Harvesting your cannabis plant is all about proper timing. Harvest too early and you won’t get any psychedelic effects; harvest too late and you run the risk of self-pollinating and rotting. Hence, balancing things out is the key to achieving the best harvest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are a couple ways to tell when it’s time to harvest your cannabis buds. Perhaps the most reliable is to examine the colour of the trichomes. These resin-bearing glands are considered the best standard of measurement as they are more consistent in their results than other recognition methods. In order to do this, you will need a magnifying glass—trichomes are quite tiny.
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!
If you want to harvest the maximum amount of buds your cannabis can produce, then harvesting early isn’t a good idea. However, there are numerous reasons why you may opt to harvest a bit earlier than usual. Some of the most common reasons are bug and mould prevention. In less-than-ideal climates, poor weather can catalyse the onset of bud rot and other nasty ailments as the harvest season comes to a close. If you can’t move your plants inside to avoid harsh conditions, it may be worth doing a premature chop.
Learn whether you should harvest your cannabis earlier or later than usual, or perhaps somewhere smack dab in the middle.