How To Harvest

Posted by Mike Warren on

How To Harvest

Ahh we’ve made it to harvest! The moment we have all been waiting for.... Chop Day!

All that hard work, and dedication has paid off. You have proudly, grown your own beautiful, sweet, sticky cannabis plant, nurturing it from seed or seedling, and it has now grown into a fully matured cannabis plant. So, you are ready to chop.... Or are you?

Let’s talk about it!
So how do we determine when to harvest our cannabis plants?


There are numerous indicators that will help us determine when we are ready to harvest. Every plant and strain is different and unique so the signs can vary, but let’s go over a few of the general ones that you can look for.

Leaves will begin to yellow, curl, get crispy, and some may even fall off.

Buds will be bulky, developed, and will no longer appear to be growing larger.

Branches will be heavy and hang from the swelling buds that reside there.


Some will go based off time, but Time is not the best indicator, because this will vary depending on the strain, your location, growing conditions, and the type of plant. For example, sativa cannabis plants typically have a longer flowering period and later finish than indica strains do.

The most reliable way to determine when your plant is ready for harvest is paying attention to the cannabis trichomes.

What are trichomes? Trichomes are the shiny, glistening crystals that looks like a sugar storm just rained down all over our cannabis flowers. They play an important role in the plants natural defense mechanisms and contain the thing we’re all after here – cannabinoids. Trichomes are the best way to determine the stage and condition of your cannabis plant. More specifically pay attention to trichome color.

The best way to do this is with a jeweler’s loupe, magnifying glass, or you can even use your smartphone depending on how good your camera is. There are phone attachments as well for an even closer look.      


Throughout the growing cycle, the trichomes will change from clear to milky and cloudy, and eventually to amber. When the trichomes are clear the plant is still immature, and THC is less developed. Harvesting your plant at this stage could result in a more speedy, racy, and less comfortable and smooth experience. When trichomes become fully cloudy that is when we want to harvest our cannabis plant or plants.

Now if you let your cannabis plant grow too long and the trichomes turn full amber, the result is more of a lethargic and heavy body high feeling. Or

better known as the “Couch Lock” feeling. Everyone is different, you get to decide what you are after!

When in doubt, harvest cannabis when the plants trichomes are primarily cloudy and a little amber, rather than a mixture of clear and cloudy. More growers have the regret of harvesting their plants too early as opposed to too late.

Now for Flushing your plant! many home growers and most commercial growers use chemical fertilizers and pesticides that get absorbed into the plants vascular system, and into the buds. Those plants will require a “flushing” period. This is where the plants root ball and soil is repeatedly flushed with water for about two weeks prior to harvesting, to help rid the plant of built-up chemicals and salts. If not flushed, the bud will burn really harsh and tastes unpleasant. Now if your someone who is organically growing this doesn’t pertain to you. *

Once we have determined that our cannabis plant is ready for harvest, and we have flushed, now it’s time for the actual chop! This can be done in a couple different ways. Many growers will chop down the entire plant at once, and some will take sections. I myself chop the entire plant and hang upside down in my grow tent and I have absolutely no issue. I am also using a 4x8 tent setup and have plenty of room to do that with keeping a solid spread between each of my plants. If your someone who is working with limited space, you might consider taking your plant in sections. This can be a great way too for a couple different reasons.

One. being sometimes your buds on your upper branches might become ripe and ready for harvest faster. Therefore, you may choose to cut
main stalk about halfway up – in order to remove the top portion of the plant only – or cut off individual upper branches first. This will provide more time and sun to reach the lower flowers and allow them to fatten up for

another week or so. Two...Taking the plant in sections also spaces out the timing, effort, and room required for drying and trimming too. This helps make the next steps a bit more manageable, especially if we are harvesting several large plants.

Cannabis plants are usually hung upside down to dry. As cannabis dries, THC converts from a non-psychoactive state to one that is psychoactive. This part of the process should not be rushed! THC slightly degrades with the drying process, and buds that are dried too quickly will lose a lot more of that THC than those that are dried more slowly, so fight that urge to want to hurry up the process, I promise you it will be worth it. Now everyone has their own time frames on how long they dry for, but the ideal range is between 10-14 days. This allows the process of breaking down all chlorophyl present. Not giving enough time for the drying process will negatively affect the taste and quality of your cannabis.


Let’s go over a few benefits of properly drying your cannabis.

The plant breaks down chlorophyll and sugars and gets rid of them, dramatically improving the buds’ taste and smoothness.

Drying removes that nasty smell of hay and freshly cut grass, which is common to newly harvested cannabis, and it replaces it with the unique smell of your cannabis strain.

It also brings out those unique flavors of each strain.
Reduces the harshness in buds.
Reduces the chance of bacteria or mold growing on your buds.

Also, you are going to want to dry your cannabis in total darkness to remove the chlorophyl. The plant still strives to live even after being cut, so

drying in total darkness will break down the chlorophyll into sugars and lose them in the drying process. Light and heat break down THC. Hanging your plants in the dark preserves THC enabling it to be fully activated, which results in potent buds.

Temperature and Ventilation

After harvesting you are going to want to hang and dry your cannabis in a well-ventilated area, with ideal temperature and humidity ranges.

Ventilating your drying room will prevent the development of fungi. Grow Tent setups are ideal for this and help you to achieve these ideal conditions.

Ideal temperature for drying your cannabis is between 65- 75 degrees. 70 Degrees I find is the sweet spot.

50-60% Humidity is the ideal range for drying your cannabis.

Also, you are going to want to keep the air inside your grow room or grow tent constantly moving. Fans are your friend for that. I use two Hurricane fans, diagonal from one another, on Each side of my grow tent, positioned below my hanging plants. I create a cross breeze under my hanging plants, that keeps any stagnant air moving, and keeps air circulating at all times. You want the fans blowing under your plants, and not at your plants. Never directly point fans at your plants as this will cause your buds to dry too quickly. Good air flow is very important!

Now, we sit back, we give it 10-14 days and then we should be ready for the trim and cure process!! Stay tuned!!

Pay attention to the last miles of your growing journey, the final steps are the most crucial, and make all the difference in the outcome!!

As always, Happy Growing Gromies!

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