Finally, you should also be careful with late harvests as some strains will begin to self-pollinate and turn intersex as a result.
If you’ve got a photoperiod cannabis plant, then checking its pistils and stigmas is a useful way to gauge whether it’s ready for the chop. You can usually assume that a plant is ready to harvest when about half of the pistils are brown. Again, the trichome method is more reliable.
On the other hand, a late harvest means that you allow your cannabis plant to mature past the point of peak potency. Many consider this a bad method due to the degradation of THC—the cannabinoid most users want to take advantage of. And while the terpenes on buds are indeed more pungent when allowed to mature, the flavour and aroma will go south if kept alive too long.
Although not set in stone, it’s important to at least consider the harvest schedule provided by your seed source. This is usually found on the seed packaging. This schedule is the approximate number of days/weeks it will take for your cannabis seed to grow into a mature plant. This schedule, however, fluctuates based on growing conditions such as environment, water, and heat. Always take this valuable breeder information with a grain of salt.
If you find yourself slightly perplexed by the notion of determining when to harvest, then read on—we’ll cover everything you need to know.
Avoid premature harvesting as much as possible, but if you really need to, it isn’t the end of the world. If you only harvest a few days early, the “damage” to potency will be minimal. Some bud is better than no bud at all!
Yellow leaves are also a good sign that your cannabis plant is ready to harvest. You can flush your plant when its large fan leaves start to yellow or when they fall off by themselves. But bear in mind that the falling of leaves is unlikely to happen when you use fertilisers. So you might want to check for other clues to determine harvest time.
Trichomes go through three consecutive colour states. These are clear, cloudy, and amber. The best time to harvest is when half of the trichomes are amber, and half are clear or cloudy. This colour disparity is due to the uppermost buds ripening earlier than the ones at the bottom. In any case, you don’t want to wait for all trichomes to turn amber, as this generally leads to a decrease in THC and an increase in the sleep-inducing cannabinoid CBN.
Harvesting your plants late induces a more narcotic and “stoney” high as opposed to energising cerebral stimulation. Even if you grow a sativa, harvesting late will likely result in effects similar to indica-dominant strains. While this is not ideal for many, some medicinal users prefer the greater levels of CBN and more sleep-inducing effects of weed that is left to mature for longer.
Learn whether you should harvest your cannabis earlier or later than usual, or perhaps somewhere smack dab in the middle.
When optimizing for marijuana with a high THC level, wait until the THC crystals in the resins on the buds have coated the buds in the latest phase of the flowering stage. Don’t wait too long, because the THC will start to degrade into CBN.
Harvestion too early means missing potency and yield.Harvesting too late might toa highly sedative product.
The pistils turn from white to a dark brown/red
Use a magnifier to look at the trichomes. It needs to be a jeweler’s loupe or something similar. You will not be able to fully inspect the trichomes with your naked eye.
You may start taking off the big fan leaves a week before the actual harvest.
Ovaries are swelling up
Tiny crystals appear around the flowers
Only expose your plants to light after you have cut them from the root ball.
Now we are going to get down and dirty. Cut the entire plant away from the root ball. Take off all leaves that are not connected to buds, then trim off smaller leaves. You should work yourself from outside in. From big leaves into smaller ones, far away from the buds, to up close to them. Choose the leaves without trichomes coverage first. Remove the sugar leaves closest to the buds last. This process is called manicuring.
It is time for harvesting your cannabis. You have grown your plants from seeds or clones of your favorite plants. You have taken care of their lights, their water supply and their nutrient levels.