As we are approaching the prime season to harvest cannabis, we’re talking about cannabis harvesting tips and best practices. Requiring more than chopping the plant and trimming off the flower, cannabis harvesting has foundational techniques to ensure you get the most out of your grow — when and how to harvest buds and avoid poorly trimmed weed.
While there are different variables like outdoor vs indoor, wet vs dry trimming and even methods about specific strains, there is still a common ground of rules that all cannabis abides by when harvesting correctly. Here are four tips to identify when to harvest cannabis, how to harvest, the tools needed and how to best trim your bud.
When to Harvest Buds
Get an idea of your crop’s readiness before harvesting. Take a look at the tell-tale signs like trichome and stigma color. Stigma are the little hairy strands scattered around a bud that start off white and become orange and curly as the plant ripens. Trichomes are the tiny, glittery resin glands that turn from translucent to an opaque milky-white when ready. These are small pieces of the bud and can be easily missed. Don’t be afraid to examine with a magnifying glass. Look at these features on various buds at different heights of the plant. Once these colors have shifted and the stigmas have coiled, you’ll know your bud is about ready to harvest.
Identifying peak maturity has a lot to do with timing as well. One much-debated rule of thumb is to flush your cannabis plants before harvesting. Essentially, only give them water to clear out any added nutrients, and start cutting off the large fan leaves. This is said to also help with the element of patience, as OG growers have a saying: “If you think your buds are ready, wait a week.” Of course, every grower has different preferences on flushing, when to harvest buds and more, but there is a universal sweet spot after ripening and before over-maturation.
How to Harvest Buds
The main event. The first step in how to harvest buds is determining whether you want to dry trim or wet trim. Dry trimming involves hanging the chopped plants to dry for several days before going in for the big trim, while wet trimming goes straight into trimming the bud right after the plant is cut.
Cannabis Harvesting Tips and Tools
Prep your equipment beforehand to ensure that all handling of the bud is sanitary. You want to prevent any residue like lint or pet dander from getting on the bud. Clean the work surfaces and the storage containers for the trimmed bud. Get a spare bin for branches, stems and other plant debris to separate from the bud. Likewise, make sure your bins, jars or bags are properly sealed and easy to handle. This will only keep your harvesting process smooth and help maintain the quality of the bud.
Use proper tools like sharpened shears or small scissors, and isopropyl alcohol 70% to clean them. Arguably the most important tool is sanitary plastic gloves throughout the entire process. Trimming is always sticky and can get messy quickly, so be sure to wear gloves whenever handling the plant.
Avoid Poorly Trimmed Weed
You have successfully harvested your cannabis plant, prepped your trimming station and are ready to get to work. First, cut down the plant by its branches, chopping off any big fan leaves.
Next, divide your branches by the size of the buds on them. From here you’ll decide if you want to go the dry trim route and hang them upside down for a few days, or if you’d like to tackle via wet trimming. Poorly trimmed weed doesn’t come down to the method per se, more often it comes down to proper management of the bud.
If you are dry trimming, ensure the plant is in a dark well-ventilated space. If wet trimming, start by cutting the branches off so the plant is easier to handle and snip the buds off. For both methods, discard all spare branches, seeds, fan leaves, stems or insects found on the bud into your handy spare container, and place your perfectly primed flower into your cleaned curing or storage container of choice.
Enjoying Your Harvest
Take pride in your bounty with these cannabis harvesting tips on when and how to harvest buds. Anyone can harvest cannabis. Here’s to a beautiful crop this season.