Planning for Cannabis Harvest – Planning Your First Indoor Grow

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Planning Your First Indoor Cannabis Grow – Part 6

Best Bud Seeds shares our best knowledge of how to plan your first indoor grow in this blog series. As we’re nearing the end of our series, our experts at Best Bud Seeds expand on how to determine when your cannabis plants are ready to be harvested and what methods are available to you as an indoor grower for harvesting your first crop. How do you determine when to harvest your cannabis crop? What supplies do you need to harvest cannabis? The answers are below and highly detailed for your ease of mind as a first-time cannabis grower.

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How to Plan for Harvesting Your Cannabis Plants

When growing cannabis indoors, plants generally get harvested about 7-9 weeks after flipping them into flower. Some strains may take longer, some shorter; it depends on the strain. Indicas usually finish quicker, while sativas are longer to finish.

  1. Look at the Stigma & Trichomes
    • The best way to tell if your marijuana plants are ready to harvest, both indoors as well as outdoors, is to look at:
  • Stigma: These hair-like strands that cover buds will turn from white to orange and will start to curl.
  • Trichomes: The resinous glands all over the plant will turn from clear to opaque and then amber.

Keep in mind that top colas might reach maturity faster than bottom buds because they receive more light. You may need to harvest a plant when some buds aren’t quite ripe and others are. Additionally, information from the breeder or grower can be helpful in getting a rough estimate of when a particular strain should be harvested. When looking at trichomes you’ll need a microscope. Handheld microscopes ranging from 30x-100x will work and can be purchased at any growing supply store. During their change from clear to opaque to amber, trichomes reach their maximum THC content. After that, they begin to break down due to exposure to oxygen and UV rays.

Is it too late to harvest your buds? Check the trichomes again and note the color. If you observe mostly amber trichomes, then the cannabis flowers are overripe. At this stage of development, the harvested weed will have an unpleasant taste. In addition, cannabinoids such as THC begin to degrade when amber trichomes overtake the milky white ones. In rare cases, trichomes can even begin to turn black if growers didn’t harvest their marijuana plants. Besides the amber color, trichomes can also become noticeably brittle. Trichomes on overripe buds may even crumble in your hands. When you harvest a cannabis plant past its prime is not recommended but may be preferable to harvesting prematurely. The terpenes, which are believed to contain healing properties, can become more potent during a late harvest, but at the expense of scent and flavor.

  1. Make a list of pre-harvest tasks that are to be completed
    • Make sure to flush your plants with only water, no nutrients, for about a week before harvesting.
      1. This is to ensure that all of the nutrients are no longer streaming through your plants, not flushing your plants could lead to becoming very sick upon consuming the end result of your cannabis harvest.
    • Check trichomes on plants to make sure they’re ready to get chopped down.
    • Wear clothes that can get dirty—harvesting weed is sticky.
      1. It is also important to note that a supply of rubber gloves can be helpful in keeping your hands from being covered in stickiness.
    • Keep shears and scissors sharp.
    • It’s good to harvest before plants get too hot—outdoors, this means harvesting in the morning; indoors, harvest soon after the lights come on.
    • If growing different strains, some plants may be ready to harvest before others.
    • If wet trimming, be sure to trim buds immediately after chopping down plants.
  2. Make a list of equipment needed to harvest
  • Scissors (for trimming buds)
  • Pruners (helpful for big branches)
  • Comfortable chair and area
  • A clean surface, like a table
  • Tray or bowl
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rags
  • Clothes that can get dirty and sticky
  • Entertainment – music is great for harvesting cannabis
  • Non-powdered latex gloves (nice to have on hand, but not necessary)
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Harvesting Cannabis All At Once or Rotating?

If you’re growing the same strain, you’ll want to harvest all your plants in the same window of time because they’ll all ripen at the same time. If you’re growing multiple strains, they may ripen at different times. But you may still want to harvest all strains at once to get trimming done all in one sitting, just keep in mind that some strains might get harvested on the early side and some on the late side.

Next Step: Post Harvest Tasks

Now that you’ve planned on how you want to harvest your plants, it’s time to learn how to cut, cure, dry, and store your works of art! Our experts at Best Bud Seeds will walk you through our favorite methods of storing your cannabis, our favorite brands of shears, and correct ways to trim your buds.