As a beginner grower learning how to grow marijuana, I had no specific tactics for the correct way to do harvest timing.
I guess I believed I’d magically know when the buds were ready for harvest.
Then I would just cut the branches and hang them up somewhere for a few days, pinching a bud frequently to test its dryness, or shoving one into my bong to see if it would light in my bowl.
Some other newbie marijuana growers said I didn’t even need to hang the buds to dry.
They claimed all I had to do was bake them in the oven or in a microwave.
Or just “smoke them green.” I could use an entire lighter 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 in an oven 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’ve got harvesting, drying and curing tips for you.
First of all, harvest timing is supremely important. Most growers harvest too early or too late.
They use 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, the breeders sometimes accurately tell you how many days your bloom phase should last.
This bloom phase harvest timing estimate is accurate to within a 4-5 days, but remember all crops are different.
For example, if you’re growing in deep water culture, your marijuana plants may have accelerated maturation.
If you wait too much longer than the breeder’s specified amount of bloom days, you’ll likely see that your diamond-clear resin glands that were like a sturdy forest of THC resin glands, are now beginning to look like a forest that got knocked down by a windstorm.
Like, I got some AK47 beans from Serious Seeds a very reliable and respected Dutch breeder.
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 5%.
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. You can learn more about incremental marijuana harvest timing in this 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.
The bottom line is, harvest timing is very important.
You can’t rely only on the bloom phase estimates that the breeder gives you, although those estimates are important.
You must examine your resin glands with a magnifying glass to see what percentage are no longer clear but have turned cloudy, and what percentage have fallen over.
As you gain experience with monitoring resin glands, your harvest timing will be perfect so you get the maximum potency from your buds.
I also advise you to look at another important topic: marijuana flushing.
You want to coordinate marijuana flushing with harvest timing.
Following the tactics you just learned, your buds will be at maximum freshness and potency when you harvest!