When to harvest marijuana plants?
The harvest of marijuana plants is one of the most expected moments for any grower, who virtually enjoy the fruits of their labor after several weeks of hard work and impatience.
The big question for the vast majority of growers at late flowering is: When to harvest my plants? This question can have several answers, depending on the growing conditions and our personal needs.
We should consider the following points when deciding whether a plant is ready to be harvested or not:
When we purchase a pack of seeds, it usually comes with an approximate harvest date, which is the first reference that we must keep in mind. However, this recommendation, while being important, is merely indicative, since the flowering period and therefore the harvest date can depend on several factors such as latitude when growing outdoors, phenotypes or growing conditions/systems - especially in indoor gardens.
One of the most visible, yet potentially ambiguous, indications of flower maturity can be the colour of the pistils. These "hairs" will tend to turn brown as the buds ripen, so when we see that around half of them are orange/brown, it means that harvest time could be close. As a loose, general rule, if we harvest the plants at this moment, their effect will be more psychoactive, while if we wait and harvest them when all the pistils are brown their effect will be more narcotic.
However, this method can be misleading and isn't the most reliable way to check maturity. This is because the pistils can turn brown for any number of unrelated reasons, for example, rain, drought periods or strong, dry wind, as well as the foliar application of certain phytosanitary products or after pollination, all of which can alter the appearance of the pistils well ahead of harvest time. Conversely, some varieties will continue to produce white pistils even though all the trichomes are amber. For this reason, we always recommend using a hand lens to accurately check trichome maturity where possible, as explained below. A close look at the trichomes will always give you a true idea of the kind of effect you'll get that the state of the pistils cannot.
3.-Monitoring bud trichomes
For this system, we need a magnifying glass of at least 10x, although the ideal would be 50x. With this tool, we will be able to observe the development of the trichomes, which is the best way to know exactly when to harvest our plants. When the bulbous heads of the capitate stalked trichomes appear milky - and about 20-30% of them are amber - it is the perfect time for harvesting our buds.
As we already mentioned, this is the best method to determine the optimum point for harvesting our cannabis plants, although combining all methods is ideal.
Once the harvesting date has been set, we will choose the moment of the day with the lowest relative humidity and proceed to cut the plant. We can cut the entire plant or the branches - what suits us best - and then we will trim the buds, removing the largest leaves and those without trichomes. Place the buds in a cool, dark, ventilated area to start the drying process.