plant.
First, you will want a dark, cool, and well-ventilated room. Here, you can place the freshly cut cannabis buds on a drying rack or hang the full plant upside-down.
To cure your buds, keep them in a cool, dark, and low-humid environment until they reach the desired level of moisture. This should take approximately 1-2 weeks. Once finished, you can store your cannabis in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Trimming Your Buds Before Curing & Storage
Once the buds are dry enough, you can begin trimming. You can tell if it’s dry enough by trying to snap a stem. If it still bends, it is likely still too moist.
The trimming process will turn your dry, leafy plant into a beautiful floral bud.
Here is where you will need trimming shears and some type of collection bin. Trim Bin offers a great option, as it is ergonomic and has a 90-micron screen, so you can collect trichomes off your shake while trimming your cannabis buds.
Remove any excess leaves, and sugar trim. You want just the floral part of the plant, as it contains the highest content of cannabinoids and terpenes. You can save any of the leaves with trichomes (sugar trim) and use them for other processing methods, like dry sift, bubble hash, or decarboxalate, and turn them into edibles.
How To Cure & Store Your Cannabis
After the flower has been trimmed, the next step is to cure and preserve it until it is ready to be consumed. Like the drying step, your product needs to be stored in a dark, dry, and low-humid environment. However, you will now place your buds in an airtight container. This step requires patience, as it can take up to 4-weeks to get a proper cure of your buds. I know, waiting at this point might be very tough, but trust me, if you wait an extra three to four weeks, your product will taste primo!
You should check on your flower frequently to make sure it isn’t damp. You may end up throwing out your entire harvest due to a disastrous outcome caused by poorly cured cannabis. Mold grows in damp environments, so be careful not to let your buds get too wet. How and how often you need to inspect your storage unit will change based on the options you choose.
Cannabis, if dried and stored correctly, has a long shelf life. There are a number of effective ways to cure and store cannabis that can keep it fresh and potent for longer. Three of the most common choices will be covered here.
Mason Jars Are Great For Cannabis Preservation
One popular option is using a mason jar, which is a type of glass jar with an airtight seal. These jars are commonly used for canning and preserving food, but they also work well for storing cannabis.
While these glass jars may keep out moisture and air, they do not offer optimal protection against UV light. Exposure to UV light can degrade the cannabinoids in cannabis, leading to a loss in potency and flavor. In this case, there is another method that is specifically designed to block out UV light and maintain humidity levels: Grove Bags.
Grove Bags Are A New Method Of Curing & Storing Your Buds
Grove Bags are a better method of storing cannabis for long-term preservation and are highly regarded amongst professional operations. These specialized bags are designed to regulate humidity levels and provide an optimal environment for preserving the quality of cannabis.
Grove Bags are made with a unique material that allows for proper air circulation while preventing the entry of harmful UV rays. Additionally, grove bags are equipped with a zip-lock feature, making them convenient to use and ensuring that the cannabis remains fresh for longer periods of time.
Humidity Control Packs Are Ideal For Moisture Regulation
Humidity control packs are small packets that are specifically designed to regulate and maintain the ideal humidity levels for cannabis storage. These packs contain a precise blend of salts and water, which release or absorb moisture as needed to keep the humidity within a specific range.
By placing a humidity pack in your preferred storage container along with cannabis, it helps to prevent the buds from drying out or becoming too moist, preserving their quality and potency. With humidity packs, cannabis enthusiasts can have peace of mind knowing that their stash is being stored in optimal conditions, ensuring that it stays fresh and potent for longer periods of time.
Mason jars, Grove Bags, and humidity control packs offer reliable options for preservation, allowing users to enjoy freshness and potency of their successful cannabis harvest for an extended period of time.
Enjoy Your Successful Cannabis Harvest!
Once you have the right tools and supplies, the ideal time to harvest, a plan for proper harvesting, and knowledge of how to cure and store your harvest, you are ready for a successful cannabis harvest. By following our cannabis harvest guide, you will be able to harvest and store your cannabis like the pros.
Congratulations – all your hard work and patience have paid off, and you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor! It’s time to toke up!