Harvesting, Manicuring and Curing guide
Im suprised theres not a sticky for this, but heres a guide on when to harvest, manicuring & curing
When To Harvest Marijuana
There is more to harvesting marijuana plants than just cutting them down. Before harvesting, the plants should be fed plain water only with no fertilizer (nutrients). This is to remove any fertilizer that has built up in the plants themselves, and the hydroponic media or soil they were grown in. After the plants are harvested, they have to be manicured and dried.
Even with a small indoor or outdoor garden (less than 20 plants) it can take a few hours to harvest, manicure, and hang the buds for drying. A large garden (more than 50 plants) may take a full days work, or longer. The plants must be manicured and hung to dry right after they are cut down, and this can be time consuming.
Make sure you leave yourself a steady 6 hours of time to work, the first time you harvest a small garden. Make sure you leave yourself a full day to work, the first time you harvest a large garden. You can base the time it will take to harvest future crops based on the amount of time it takes to harvest your first crop.
If you have grown a particular marijuana strain before, you will have a good idea when it will be ready to harvest. If you are a first time grower or if haven't grown a particular strain before, try to get your seeds from someone who can tell you not only what strain it is, but also the expected harvest time.
The reason why it is so important to know when the plants will be ready to harvest is because prior to harvest, you will need to remove the fertilizer contained in the plants. The plants themselves and the hydroponic media or soil the plants were grown in will store some of the nutrients that have been fed to them.
Marijuana plants need fertilizer so they can grow, mature, and produce THC. In order to remove fertilizer from plants, you feed them water with no nutrients for one or more feedings just before they are harvested. Tap water will have some chemicals present, it is best to used distilled water or water treated with reverse osmosis for this purpose.
When you know the approximate time the plants will be ready to harvest, you will be able to wait right before you are going to harvest and give them water with no nutrients. In this way they are allowed to grow for the maximum amount of time (large harvest) before being flushed.
The plants will use up the fertilizer they have stored in them and growth will not slow down, if done properly. If nutrients are not flushed from the marijuana plants, the resulting marijuana will taste bad and may also be hard to ignite.
If you are growing hydroponic marijuana, start clearing about 7 days before harvest. This can be done by changing the solution and using only distilled water or water treated with reverse osmosis (no nutrients). Some growers will change the water two or more times before harvest because the media may still hold nutrients after the first flush.
With soil you need to change to distilled water or water treated with reverse osmosis about 14 days before harvest. Avoid slow release fertilizers because they are hard to remove. Soil growers that have to use slow release fertilizer should employ regular nutrients for the last month.
With hydroponics, if you know that the marijuana strain will be ready to harvest 10 weeks after flowering is started, switch to water only feeding about 9 weeks after flowering. With soil, if you know that the marijuana strain will be ready to harvest in the middle of september, switch to water only feeding at about the beginning of september.
When growing in soil, you can stop watering the plants 2 days prior to harvest. This is not essential but it will speed the drying process. Do not stop the flow of water to hydroponic plants. If you do, they will wilt and begin to die within a few minutes to a few hours.
Harvesting Marijuana Plants
The optimal time to harvest marijuana plants is when THC production has reached its maximum. A rough guide as to when to harvest is to wait until 50%-80% of the white pistils (hairs) have turned dark (usually brown or red). But a better method of determining when to harvest is to wait until certain trichomes on the plant have matured.
Trichomes are small appendages that look like hairs, they are produced by marijuana and other plants. Some trichomes on marijuana plants develop a resin gland at the top. These trichomes are a rich source of THC, and monitoring them will allow you to best judge when the plants are ready for harvesting.
On marijuana plants, trichomes with resin glands form in the highest concentration on buds. They start out clear, turn a milky color, then turn amber (light brown). To best judge when to harvest, wait till about a week or two before the expected harvest time (just before you go to water only feeding) and look at the trichomes on the largest buds on each plant daily.
The best time to harvest a marijuana plant is when a majority of the trichomes have turned to a milky translucent color. See these images of what trichomes look like and what color they should be at harvest time. Not all the trichomes will mature at the exact same time, so harvest when most of the plants are ready. Or harvest each bud separately.
It is nearly impossible to see the trichomes with the human eye, so some type of magnification is needed. An inexpensive way to effectively view them is to use a pocket microscope rated at somewhere between 20x to 70x.
There is another type of trichome that can be found on marijuana plants, they are called cystolith trichomes. This type of trichome is mainly found on the underside of leaves. They look like small hairs with no resin gland at the top. Cystolith trichomes are not a source of THC.
When grown indoors, most marijuana strains will be ready to harvest 7-12 weeks after starting a flowering light cycle (12 hours on and 12 hours off per 24 hour period). Most mainly indica strains will be ready to harvest in 7-9 weeks. Mainly sativa strains can take up to 12 weeks to reach maturity.
You can harvest the plants by cutting them down at the base of the stem (with a pair of scissors or some other type of cutting tool), just above where the plant meets the hydroponic media or soil. This will allow you to harvest the entire plant at the same time. Alternatively, you can wait for each branch to mature and cut it off separately.
If you are a spiritual person or feel a connection to living beings, offer a prayer of gratitude (and thank the plants themselves), before cutting the plants down. You can do this silently, if you feel more comfortable doing so.
Once you have grown a strain, you will be able to better estimate the best time to start giving it distilled or reverse osmosis water to flush nutrients, and when to harvest future crops. Indoors you can be pretty sure that a strain will be ready in the same amount of time, if you provide the same conditions each time you grow it.
Indoor growing conditions will remain constant, unless you change something. When you grow outdoors, you can not assume that a particular strain will be ready in the exact same amount of time, each time you grow it. This is because you are not able to provide consistent conditions outdoors.
After the marijuana plants have been harvested, they must be manicured and dried. Manicuring and drying the marijuana harvest is a very important part in the cultivation process. You may want to smoke the marijuana you have grown without waiting, but this is not a good idea. See this for information about manicuring, drying, and curing marijuana.
Right after all the plants have been harvested, it is time to manicure them. Manicuring is simply cutting off the leaves that were growing from the buds. Cut off all the leaves surrounding the bud, so that just the bud remains.
Work over a glass table or some kind of smooth flat surface. This will make it easy to collect all the material that has been cut away from the buds. It is lower in THC than the buds, but rather than throw it away, you can use it to make hash oil.
When manicuring the buds, use a pair of scissors with small blades (to reach hard to get leaves) that is comfortable on your hands. If you have a small crop, you can handle the plants with you bare hands. With a large crop, wear powder free latex gloves.
The latex gloves will collect trichome resin in a similar manner to the way live marijuana plants are rubbed to make hashish. The latex gloves have to be powder free or the powder will get mixed into the resin.
Do not touch anything other than the plants once you have put the gloves on. If you have to do something, remove the gloves you are wearing and put them in a plastic bag, prior to doing whatever it is that has to be done.
When finished, put on a pair of new gloves. Material on the first pair can be collected later. When you are finished manicuring all the plants, remove the gloves and place them in a plastic bag (to catch resin that drops off).
Put the plastic bag with the gloves in a freezer for 2-3 hours. The trichome resin can easily be peeled from the frozen latex gloves and consumed the same way you would use hashish.
If absolutely necessary, you can wait to manicure the buds. However, the job will take more time if you wait. Manicuring right after the plants are harvested will also speed the drying process.
Instead smoking marijuana directly after it is harvested and manicured, it is best to dry and cure it. Some new growers might be in such a rush to try the marijuana that they don't want to dry the crop, or they might be tempted to put buds in a microwave oven to dry them out.
Drying Marijuana After Harvest
You probably don't want to smoke marijuana that is harsh and bad tasting. If you do not take time to dry the bud, you will not get the best possible smell and taste your crop is capable of producing.
Proper drying and curing will also ensure maximum potency of the marijuana you have grown. Marijuana is not potent just after harvest. Some of the THC is in a non-psychoactive acidic form. Drying marijuana the right way will convert the non-psychoactive acidic compounds into psychoactive THC.
The area where the drying is done should be dark. Light and high temperatures (higher than about 80 degrees) will cause THC to break down into less desirable chemicals, this will lower the potency of the finished product.
A good way to dry the crop is to hang the buds upside-down by the stem, from some string or wire. The drying marijuana must have some circulation blowing over it at all times. A gentle breeze that circulates over all the plants is necessary.
A fan or two will circulate air within the drying room. Fans will aid in drying the plants evenly, and reducing the chances of mold. If mold starts and is allowed to grow, it might ruin all of your crop. Mold looks like white fuzz and has an odor that is unpleasant.
You will have to keep the temperature and humidity within a certain range for optimal results. Conditions should remain constantly somewhere within the following ranges, temperature should be between 65-75 degrees F, relative humidity should be between 45%-55%.
At temperatures lower than 65 degrees, drying time will be lengthened. At temperatures higher than 75 degrees, the heat will cause the outer portion of the bud to dry quicker than the inner part, and the taste will suffer.
At humidity levels lower than 45%, the marijuana will dry too fast and the taste will suffer. At humidity levels higher than 55%, the marijuana will take a long time to dry, and it will be prone to mold.
Keep a hygrometer and a thermometer in the drying area, close to the plants. A hygrometer will allow you to keep an eye on the relative humidity level in the room and a thermometer will display the temperature. Some hygrometers have built in thermometers so you can measure the temperature and humidity together.
Depending on the time of year and your location, a heater or an air conditioner may be necessary to adjust the temperature. To control humidity, a dehumidifier can lower humidity and a humidifier can be used to raise humidity. There are warm mist humidifiers and cool mist humidifiers.
A warm mist humidifier will raise the temperature while a cool mist humidifier will not affect the temperature. There are also humidifiers that allow you to switch between warm or cool mist. If you are going to purchase a humidifier for this purpose, take your climate into consideration and buy an appropriate humidifier.
Warm mist models will actually heat the water and release warm humidity. Cool mist water isn't cooled, it just means that water is not heated. In most cases a cool mist will work best. To be safe you can get a humidifier that lets you switch between warm and cool mist.
It will take at least a week or two to dry the crop with temperatures between 65-75 degrees F and relative humidity between 45%-55%. You will know when the marijuana is dry if the stems snap or break (rather than fold) when they are bent. Try smoking a small bud (1/2 gram or less) in a joint to be sure it is dry enough.
At this time, small buds will be dry enough to smoke. But larger buds should be cured (slow dried) to ensure that the marijuana is as potent and tasty as possible. If necessary, you can set aside buds that are less than 1/2 gram for smoking, while larger buds cure.
The cure lasts a week or two. The aim of what you are doing is evenly finishing the slow dry process, so that mold will not grow when the buds are stored long term. Also, by the end of the cure, any remaining inactive THC will be converted to active THC (that increases potency).
To cure the crop, you will need one or more containers made out of glass or plastic. Some people say plastic can impart a taste to the marijuana. Personally, plastic containers that some types of roll your own tobacco are sold in, have no negative effect on the taste.
Containers that have a rubber seal work best, but any type of container with a tight fitting lid will do. One quart canning jars do a very good job if you are curing a few pounds or less. They have a rubber seal and hold 2 or more ounces of marijuana per one quart jar.
When curing quantities in excess of a few pounds, large (over 40 quarts) plastic storage boxes are recommended. They are not air tight, but will do the job when smaller air tight containers are not practical.
Gently place your marijuana in the containers (cut buds to size if the are too big to fit in the container) and put the top on. Store the containers in a dark area where the temperature is between 50-65 degrees and the humidity is between 40%-60%.
You will have to open the containers for a few minutes to allow moisture to escape by fanning with your hand. If any moisture builds up on the inside of the cap on your container, wipe it off. Do this preferably 2-6 times daily, at regular 4-12 hour intervals.
You should also re-arrange the buds by giving them a quarter-turn once a day. This will ensure that different parts of the buds are exposed to the air in the container. Keep up this routine for 7-10 days. When properly dried, marijuana will burn evenly when smoked in a joint (if stems are removed).
The taste will be as good as it can be, and the THC will have reached a point where it is ready to be ingested or stored. You can keep any marijuana that will be consumed within a few months (1 year maximum) in the same containers used for curing, without having to keep opening them to release moisture.
If the marijuana is to be stored for more than a few months, you can use a vacuum sealer (designed for storing food) to seal the marijuana in an airtight environment. If stored in a dark area that is between 40-55 degrees F, the marijuana in vacuum sealed plastic will remain potent for up to 5 years.
Dry marijuana can be stored in a frost-free freezer, but some of the THC on the outer part of the buds may be damaged when frozen. A refrigerator is in the right temperature range but they tend to be humid (unless you can control the humidity).
If stored in an area of high humidity for months or years, even vacuum sealed marijuana can eventually become as humid as the surrounding air. This will necessitate drying it again before smoking. But, unless mold develops, humidity itself will not degrade the THC or make the marijuana any less potent.
Light will degrade some of the THC, so dark containers can be used for storage. If you place the marijuana in a see through container, it will have to be located in a dark area that is not exposed to light or high temperatures.
Always make sure to properly dry your marijuana prior to storage, if you grow your own or if the stuff you have is very moist. And remember that to preserve marijuana potency at a maximum level, keep any exposure to air, heat, and light at a minimum.
Courtesy of http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs
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The Following User Says Thank You to mashedupmark For This Useful Post:
Brilliant thread really good information put down simple.
Great stuff, my knowledge has been expanded
Loved the tip about putting the rubber gloves in the freezer! Good tip!
The Following User Says Thank You to ViK For This Useful Post:
Good well laid out information Bealey
This should be a sticky
The Following User Says Thank You to M_C For This Useful Post:
yeah good info but i always thought that depending on the stone effect you want if you want a head high and uplifting buzz crop when milky but if you want the knockout couch lock buzz wait till amber any 1 wanna shed any light onto this ???
i know there is a hravest window which is about a week long in which is best time to crop the plants and then afterwards the thc starts to reduce in the plant
im more couchlock like fuk am i moving from here today stoner so what would you guys say is right??
Skotty, i think its more just trying to give you a guideline as if you give them a 50/50 you should get a nice mix of high, if you harvest too early or too late your high might be crap
Im also a couchlock high person, but i think it really depends on the strain, when you harvest is just a additional factor
The Following User Says Thank You to Naxx For This Useful Post:
great read there Naxx very informative. Sitcky?
Great info man! Congrats!
In the Leaf we Trust!
Great explaination on the topic!!
I was wondering if you havested a little early say when only 40% white pistils have turned dark will this give the weed more of head high and less of a couchlock effect? (I dont mind losing a bit of yield if the weed is more of head high).
i assume so mate, it doesnt affect yeild i dont think just the high of your weed.. id wait until 50/50
I have read this and found it pretty good,I have got a box about 2ft high and the same in length and about 8 inches wide,now,will that be ok? I have two tight strings going length ways to hang the buds,do I need to close the top of the box or leave it open for air? I don't have a small fan so may have to get one to blow inside the box gently. I will take a pic of the lemon stinkie,got some nice buds but only on the top though but it does smell great lol..
The Following User Says Thank You to up2nogood For This Useful Post:
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You need to be very carefull if you're going by pistal's as opposed to trichome colouration. I've had plants where the majority of pistals have browned but the trichomes were still clear, cut a plant with mostly clear trichomes and you can expect a para buzz.
Originally Posted by Chilled
The Black Rose I'm growing now has hardly any white pistals left, but when I check under the loupe the majority of the trichomes are clear, indicating she's not yet ready and needs longer to finish.
I agree monty, really should go by trics instead of pistals!
Originally Posted by Monty Bong
The Following User Says Thank You to Naxx For This Useful Post:
if you want a head high effect grow a sativa untill its ready, if you want couchlock n stoned effect grow an indica until its ready
Originally Posted by skotty
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baked biker (02-08-13),
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Ty Naxx. What an helpful info!
I'm just wondering.
In case I'd like to cure my buds in a plasting sealing bag.. U said it should be closed and sealed, but in another guide I've read he said to keep the bag opened for air circulation. Is that right to do?
Does it affect the curing purposes?
The Following User Says Thank You to Jane For This Useful Post:
When Drying Do not do it in a airtight container as the moisture cannot escape and mould can build up!
When curing it needs to be airtight, however you do need to open the container up every now and then to let it breath and exchange old air for new
Drying and curing are very diffrent things
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Naxx For This Useful Post:
So to get u straight, I can dry the buds in a opened (not airtight) cardboard box in a closed drawer (dark area) or dark room,
and cure them in either airtight closed/sealed jar or plastic sealing bag.. sealed plastic bag and sealed jar affect the same and give the same results?
And btw, drying (opened cardboard box) should take around 4-7 days
and curing (sealed jar/bag) shoul take around 2 weeks?
So I heard. is that true.?
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