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Harvesting your home-grown cannabis
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In this blog item Perfect harvest momentResin glands and flowering hairsRule of thumbHow will you harvest?Dry-trimming vs. wet-trimmingAdvantages and disadvantages of dry cuttingAdvantages and disadvantages of wet cuttingWhere will you harvest?Harvest Party
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Harvesting your home-grown cannabis

When will you harvest? That's what every grower is concerned with. When the seed germinates you are already looking forward to the harvest. If you have taken good care of the plant during its life cycle, with all the attention and love, then it is a great moment when the time for harvesting arrives. The question is then, when will you harvest? But how you will do that and where is also something to think about. Let's get everything straight and look at all the techniques and options. 

Perfect harvest moment

Cannabis is very personal. Not only that, every consumer has their own favorite strain. But similarly, every enthusiast has their own special bond with the herb. Thus, the perfect time to harvest is also very personal. Some people like their weed harvested late, while others like it harvested early. And then it also makes a difference where the cannabis is used for or how it is consumed. So the perfect moment to harvest is a personal matter. There is however a moment when there are a lot of psychoactive cannabinoids present in the cannabis. These will peak and will then be converted into non-psychoactive cannabinoids. This could be called the perfect harvest moment. 

Resin glands and flowering hairs

The resin glands are all over the plant, the calyxes containing the most. These are the seed pouches or seed covers. A cannabis bud is in fact a cluster of seed coats, but because the plant has never been fertilized it will not produce seeds. The resin glands are also called trichomes, they contain cannabinoids, flavonoid trepenes, etc. Everything that makes this plant so popular. Looking through a microscope you will see trichomes that look like mushrooms. A stem with a ball. At first this ball is clear and almost transparent, later it will discolor and become milky in color. At an even later stage they will turn brown. We are still talking about the trichomes (resin glands) and not the flowering hairs which will also turn brown. The shape of the trichomes is almost impossible to see with the naked eye, let alone whether the globules are transparent or milky. It can then only be observed as a glistening layer covering the buds and sugar leaves. A glistening layer of sticky substance that is often mistaken for THC. Everyone has heard the statement "there's a lot of THC on that". But it is not on it, it is in it. The most potent cannabis is when the balls of trichomes are milky. 

Rule of thumb

When you are just starting out in growing it is all very exciting and you want the best for your little plant. There is a lot of information coming at you and you try everything. Things can go well or badly. You can learn from your mistakes, so take a good look at your plant. A useful rule of thumb when harvesting is the following: Stop feeding when the flower hairs have turned ⅓ brown and harvest the plant when the flower hairs have turned ⅔ brown. 

Tip: When you think your plant is ready to be harvested, put her in the dark for 48 hours and let her dry out. This will introduce stress into the plant, which will cause extra resin production. Wait one week, this will be the appropriate time for harvest.

How will you harvest?

With an indoor crop the moment of harvest can be planned fairly well along the way. With an outdoor crop this is often more difficult to estimate. You want to profit as much and as long as possible from the last rays of sunshine. But with the wet autumn, the chance of toprot is very great and harvesting must be done abruptly. Regularly plucking off the larger bracts during the last phase of flowering of outdoor plants promotes ventilation through the plant. But it also saves having to remove them at harvest time. To get nice buds all the leaves are cut away. You can do this when the plant is still fresh and wet, wet-trimming, or you can do this when the plant is dried, dry-trimming. Since we grow for ourselves it is not necessarily necessary to have buds with bag-appeal, it is about how it tastes and not how it looks. Although sometimes the eye needs something too. 

Dry-trimming vs. wet-trimming

Dry-trimming involves drying the plant complete with leaves and only then removing the leaves. The large leaves are already removed. The small sugar leaves envelop the top during drying. Wet cutting is immediately stripping the plant of its large bracts and the small sugar leaves. The buds can be left on the branches to dry or they can be placed on a drying net.

Tip: Do not throw away the small sugar leaves of the buds, called trim. They contain a lot of trichomes. You can use them to make edibles, hash (oil) or for your vaporizer.

Advantages and disadvantages of dry cutting

Advantages

  • Easy, you can quickly harvest a lot if needed.
  • The sugar leaves protect the buds during drying.
  • Better taste because of more even drying.

Disadvantages

  • Drying takes up much more space.
  • More difficult to determine which buds are already dry.
  • A dry bud is more difficult and will be less beautiful to cut.

Advantages and disadvantages of wet cutting

Advantages

  • A wet top is easier to cut and will look better.
  • The buds dry faster.
  • The fresh trim can be frozen, most of the terpenes will be retained and it is great for making hash.

Disadvantages

  • When drying on a drying net, you need to rotate the buds regularly to avoid flat pieces.
  • Fast drying has the disadvantage of requiring longer curing times.
  • More odor nuisance.

Where will you harvest?

In an outdoor crop a cannabis plant can grow to a considerable size. Plants of two meters high and wide are no exception. Suppose you have the permitted five plants in your back garden and you are going to harvest them all at once, your living room will be too small. Don't harvest all the plants at once anyway. First cut off the top buds from the branches and leave the smaller buds at the bottom for a while. Because these now get more light and because of the stress of the harvest, the smaller tops will become riper, more potent and larger. Harvesting such a successful outdoor crop usually takes several days. So do this in a space where you can work at ease. Pay attention to your posture and take regular breaks. For a quick harvest of outdoor plants it is best to take the branches off the trunk and remove the leaves that have no resin on them. And so hang the branch up to dry. 

Tip: Break a branch from the trunk to the bottom, then pull a piece of fiber with it. This acts as a string. Tie a few branches together and hang them on a clothesline or a clothes hanger to dry.

Indoors, the plants don't get as big. There, they are sized for the space they have. Keep in mind, especially when wet-cutting, that harvesting involves excessive odor. If possible, harvest and cut the cannabis plant in the grow room itself, so that the carbon filter can neutralize the smell. 

Harvest Party

Yes, since germination you have been looking forward to harvesting the beloved plant. So it should also be a party. Choose the perfect harvesting spot for you. Make sure you have a good pair of sharp and clean scissors. Dip the scissors regularly in a glass of water to prevent them from sticking. If this does happen, clean them with alcohol. Take several bins to separate leaves and branches. And a container where you store all the small leaves that contain trichomes, the trim, for later use. Use latex gloves during trimming so your hands are clean. The resin is difficult to remove from your hands, but using olive or sunflower oil makes it a lot easier. Make yourself comfortable with good music, a snack and a drink. If you know another grower you trust, help each other out. After all, many hands make light work and it's always nice to trade or share something with someone else.

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