Harvest time is hear and it’s time to bring in the crops. How do you know when your plants are mature and at their peak? I have been growing my “Colorado 3 flowing plants per household maximum” babes since early spring and I am ready to reap what I have sown. But for many new growers the question at the end of the season is when to harvest.
On a natural light cycle plants start to bud when the day light hours get under 13 to 12 hours, which start in September. You indoor guys will have flowered your plants by changing lighting and dropping down to 12 hours of light to force flowering, and then moving to an 18 on 6 off cycle to grow them buds big!
By mid-October (6 weeks) plants that look to be near harvest should be flushed to improve smoothness and flavor. Strains that take longer you need to wait until you are 2 weeks out from harvest. In another couple of weeks (the end of October) and the coming of Halloween you have reached 8 weeks and your early ripening plants will be getting ready. Some strains can take another 10 to 30 days to mature, make sure to protect them from frost late in the season if outside. I grow in a greenhouse using natural light and real soil without fear of freezing. I’m a big fan of el natural and feel that full spectrum real light is the best thing for plant development and a full complement of cannabinoids.
To the big point, when do the plants look done? I use two methods, for one I look at the color of the pistils or hairs on my plants. When the hair are about half dark your plants are a couple of weeks away and should be flushed to get ready for harvest. Near 2 weeks and the hairs should be over half to ¾ dark and I look for a silvery to slightly golden hue or aura to the buds in sunlight. That’s the way the old hippies that taught me how to grow did it. Now is time to do my second check.
That silvery to lightly golden aura is due to Trichomes, and they are the key! Trichomes are the resin glands that produce all that good THC and other cannabinoids you want, and are the crystals that cover and glisten on all those yummy buds. What you need to really look at them is a good magnifying glass/jeweler’s loupe at the very least, or better yet an illuminated microscope x30power or better is what I recommend. I have a x45 power scope that does a good job.
What you are looking for is the head of the trichomes, it looks like a long crystal or nectar mushroom. The head are concentrated THC and other goodness. When they are immature they will be clear to slightly opaque. When they are white with some of them going yellow or amber the plant is at its height of THC production. At this point some people prefer a to get a little more yellowing of the trichomes, basically keep checking for the amount of heads turning amber. I like 20 to 30% amber heads to silver, what that does is the THC will be changing to CBN. That helps take the edge off of the THC, CBNs help with a giving you a more relaxed high and helps keep the paranoia effect down. It also gives you that narcotic couchy or “couchlock” pain relief effect, which is what I want and need for chronic pain.
To control the high you get from your plants you want to know what you like.
For a heady high you will want a little less than half the trichomes going white/silver so most will be clear, and the hairs should be only half dark maybe 50% green.
If you like it strong and a psychedelic high, that silver glow is what you want. The trichomes will almost all be silvery white some amber, maybe 10%. The hairs should be a little green to dark tips.
My favorite is old painless, the most relaxing and pain reliving aged buds. The hairs should be nearly all dark and 20 to 30% of the trichomes will be amber. And yes, my sh!t will couch your ass!
Have a great Halloween weekend folks.