How To Marijuana Grow – The Harvest
Congratulations, you have made it through the growing stages of your marijuana plants lives. The next step is determining if your plants are ready to begin harvesting. Please be aware, the following steps ensure optimal taste and overall potency of your harvest.
How to Determine Your Plant is Ready for Harvest
The first step of determining if your plant is ready for harvest is the date in which the seeds states harvest time is. Now this may not be exactly correct. So watching for other signs that your plant is ready to be harvested is crucial. If you leave your plant too long, that sweet sweet psychoactive THC cannabinoid will degrade into CBN. CBN is one of the hundreds of Cannabinoids in marijuana. CBN increases the calming and analgesic effects CBD has on the body. But if you harvest it too early, the THC hasn’t had time to evolve and has less potency.
Nearly all growers gauge the readiness of their plants by the trichomes on them. Trichomes are the small, glossy structures on the plants flowers and leaves. You will need to grab a magnifying glass to inspect them, but what you are looking for is the trichomes to go through 3 visible stages. The first, the trichomes have a flat, mushroom resembling head. Harvesting at this stage will leave less potent buds. Second the trichomes to change from clear to a cloudy or milky colour. Harvesting at this stage will give the buds a good high, but not excessive. Lastly the trichomes will turn an amber-brown colour. Harvesting at this stage will give you potent-heavy hitting buds.
Harvesting your Marijuana – Flushing
Prior to harvesting your marijuana plants, you may want to consider flushing the plants with plain water. Whether you grow your plants in soil, or in a hydroponics medium, excess nutrients and salts build up in the plants system. Many growers flush their plants with plain water every 10 days as to prevent any buildup with the plants system. When a plant is fed every day, some of those nutrients will not get used. So they are reserved for a later time. Well if that nutrient/mineral is never used because more of the same nutrient is introduced. That excess nutrient and minerals builds up in the leaves, stem and other areas of the plant.
Nutrient lockout is a condition your plant may suffer from if the nutrient mix you are feeding your plant is not perfectly balanced for the needs of the plant. Because the nutrients work together, if there is too much of one nutrient, other nutrients and minerals are not able to be absorbed by the plant. If your plant is suffering from nutrient lockout, you will then need to flush the plant with plain water to rid it of all built up nutrients and minerals before you start feeding your plant again.
Reasons to Flush your Marijuana Plant
- You’ve switched nutrients. (ex. At the beginning of flowering)
- Your plant is showing signs of nutrient lockout
- Every 10-14 days to avoid nutrient lockout.
Flushing your marijuana throughout the growing stages helps avoid nutrient absorption issues. While flushing before harvest improves the quality of the buds. Although growers will argue the benefit of flushing your plants before harvesting. Most do flush their plants 3-7 days before harvest. This flushing effects the overall smoking experience of the buds. Leftover nutrients may leave a chemical taste and a harsh, burning smoke.
Flushing Marijuana in Soil
When flushing your marijuana in soil, you will need a lot of clean water to run through the system. If you want, rain water is an excellent choice to flush your plants with. Should you prefer, a flushing agent such as Clearex may be used. However it is not imperative.
The PH of your water should be about 6.2 and ran through the system until you have 80-90% runoff. Now the actual amount will vary depending on the dryness level of your plants. But you should be aiming for equal volumes of water to the volume of the plants container.
Flushing Marijuana in Hydroponics System
When flushing your marijuana in a hydroponics system, you will simply need to run clean water through the system during the last few days. The PH of your water should be approximately 5.8, but is PH is not crucial at this point because there is no nutrients to lock out.
Once flushing is complete in either the soil or hydroponics system. Your plants may encounter leaf yellowing as the plant experiences nutrient insufficiency. This is not a cause for concern, so don’t worry!
Cutting Your Marijuana
Now you are ready to cut your marijuana plant! While the plant is still standing, consider cutting off the large fan leaves before cutting branches or kolas. And if you wish, any of the smaller leaves. Leaving the smaller leaves on the plant throughout the cutting and drying process may actually affect the potency of your buds. The smaller leaves are said to protect the trichomes, provoking the buds to dry slowly. Ultimately affecting the potency, weight and flavour of the buds.
When cutting the marijuana plant it is imperative to hand the plant with care throughout the process. Handling the plant aggressively may result in trichomes falling off, which is something you do not want! Using a sharp pair of secateurs or Fiskars you will want to cut the plant into sections. Although it may be tempting to cut and hang every plant right away. It’s crucial to treat and hang each branch and kolas separately so that they do not touch. Your buds will be able to dry properly this way.
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