In cannabis growing, the harvest is the time when growers are most excited about. This is the time of reaping the fruit of your labor in growing pot.
One of the best indicators that buds are ready to harvest is when they change their color, from white to reddish brown or orange.
In growing cannabis, do the harvest earlier to obtain a cerebral high effect while smoking the marijuana buds. If a body buzz is preferred, then harvest the buds late so THC can be lowered while increasing the CBD level. The best thing to do for you to know that it is about time to harvest is to examine closely the marijuana buds.
The signs that marijuana plants are ready for harvest depend on the methods used in identifying the harvest time.
The Pistil Method
When using this method, you can observe closely the pistils, or the hairs of the plant. If most of the pistils are still white while sticking out straight, it means that it is not yet the right time for harvesting, and you still have to wait for several months before the actual harvest time.
Your plants are ready for harvesting when more than half of the pistils have already darkened. In order to achieve the highest THC levels, you can harvest when you see 60-70% of the hairs have already darkened. On the other hand, if you harvest when 70-90% of the pistils have already darkened, some of the THC have turned into another compound, the CBN, thus making your plant effective in offering a calming and anti-anxiety effect.
In some weed strains, you may notice some new pistils appearing at a time when you think that the harvest time is near. Keep in mind that this is just normal. However, if it happens over three times, then you have to decide whether to chop it off or not. There are also other strains which are harder to tell if they are already good for harvest.
As a reminder, different stains may look differently right before the harvest. In fact, there are strains that still have white pistils even when they are all ready for harvest. Therefore, you can look into the details of your strain, or asking good information for a more experienced grower. You may also want to check for pictures online in order to know how your plants actually look like when it is ready for harvest.
As most growers agree on, this method is more accurate compared to the first one which only involves looking at the plants’ pistils. Under the trichome method, what you are looking at is the glandular stalked trichomes that are seen on the buds using a magnifying glass. These trichomes look like mushrooms growing on the plants.
Others call these trichomes as resin glands. They are the crystal looking stuff that accumulates on the leaves and buds, and the ones responsible for making the plant sticky. Since the trichomes are generally what contributes to the potency of the bud, being able to exactly tell when they have already reached the peak levels of THC can help you in selecting the right time for harvest.
For this, you can use a jeweler’s loupes in order to look at the trichomes. Make sure that you do not harvest if the trichomes are still clear. This means that they have not yet achieved enough potency. As such, harvesting at that point may even hurt the outcome of your yields.
If you notice that the trichomes are cloudy or half clear, this means that the buds are still working in growing in size, and the odor of the strain has not yet completely developed. Those buds that are harvested during this point may produce a ‘speedy’ or more energetic high.
If most of the trichomes, about 50-70% of the pistils have darkened, it means that it has the highest levels of THC, thus offering the most intense high and amazing euphoric and pain-relieving effects. On the other hand, if the trichomes have become cloudy, turning amber, it means that there is now slightly less THC, since most of the pistils have converted to more CBN, giving any user the feeling of being relaxed. It also offers a narcotic high which can reduce your anxiety as you have your couchlock session.
Summary of the Signs
Regardless of the methods that you decide to use in determining whether or not your marijuana plants are now ready for harvest, there are common signs that you can look out for. Here are some of them:
– When the white pistils (or hairs) are still sticking straight, and at the same time the trichomes are still clear and translucent, it is a sign that the marijuana plant is still very young, and not yet ready for harvest time. By choosing to harvest early at this point, there is a risk that you will only see a low yield, as well as non-potent harvests.
– You can tell when the harvest is almost ready when you see your plant has almost stopped growing new pistils or white hairs. Also, you will notice that at least 40% (at this point) of these white hairs have already curled and darkened in.
– If you want to use your plants for medicinal purposes, you would want to make sure that you harvest them when they already have the highest levels of THC. This is when several, or most of the trichomes have now turned into a milky white or cloudy color (but you have to use a magnifier for this). Milky colored trichomes have the highest THC levels, and are now ready for harvesting. These plants can contribute better to more psychoactive and euphoric effects. If 50-70% of the pistils have already darkened, then this is the best time to harvest your plants to enjoy their high levels of THC.
– There are some haze and sativa strains which have trichomes which do not really turn milky white or amber. If they have mostly turned white and no longer progressing even further, it may now be time to harvest them. In order to be guided accordingly, it is best to research about the particular strain that you are growing. After all, they might be among this group of strains that do not usually exhibit the usual signs that the plants are now ready for harvest.
– It should be noted that the most sedating our couchlock sensation occurs towards the end of the harvest window. This is when the plant trichomes have already turned to a darker color, usually gold and amber. The best outcomes for having amber colored trichomes are those of the indica strains. The yellow or amber trichomes contribute well to a body high.
– Along the way, some of the THC is converted to another compound, the less psychoactive CBN. This is the compound responsible for providing anti-anxiety and calming effects. In some of the strains, the trichomes can even turn purple or red. Some expert growers recommend harvesting when about 20% of the trichomes have already turned amber. When this happens, 70-90% of the plants pistils have already darkened. Harvesting at a later time will enhance the sedating effects, but reduces the psychoactive effects.
– When the trichomes start looking withered or grey, this is a sign that the harvest window has already passed. The buds can give a sleepy feeling without psychoactive effects. Generally, it takes about 4 weeks or more from the start of the harvest window in order for this to happen. It will be a whole lot easier to harvest earlier than later.
Recommendations for Harvesting the Best Yields at the Right Time
Before even starting to grow your marijuana plants, it is very important to understand why you are growing your plants. This is particularly true if the plants are grown for medicinal purposes.
For example, if you are interested in experiencing an ‘in-your-head’ impact, you can harvest the buds earlier. This is usually when about 40% of the hairs have curled and darkened and over half of the trichomes are part milky, part clear, or mostly milky or cloudy.
In order to produce marijuana buds that can give the strongest psychoactive effects, the plants should be harvested at a time when they have the highest levels of THC. This is when almost all of the trichomes have turned milky or cloudy.
In order to come up with plants that are anti-anxiety and relaxing, you may have to wait until you see that some of the cloudy/milky trichomes have already turned to a darker amber color. The darker the trichomes, the more relaxing the effects are. At the same time, they are less psychoactive.
Magnify the Cannabis Buds
If a body buzz is preferred, then harvest the buds late so THC can be lowered while increasing the CBD level. The best thing to do for you to know that it is about time to harvest is to examine closely the buds.
Female marijuana plants produce white hairs called pistils which turn reddish brown or orange when ripened. The female characteristics of cannabis will start to show up during the pre-floral phase but males mature faster than the females. Traits of males are becoming more evident earlier by forming clusters of small balls.
These small balls are identifiable through the use of a magnifying glass. With your two naked eyes, the male flowers can be mistaken as pistils. Taking a closer look through a magnifier, you should see bunches of small balls if you are growing marijuana males and small white hairs if you are growing weed females.
Harvest Time to Obtain the Most Potent Marijuana Buds
Depending on the kind of strain you are cultivating, buds can already be harvested 6 to 12 weeks after the flowering phase has started. In growing cannabis, the indica types are expected to flower earlier than most sativa types. You will know that buds are mature when white hairs start to turn brown, red or orange. Harvest the buds early if you want more potent buds.
The THC content of marijuana is higher when harvested early while late harvest lowers the THC level. It’s a good time to start harvesting when the young flowers start to turn reddish brown. The time of bud harvest will actually depend on your preference. If you are after buds that are highly potent, harvesting should be done earlier.
Harvest Time for the Purpose of Selling
Those who are growing cannabis for the purpose of selling are harvesting buds during the late flowering time. The weight of the buds will increase when buds are allowed to over-ripen. Extra resin is produced when you wait long before harvesting. Late harvest will increase the bud weight but will reduce potency.
If you would like to learn more about how to grow weed or harvest weed the right way then you might want to get yourself a growing marijuana book. There are a lot of marijuana growing guides on the internet but they are not as organized as the growing elite marijuana ebook that you can buy online.