Tips on Harvesting cannabis!!

Tips on Harvesting Cannabis: The year of sourdough starters and zoom workouts, many of us have also added “Cannabis Farmer” to our list of new hobbies. Going beyond houseplants, growing cannabis has been a productive outlet and welcomed respite from scrolling social media. Patiently watching and watering the powerful flower this summer was more exciting than many of the Netflix shows we’ve binged. Maybe we’ve even named them or talked to them as we’ve checked the leaves for bugs and buds for mold. A morning ritual, a work break, an after dinner chore, time with our cannabis plants has been something we’ve looked forward to. And now many of us are nearing the most important milestone of all. Harvest time!


Cannabis Harvesting Tips

When canvassing our Cannabis Club staff regarding harvest tips and tricks, we realized cultivating cannabis is very similar to baking bread; everyone has a different method. Arguably, harvesting is the hardest part of the process! Picking the perfect time to harvest is an art that separates the beginner from the master, and a variable that doesn’t have just one right answer. After multiple emails full of conflicting opinions, we did all agree on one thing  — if you purchased your clones from our Santa Rosa Dispensary, you’re about to harvest some of the best cannabis in Sonoma County. Keeping it simple and low stress, we put together these basics.


When to harvest?

General rule of thumb, your plant is ready to harvest with the pistils (those long hairs) turn amber and the trichomes (that glittery frost) are mostly milky. The pistils are easy to see, but the color of the trichomes are best viewed under a microscope or hand lens. Don’t break out your lab coat just yet — a smartphone magnifier app or simple lens from your local drugstore will do. 


Now what?

Start harvest day early, with a strong cup of coffee and a clean, sharp pair of trimming scissors. Cut the entire plant away from the root ball, branch by branch. Working from the outside in, remove all leaves that are not connected to buds. Going from big to small, trim away leaves without trichome frosting first, carefully cutting off leaves closest to the buds last. 


PRO TIP: This is called manicuring. Impress your friends with your dank buds AND your profesh lingo. 


Set up your Drying Room

Select a dark area of your home with open space and a good air flow to become your drying room for the next few weeks. If you’re getting fancy, you’ll want to keep the humidity range between 45-55% as the cannabis should dry out slowly and steadily. Hang strings or chains up (think multiple clotheslines) and hook, tie or pin  the cannabis upside down to dry. The duration depends on your strain, and could be anywhere from one week to 15 days. 


PRO TIP: Use clothes hangers to maximize space! Affix 3-4 branches on one hanger to fit more drying cannabis safely in a smaller space. 


PRO TIP: DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS HERE! Tempted to speed up the process with a stove, microwave or dehydrator? Don’t do it. You’ll compromise the scent and flavor and probably end up with a headache after smoking. You’ve come this far, what’s another few weeks? 


When is it ready?

Check your buds daily when drying. When the outside is no longer moist and the small stems snap rather than bend, you might be ready for the next step in the process. There’s another step? You betcha. 


Curing your cannabis

Curing begins when the buds are ready to be removed from the stem, a process called bucking While cutting off the flowers, be sure to leave a small piece of the stem to keep the nugget together. Place the flower in an airtight glass container to cure. Only fill the jar 75%, leaving room for the buds to move around. Maximizing terpene profiles, a good cure will take anywhere from two to three weeks. For the first 10 days or so, open the glass jar daily to burp your harvest and let out any extra moisture. After that week and a half, you can drop down to opening the jar a few times a week. 


Trim and Enjoy!

Once your buds are cured, they are ready for you to remove any extraneous dried leaves and enjoy! As you took the time to cure correctly, you’ve drastically reduced the risk of mold and bacteria and you should be able to safely store your harvest in a dark place for the next year or so without decreasing quality. A slow drying process makes for longtime fun!