Harvest means you’re almost home
By Uncle Ron
The days are growing shorter and visions of buds dance in our heads. Our thoughts turn to the flowers we have toiled so long to bring to this stage. We have battled bugs, slugs and various other nefarious creatures that have driven us to the very brink of our wits, and yet we push on to the end.
But, wait. There is still the last and most important item left to figure out: when to cut and hang our most beautiful flowers. One week too soon, and we not only lose a week of growth but also the extra trichomes that are developing. If we wait too long, we lose THC and develop more CBDs. The timing must be just right to ensure the perfect blend of all the various elements that make up the perfect product.
How to make this decision is not as difficult as some would suppose; we just need to know that as the trichomes ripen they begin to change colors. A perfect blend would be 50 percent trichomes that are smoky in appearance and 25 percent that are brown or have a reddish hue. The remaining trichomes will be clear. How are we able to tell the difference? Well, fellow growers, here is where we seek the aid of a 30-power microscope, which can be had at our local Radio Shack or grow shop.
Once we have the 30-power scope, we need to adjust it. Place it lens down in the palm of your hand; now, move the adjustment screw until the little imperfections on your hand are clear to your vision. Ta-dah! You can now grade your own buds.
Place the lens against a bud on the plant and check out what your hard work has achieved. You’ll see wonders that boggle the mind, highways of ice-like figures that explode out of the scope. The figure’s small mushroom-shaped heads have different colors: Smoky gray tells us when they are changing from THC to CBDs.
Now that we know when to harvest, we can move on to the next stage: the proper drying and curing of your bud. This Please don’t confuse the curing process with the drying: They are two separate stages and require time and trouble — the more time you take, the less trouble you encounter.
First, the drying stage. The most common method is to cut off the large fan-shaped leaves, then hang the branches upside down in a cool, dark, dry and well-ventilated place. Make sure the small inner leaves droop over the buds. Check the buds every day for signs of mildew and mold — if you see any, it’s a warning sign the drying area may not be dry and cool enough, or that it needs more air circulation. The bud is dry when the stem snaps clean. If the stem bends, it is not dry. Simple test. Big results.
Now, for the curing: Place your buds in a mason jar and seal it up tight. Let it sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours, and then open the jar. You’ll notice the bud is wet: All the moisture that was trapped inside the bud is being drawn out, and all that nasty stuff is starting to become stinky gases – that’s why you need to open the jar after 24 hours. Reseal the jar and repeat the process. It will take some time to get a really good cure on your bud, it will be worth every minute you spend on this step. Bud will stay fresh for a very long time inside the jar, and like a fine wine will only get better with age.
Now for the fun part: Sit down, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your own labor.