Harvest time is the most exciting step of the process for pro and amateur growers. All the hard work has almost paid off and you can nearly taste that sweet bud. Your grow largely depends on when you decide to cut the cord. The best possible outcome depends on this, which is why it’s so important to do it at the right time. Here’s a little harvesting 101 guide to get you going.
One must understand what is happening on the chemical level of your plant in order to make the right decision. So here are some of the factors to take into consideration before harvesting.
- The recommended time of flowering by the breeder/seed company.
- The colour of the hair-like strands covering your bud (the stigma).
- Colour of the trichomes.
The info provided to you by the breeder or seed company should be taken with a pinch of salt. This is actually considered the least accurate measurement for harvesting.
One of the best means of measurement is the stigma. These hair-like structures will slowly change from white to orange as the plant grows.
Trichomes may be the most accurate factor to measure. It is because of these trichomes that the whole science of harvesting actually exists. So they’re definitely worth paying attention to.
How to Go About it
The most useful factors to keep an eye on are the stigmas and the trichomes. What’s the best way to track these? Trichomes themselves are tiny and appear as a fuzz to the human eye, so your best bet will be a handheld microscope of sorts. A Loupe (the magnifying glass used by jewellers) does a great job and allows you to get up close and personal.
This will allow you to monitor the plant’s transformation. As you watch your cannabis grow, your trichomes will change from clear to a hazy, and finally to an amber colour. These changes are when your plant will reach its peak potency levels before breaking down. This breaking down isn’t a bad thing though, as it indicates a presence of CBD. This is related to the effects of an indica.
What are you Going for: High THC or CBN?
If you want a potent, high THC yield – pay close attention to the stigma. If your stigma are changing to orange, it’s time to start watching the trichomes. Young trichomes are characterised by still being crystal clear. Remember to look at different areas of the plant – not the same bud regularly.
The trichomes will then begin changing to a misty/hazy white. This indicates maturity, and the trichomes aren’t going to produce any more THC! Trichomes across the plant will develop at their own pace and won’t all mature at the same time.
This means that some will start turning amber before they all turn milky white. With the appearance of these amber trichomes, CBN is starting to develop. At this point, your plant is at its maximum levels of THC and can be harvested.
It’s worth keeping in mind that not everyone has the same criteria for harvesting. Some may prefer an early harvest while others leave it late. As you go, you’ll learn what works for your tastes. Don’t forget you might need some decent tools to do this properly.