Harvest time is the pinnacle of every grower's efforts. Cultivating cannabis is a fantastic hobby, but we would be lying if we said that we do it for the love of botanology. Like it or not, it's all about that sweet, sweet bud! However, things are a bit more complicated than just harvesting weed and smoking it immediately after.
In fact, harvesting is just the first step into the final -and most challenging- part of growing: drying and curing your weed correctly. Read on to learn more about why these two steps are necessary for a fantastic cannabis experience and how you can do them correctly.
Several classic changes signal that your cannabis plants are ready to harvest, such as:
After you notice these changes, you will have a window of about two weeks to harvest your buds for peak cannabinoid content.
To maximize potency and flavor, cannabis buds need to be dried and cured correctly. Drying and curing breaks down the chlorophyll in the plants, which eliminates the "freshly cut grass" smell of recently harvested cannabis. Properly drying and curing cannabis also maximizes the potency of cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Mold remains one of the biggest enemies of a cannabis grower. Properly drying and curing cannabis buds reduces the chances of mold or bacteria contamination, which can ruin your whole harvest.
Some items that you will need to harvest, dry and cure your buds include:
A temperature of around 70F (21C) and approximately 50 percent humidity provides ideal drying conditions for cannabis. Cultivators usually either hang buds upside down to dry or use a drying rack.
Drying buds upside down involves a few simple steps:
Racks are perfect for drying cannabis in humid climates. Using drying racks under normal or arid conditions can lead to over-drying your buds. Overdried buds won't be able to go through a proper curing cycle and will have a harsh flavor.
You can buy racks explicitly made for drying herbs from growing supply stores. Some growers take down a few screens from the windows of their home for this purpose. You will only need to use them for about a week. You can also quickly fabricate DIY drying racks by inserting pieces of screen mesh into embroidery hoops. Use your imagination with items that you find around the house. You would be surprised at what you can come up with when you're motivated to get your buds ready to enjoy.
Dry your buds on racks in just a few simple steps:
Curing cannabis works best around the same temperature for drying, but buds can tolerate a slightly higher humidity level for this step in the process. The best conditions are around 60 percent humidity.
Once your cannabis cures, your buds can be manicured to your liking. Excess leaf in your buds will make them taste harsh. On the other hand, too much handling can rub off resin and trichomes.
Like any maiden voyage, harvesting, drying and curing might be a bit nerve-wracking if you're doing it for the first time. Gardening blends both science and art. After a few harvests, you will be able to consistently dry and cure potent, tasty buds that will make you proud.