Cannabis Harvesting Guide

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Those of us without a natural “green thumb” may shudder at the idea of growing and harvesting our own cannabis plants. Although tending to cannabis plants requires patience, it should ultimately be a rewarding process, yielding quality flower and saving money in the long run. Better still, harvesting cannabis isn’t all that complicated, in theory anyway. The most important factor is timing. Knowing when to harvest is key to reaping the benefits of a healthy, potent yield of cannabis. Our cannabis harvesting guide will cover the basic steps to harvesting your cannabis plants.

How will I know when to harvest cannabis plants?

Of course, the first step is to determine the best time to harvest cannabis plants. The best way to check your marijuana grow is to examine the stigma, or the hair-like strands that cover buds, and the trichomes, the resinous glands all over the plant. Pro tip: use a magnifying glass.

The best time to harvest cannabis is when the stigmas are curly and the trichomes are opaque, or a milky white color. It’s common for the larger colas on top of the plant to mature faster than those on the bottom due to the amount of sun or light exposure. Some growers might make the call to harvest some of the larger buds that are ready, while letting the unripe colas continue to mature (we’ll cover this in more detail later). As you’re examining the plants in preparation for harvest, look for impurities like fungus or pests and be sure to clip the damaged portions before harvesting.

Steps to Determine When to Harvest Cannabis:

  1. Check that the stigmas are starting to curl.
  2. Make sure trichomes are an opaque white color.
  3. Check for impurities.

Note: If you’re growing outdoors, be mindful of the weather — deep freezing temperatures or severe rain storms can wreak havoc on your plants and potentially ruin your harvest. You may need to make a snap judgment and harvest your plants slightly early to avoid damaging your yield, or find a way to cover your plants if you’re anticipating severe weather.

My plants are ready for harvest — now what?

To flush or not to flush cannabis plants?

To flush or not to flush? That is the question. We’ve enjoyed following the years-long cannabis flushing debate on Ultimately it’s your call. If you’ve been using a mineral-rich fertilizer and you’re going to flush your plants, start roughly two weeks before harvest. Essentially, water your plants regularly but avoid using any minerals or fertilizers. Your plant may begin yellowing which is normal, but halt if your bud’s leaves begin yellowing. Once this process is completed, you’re ready for harvest!

Any pro tips on how to harvest cannabis plants?

Now that you’ve completed all of the necessary steps, it’s time to reap what you’ve sowed! 

What You’ll Need to Harvest Cannabis:

  1. Scissors
  2. Pruners
  3. Trimming Tray
  4. Rubbing Alcohol

Many growers suggest tackling your harvest in sections. This method is less time consuming and more beneficial to your overall yield. If the colas on the top of your plant are ready to harvest, clip those first and allow the smaller colas to thrive a bit longer to reach peak maturity. Once you’ve collected your tools and created a game plan, you’ll begin the rest of the trimming and drying process.

Wet Trimming vs. Dry Trimming

Now it’s time to determine how you will trim your buds. There are typically two methods for trimming your cannabis plants — wet trimming and dry trimming.

Dry trimming is a common method among growers. Most cultivators choose to hang their buds upside down for about five to seven days. You’ll get the best results if you hang them in a very temperate, dark room with low humidity levels (roughly 45-55%). If you live in a hot, humid climate it may be best to store them in a cool room with a dehumidifier running.

While your cannabis plants are drying, THC converts from THCa to THC, the psychoactive compound we all know and love. After the drying process is complete, cut away all of the branches and larger leaves, then mindfully trim around your buds.

If you’d prefer wet trimming, there is no drying period to consider, so you can cut right to clipping. Note that this process can be a bit sticky, so keep rubbing alcohol around to clean off your trimmers in between buds.

Storing Your Cannabis Harvest

Cannabis harvesting can be tricky for beginners, but if you keep a close eye on your plants, mind the weather and follow these simple steps, it’s worth growing your own flower to be enjoyed in bongs, bowls, joints, edibles and more. The satisfaction of sitting back and enjoying a freshly packed bowl of your own flower is fantastic.

Preserve that experience and your efforts by storing your yield in the world’s best curing and storage container with absolutely no thinking required — the CVault. Made from 304 food-grade stainless steel construction, the CVault has a multiple-latch design and patented humidity pack holder to protect your trichomes. Combine the CVault with a Boveda pack, and you not only have a fool-proof curing container but a perfect place for post-curing storage as well.

CVaults are available in a variety of sizes to fit every need. Work smarter not harder by investing in a product durable that extends the shelf life of your harvest. Shop the CVault lineup today!

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