How to Grow Marijuana:
Harvest Timing For Perfect Marijuana Buds

Posted by Gary Anderson | 10700 views
By Gary Anderson


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Purple giant marijuana BUDS

Just by looking at these dank plants, would we know when they’re ready for harvest?
(Click to enlarge)

" Let’s find out the most reliable way to know when your buds are ready to harvest. "

As a beginner grower learning how to grow marijuana, it never occurred to me that harvesting my buds at the end of bloom phase wasn’t going to be like picking an apple off a tree and eating it.

Seriously—I had so little education about how to grow marijuana that I had a vague idea that I would magically know when the magic moment for harvesting had arrived.

Then I would just cut the branches and hang them up somewhere for a few days, pinching a bud frequently to test it and see if it would light in my bowl.

That was the extent of my marijuana harvesting, drying, and curing knowledge!

I listened to friends who said that I didn’t even need to hang the buds to dry. All I had to do was bake them in the oven or in a microwave.

Or just “smoke them green.” I could use half of my butane trying to dry and light a wet bud. Eventually it would dry out, they said, and I’d get a hit.

As you can imagine, I wasted a lot of buds at first. No way do you want to put buds in an oven or microwave, or try to smoke them when they’re green and wet.

Take it from me: you ruin buds when you bake them or microwave them, no matter what temperature or settings you use.

And there’s no good in trying to light a wet bud.

So now after a few years of experience and educating myself about how to grow marijuana, I have some harvesting, drying and curing tips for you. I confess, some of them I got from other articles here on But not all of them!

First of all, harvest timing is supremely important. Most growers harvest too early or too late. They have no scientific method for knowing when to harvest.

The scientific method, the only way to really know when your buds are at peak THC, is to look at them with a strong magnifier and see if the resin glands and stalks are full, clear, and tall, or if they are headless, dropping, drooping, and with clouded resins.

If you’re growing marijuana bred by professional breeders, they’ll accurately tell you how many days your bloom phase should last. This bloom phase estimate is accurate to within a couple of days, unless you’ve had crop problems that slow down your plants’ growth and maturation.

If you wait too much longer than the breeder’s specified amount of bloom days, you’ll likely see that your diamond-like resin glands that were like a sturdy forest of THC resin glands, are now looking like a forest that got knocked down by a windstorm.

Like, I got some AK47 from Serious Seeds, a very reliable and respected Dutch breeder. If you’re in Amsterdam, look for them. They’re good people, their strains are killer, and their seeds are among the most reliable in the industry. They told me 53-63 days for bloom phase.

So on the 53rd day, my buds were full, a few of the hairs were turning a little red, the resin glands were erect with just a few droopers, maybe 10%.

I took a partial harvest and started them drying. On the 57th and 63rd day, I did the same thing. Then I let the remaining buds go until taking the plants down on the 68th day.

I kept the buds labeled and separated and made sure that they all dried and cured to maximum finishing before I smoked any of it.

Then I didn’t get high for three days, and I started my harvest test by taking one hit of the 53rd-day buds and seeing how it stoned me. The next day I took one hit of the 57th-day buds. Next day I took a hit of the 63rd day buds, and the next day the 68th. Just one hit, no more. And I paid extra close attention to the high.

I preferred the 68-day buds. The high was more immediate and almost too strong (which is what AK is known for). There’s a reason they call AK47 the “one-hit wonder.”

I was able to really focus on the different potency and high of each day’s harvest. This is called the “incremental harvest” method, as I found out from a Big Buds article. I didn’t exactly follow all the article’s advice. Like, I forgot to flush my plants before I harvested. That was pretty dumb, and I could taste it.

Ok, growers, so I thought I’d be able to write one article and cover harvest timing, drying and curing all in one go. I find out right now that that’s impossible. I need another article or two.

So come back next week as we talk about how to grow marijuana, and I will give you some harvesting, drying and curing tips that’ll make all your hard marijuana growing work pay off more!

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Article by Gary Anderson, on Nov. 5th 2012

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