Harvest Season

Soft Secrets
11 Oct 2011

As fall arrives the nights get longer, the air gets colder, and perhaps best of all, outdoor grows ripen in the US.


As fall arrives the nights get longer, the air gets colder, and perhaps best of all, outdoor grows ripen in the US.

As fall arrives the nights get longer, the air gets colder, and perhaps best of all, outdoor grows ripen in the US. After the buds have swelled and tightened, most of the stigmas have changed color and the ratio of cloudy amber trichomes is deemed suitable, harvest begins.

Weed must be cut and dried before use, so while the exact details vary from gardener to gardener, harvest is usually some variation of the following: 1) The plants are cut down. Depending on preference and size of the plant, cut the branches into manageable-sized pieces. 2) Any and all remaining fan leaves are removed. It isn't unusual for some or all of the fan leaves to have withered by harvest. 3) Any small leaves on the floral clusters (buds) are trimmed or removed. Take care to completely remove any brown or dead leaves, as these will harm the flavor of the finished product. 4) The buds are allowed to dry until just dry to the touch. A cool, dark location with air circulation is ideal. Clothing hangers made to hold several pairs of slacks or a clothesline are both good choices from which to hang drying Cannabis. The weed will dry from the outside in, with the edges of the buds drying first. There should still be moisture left in the center of the buds, so it should not be completely dried through. 5) The buds are placed into glass jars, which are opened and closed as needed to control moisture content until ready for storage. Since only the outermost portion of the bud was dried, moisture from the inside of the bud will wick out to moisten the dried material. When the outside of the bud feels moist, or if condensation forms, the jar is opened and the buds are turned and allowed to dry off. “Mistakes in letting curing Cannabis get too dry are more forgiving than mistakes in letting it stay too wet„ If the moisture in the jar is allowed to build too high the bud can be ruined; pay close attention, especially for the first few days. As the bud cures, the jar can be left closed for longer and longer periods until it is ready for use or storage. Mistakes in letting curing Cannabis get too dry are more forgiving than mistakes in letting it stay too wet. 6) Once ready, the marijuana can be stored in an airtight container (glass is a good choice) for short term storage, or vacuum sealed for long term. My personal preference is to store my smoke in home canning jars. They come in a variety of nice sizes, but since the sides are transparent, they should be covered or stored in a dark place. Jars should be labeled, and can even be decorated if desired. If your stash starts to get a little too dry, a small clean piece of terracotta soaked in water can rehydrate it.

Moby Dick, Blue Widow and White Rhino on a pants hanger

For the small-scale personal grower, harvest is where you can really shine. In your favor, herb grown for personal use tends to be superior to herb grown for sale. Grams are easier to monitor closely and care for than kilograms. There is something to be said for genuine care, with just a dash of future use self-interest to add a special something to the final product. A well cared for and well cured bud is a very pleasant bit of smoke. Harvest time is also the time to finish any notes for the season. Some people are blessed with superior memories and are able to recall each plant grown for years on end. For the rest of us, notes can be invaluable, especially when the time comes to plant next year's garden. Just make sure any notes you make don't fall into the wrong hands. To determine the efficiency of a grow, a simple formula can be used to determine the grams per day (GPD). If a Cannabis plant was started on 5/23/2011 and was ready for harvest on 9/23/2011, then the number of days between the two dates is 123. If 29 grams of dried of bud is collected, then the yield grown per day would be 0.24 grams (29 divided by 123). This value can come in handy when comparing seasons, or comparing the productivity of a particular cultivar. If all other factors are similar, and using fertilizer 'Brand A' results in a 0.20 GPD, and using fertilizer 'Brand B' results in 0.30 GPD, then serious consideration should be given to using 'Brand B' on a regular basis. If one year a gardener uses soil pots, and the next a hydroponic system, the GPD gathered can help choose which system to use the following year.
“If your stash starts to get a little too dry, a small clean piece of terracotta soaked in water can rehydrate it„
One nice thing about using this calculation, is that it will allow a gardener to compare plants started early with plants started late. Particularly in indoor gardens - where season length is artificially controlled - being able to compare seasons of differing lengths can be an asset in determining what conditions are the most productive. By keeping track of expenses, you can also use a similar equation to calculate how much per gram it cost you to produce. Just track how much it cost to run the garden for the 123 days, and then divide by the number of grams of harvest produced. By comparing how plants from different grows perform, a gardener can fine tune and adjust his/her garden practices to be as efficient, productive and economical as possible. After harvest make sure to clean up for winter. Spring planting is a lot easier when it doesn't start out with last year's mess. It is common to celebrate a successful harvest with a few good friends. Give thanks to the universe that such a nice plant exists in the world, and that you can enjoy it. Celebrate your hard work, and plan how you can improve next season. Life should be lived, so between the hustle and bustle of everyday life remember to take time out and live a little. Peace, love and puka shells, Grubbycup
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