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Tips for a better harvest

Added 14 June 2021

Introduction

Cannabis is probably one of the only plants in the world that are cultivated on such a massive scale, mostly just for recreational use. All growers alike are trying to get the maximum out of their plants and there are more than a few things to keep an eye on while growing, but also after harvesting there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you have a successful harvest every single time. In this article, we will be trying to cover as many tips and tricks as possible on this subject to help all of you out there getting those harvest numbers up!

Patience is key

The most important tip that I can give all of you is the fact that there is a lot of patience that goes into growing cannabis, harvesting it, curing it, and then ultimately consuming it in any way you feel like from smoking to an edible to vaping and more. There are still many growers that seem not to be able to achieve max yields, potency but also flavor and effect because they harvest too early or even too late, and also skip a few important steps sometimes.

Timing your harvest

It is crucial to know when exactly you should harvest your plants but this is a topic of debate depending on what grower you are talking to and what strain they are growing because there are some differences here and there! The handiest tool for this, and one that any grower should have, is a handheld microscope. This will help you determine the moment of harvesting because you will get a clear view of how your trichomes look like, the main indicator of how ripe your buds are for harvest! These are the stages of riping :

  1. Transparent/glass : in this stage, the trichomes are too small and have no potency, low THC-levels, the flower itself is still growing in size
    ( picture transparent trichomes/undeveloped flower )
  2. Misty/Cloudy : at this point, the levels of THC are rising, the flower is close to maximum size but still has to reach maximum potency 
  3. Milky/Matt white : it is at this moment most growers harvest and it is where levels of THC are at maximum or very close to, the flower is fully developed 
  4. Amber : when a trichome starts turning amber, the level of THC starts to drop and actually starts to break down into CBN.

In the following diary there are a few pictures to show you how it looks like when using a microscope to time the harvest :

Flushing

A very important step to take, especially when using extra supplements and boosters when growing, is the undeniable fact that you have to take a period of flushing your plants out before harvesting! You have to take in mind here that it takes a certain amount of time for the nutrients that are in the water that you give, to be absorbed by the plant and ultimately reach the spots where they are used. In general, you can say this takes about 1.5-2.5 weeks to happen, and therefore, to avoid these lasting in big amounts ( which has a negative effect on taste and effect ), growers take a few days or even up to two weeks of flushing. This is in fact just giving plain water without any nutrients. But then again, this is more and more a topic of debate since there is little hard evidence to back this, but I have to admit, I am a strong believer in flushing!

Strong plants are big buds

When it comes to growing, even for the non-expert among us who is maybe just thinking about their first grow, there are more than a handful of tips and tricks that you can apply every grow to boost your bud production and overall harvest numbers! These do not cost the world and will eventually save you more since your harvest will get bigger each time! We looked at a bunch of things to mention and think we came up with the most important ones of all to help you out!

Genetics

To grow strong plants, you need strong genetics! Free seeds or seeds from weed are something I will never advise at first. Not only is there a big risk of reproducing weed that will also be filled with seeds, but you also have no idea of the genetics of what you will grow. For the price of a seed pack ( 3 - 10€ per seed ), you will be sure of the background to be able to avoid certain issues in your grow because you have to keep this in mind : seedbanks will deliver quality genetics that are bred by teams of very experienced growers. Not only that, it gives you a better choice of finding what you like when it comes to taste and effect!

Growing pointers

We understand that it is sometimes hard to start manipulating the plant that you are taking so much care of, but, this can be a gamechanger for you once you have witnessed the effect of this! There is a whole arrange of techniques out there that will always give you a stronger and bigger plant than before because take the following in mind : outdoors plants are exposed to wind and other circumstances that cause them to strengthen themselves against this. When applied indoors or in the greenhouse or just outside we can see the effect quite well : A thicker stem, stronger branches and bigger buds! A few of these techniques are the following and can be applied on any grow :

  1. LST ( Low stress training ) : Probably the most used way of manipulation. This is done by bending and tying down to create a stronger plant structure. By far the cheapest way of manipulation with great results!
  2. HST ( High stress training ) : These are all actions where basically you "do damage" such as cutting of certain parts at certain moments, in order to create enough stress to make the plant produce better at the end and these are the main types : Pruning/defoliation, Topping, Fiming, Supercropping and Lollipopping
  3. SCROG and Sea Of Green : This is a technique that combines LST with net making to ensure the entire plant gets as much light as possible over its whole surface and aims to bring the lower branches up and the upper branches down, stretching them across an evenly distributed plane

Below is a video that is a great example of using a scrog method :

Harvest pointers

Once you have reached the moment of cutting down those ladies you took care of for so long, there are a few things to keep in the back of your head to not potentially still ruin the harvest. Below we mentioned a few pointers for during the harvest and after to make sure you get the best out of your buds!

Keeping it clean

A very important thing throughout the whole process of growing cannabis is keeping your grow space and your tools clean! Especially those who are growing in and outdoors need to be aware of the fact you can always carry something around that you do not want any near your plants so it is best to keep things separated or to get yourself some isopropyl alcohol and some wipes to clean your tools and the growing area, even using different clothing is not a bad idea to prevent issues. For when harvesting, clean everything thoroughly and sterilize the containers you are going to store everything in, preferably glass jars!

Dry or wet?

It is a big debate whether it is best to trim while the buds are wet or if they are dry. In my humble experience, this is something that goes in steps but that also depends on the circumstances! There are growers that basically dry almost the entire plant before deciding to trim it, but this is a bit hard when you have a 1kger in your backyard so others will trim it for a part and cut it into smaller bits and hang it to dry to then do the last trimming once it dried to a certain level. If there is time and space for it, usually the trimming will be done when most of it is dry and the following is my advice :

  • Make sure your humidity is below 50%
  • Check on it daily
  • With a clothing rack and hangers you can maximize your space or buy a vertical drying net
  • Have proper ventilation in the drying area to prevent mold from forming
  • Trimming is best done when the buds are near the point of snapping of the branches, you can start curing before doing the final trim but this depends from grower to grower and personal experience
  • Save your trimmings to make edibles and such

References

4 Tips for a Better Cannabis Harvest - Lee G. Lyzit ( 2021 )

10 Cannabis Harvesting and Post-Harvest Tip - Jessica Ryan ( 2020 )






Comments

guerilla
guerilla

Nice read. Thank you

I think there's a small typo.

3. SCROG/Sea of green.

Should this be 'Screen of green' instead?

As SOG is Sea of green..

Kushking420ni
Kushking420ni

@JoshuaVanMaele, you are wrong will scrog is one plant that fills the space 4 normally would and sea of green is 20 plants in a space normally meant for 6

Jeff78
Jeff78

@JoshuaVanMaele,
There's always one everyone knew wah you meant :face_with_rolling_eyes:

JoshuaVanMaele
JoshuaVanMaele

@guerilla,
Thank you.
In my humble opinion, there is little difference between SCROG and Sea Of Green and I typed it as synonyms but the text has been adapted slightly to avoid confusion.
Thank you for pointing this out!

DoctorGreen
DoctorGreen

Consigli buoni confermo!

MOSS_FIGURE
MOSS_FIGURE

Good