Harvesting cannabis outdoors is a very exciting time, the climax in the life cycle of these aromatic plants. For months, you have been carefully tending your crop, watching the plants grow in the sun and rain, and now, finally, the time has come to reap the fruits of your hard work.
In this article we want to help you harvest outdoor cannabis, exploring the best practices, essential tools, and some other tips to carry out a successful harvest and obtain high-quality flowers. From the ideal time to harvest to drying and curing methods, we will tell you what you should do to ensure your buds and enjoy them in the best way possible. Get ready to learn how to maximize your harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Outdoor marijuana cultivation and harvest
You have been taking care of your outdoor plants for months, which by now should be in full flower production and with the harvest in your sights. If you already have experience growing outdoors, you probably know several tricks to ensure you harvest as many flowers as possible without problems, although if you are just starting out growing you may have doubts about how to proceed from this point. Today we want to help you and give you a few tips so that everything goes smoothly.
Protect your plants from pests and fungi
During the last weeks of flowering, it is very important to keep the plants clean of pests and diseases, which could ruin your efforts all summer. We always recommend using preventatives during cultivation to avoid having to deal with these problems once in flower, since it is not advisable to spray those aromatic flowers with phytosanitary products when the harvest is close.
When your plants begin to show well-formed buds, the ideal is to monitor their condition almost daily in search of potential problems, such as caterpillar infestations or traces of fungi such as powdery mildew or botrytis. These are problems that can become serious in a few days if the environmental conditions favor it, so it is advisable not to let your guard down at any time.
Powdery mildew is a fungus that is increasingly present in marijuana crops. If an adequate treatment is not carried out, it can be very harmful for our plants since it totally destroys the resin. We will see how to control powdery mildew in indoor, outdoor and greenhouse crops and the biological and chemical remedies that will help us treat it.
Be careful with the rains
Any veteran outdoor grower will tell you to never harvest your plants if they are wet, as the chances of molds developing during drying increase considerably. For this reason, many growers use some type of cover during the last weeks of flowering to protect the plants from rain and dew, thus greatly reducing the chances of problems. Another option is to move them to a covered location in case of approaching precipitation, although this is not always possible.
In case you plan to harvest on a specific day but see that the weather forecast threatens rain during that period, it is always better to harvest before they arrive; The quality of your flowers will not be compromised by harvesting 4 or 5 days earlier than you would have done, and this way you will be sure to harvest them all, without unpleasant surprises in the form of molds or broken branches.
The best time to harvest
Of course, establishing the ideal time to harvest your plants is important to preserve the maximum cannabinoids and terpenes produced during the flowering phase. To know when this moment has arrived, it is important to use a magnifying glass or microscope (even a good photo that you can zoom in on) to check the color of the trichomes, those small glands similar to lollipops that cover the flowers and leaves near the buds. During the flowering stage, these glands fill with compounds and change their color, so monitoring their condition will be the best way to know when harvest time has arrived.
Throughout flowering, you will see how the trichome heads go from being transparent to milky/whitish. In the final phase of ripening, they will turn amber in color. Well, it is usually said that the best time to harvest is when you can already see a majority of milky trichomes and some amber. As soon as you see the glands in this state, it’s time to prepare the pruning shears!
How to harvest a cannabis plant
It is important – especially when growing outdoors – to make it clear that yes, it may be that some parts of your plants (such as the tops) have matured before others (such as the lower areas, which do not receive as much light). If this is the case, there is no problem, simply harvest the parts that you see are already ripe (with milky and amber trichomes) and leave the rest of the buds on the plant for a few more days so that they finish maturing.
If your plants are not very large, you can choose to harvest them whole, although it is usually more convenient to harvest them branch by branch; Really, it all depends on the space you have to dry. Before even cutting the first branch, you can remove all the fan leaves from the plant to speed up the drying process a little, although it is not necessary to do so (in fact, if you keep those leaves, the drying – although slower – is usually more uniform and the flowers are usually better preserved with that “cover” of dry leaves). Thus, all you have to do is remove the flowers or branches that you see mature and leave them in their new location for the next few days or weeks, the drying space. Of course, keep in mind that all the harvest remains will be an excellent addition to your compost pile!
You can also choose to harvest the buds and trim them before drying them; This way you will speed up the drying process a little, and you will also have a good amount of leaves full of trichomes (sugar leaves) that you can use to make some type of resin concentrate. Keep in mind that if you choose well what type of concentrate you will make, such as bubble hash with fresh material, you will be enjoying it even before your flowers are dry!
It may be that your outdoor crop is the only one of the year and you need to provide yourself with a good amount of flowers in a single crop, and that some work accumulates when harvesting and drying. If this is the case, remember that you can find all kinds of trimming machines (often called trimmers) on the market that will greatly help you in your tedious trimming task. Furthermore, in the following post we will tell you how to store your flowers so that they preserve their properties as much as possible for months:
In previous posts we told you when to properly harvest your plants and dry them. Now we’ll learn the basics of storing our buds, so we can enjoy first quality marijuana throughout the year. Storing is a key aspect of cannabis cultivation, the time when almost all work is done and we only have to keep our top grade buds with their psychoactive and organoleptic features intact.
Drying and curing marijuana
Once you have your flowers ready to dry, it is important to condition the space properly to avoid surprises in the form of fungi. The ideal is a dark, cool, dry, and well-ventilated place so that the drying process takes place slowly and evenly. Don’t be surprised if, during the first few days, the smell is more similar to that of mulberry leaves than that of cannabis, it’s normal! As the days go by, you will observe how the flowers lose moisture (and, therefore, some volume) and gain nuances in their aroma.
The duration of the process depends largely on the degree of ambient humidity inside the dryer and can range from a few days to weeks. Drying your weed too quickly would be a big mistake, so we do not recommend using dehumidifiers unless they are really necessary and too much moisture accumulates inside the drying space. A humidity of approximately 50% will be perfect. And avoid heat sources at all costs, which, although they would dry out your flowers in a short time, would ruin much of their aroma and flavor, which would be a real shame after months of care.
To learn more about this process, we recommend our article on how to dry and trim marijuana, in which we go into detail about several of the most important aspects of this often underrated stage.
We can only wish you good luck, we hope that this season’s harvest is as generous as it is aromatic!
The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.
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