How to Grow 161 - When to Harvest?
When is my weed ready to harvest? Great question hypothetical new grower -- and possibly the number 1 thing you’re dying to know -- so let’s jump right in! Harvesting is often a grower’s favorite part of the cultivation process, but knowing exactly when to harvest can be tricky. So when IS the right time to harvest?
While I wish there was some magical formula to help us figure this out, in the end it’s the same as everything else in the growing process: patience, observation, and attention to detail.
Typically your buds will be ready for harvest in eight to ten weeks into flowering depending on the strain you’re growing. You don’t want to just go by the calendar, but it’s a good place to start, and it will tell you when to begin looking more closely at the signs that your ladies are nearly ready.
Hey, What’s Your Sign?
Signs can tell you when you’re getting close to harvest time:
- Fan leaves yellowing
- Stalks thickening
- Pistils changing from white to orange
Editor’s Note: The plant is preparing to die, because cannabis is an annual plant. It’s putting everything that’s left in it to reproduce before the winter.
Again, the previous visual cues are a good guide to let you know when you’re approaching peak harvest time, but you’ll want to know with real accuracy and the way you do this is my examining the trichomes on your buds. The what?
What’s a Trichome?
Trichomes are tiny, sticky little “hairs” you’ll find covering your buds and sugar leaves. With the naked eye they look like a layer of frost on your plants, and their color is the best indication of when your buds are ready to cut.
When looking at the trichomes to determine if you’re ready to harvest, you’ll want to use a magnifying lens of some type like a loupe or a microscope, but you want a magnification of 40x-100x to be able to gauge your trichomes accurately. So what are you looking for with these sticky little guys? As mentioned above: Coloration.
Check out the info below for more specifics on trichome color and what it means to your harvest, but please keep in mind that some strains will show more of pink or purple hue than the more traditional amber color (thanks to anthocyanins!). Make sure you do additional research on whatever strain you’re cultivating.
What do clear Trichomes tell us?
- Can see right through the trichomes, or they are hard to see.
- Not ready for harvest
- Not enough potency/lower yields
50% Milky Trichomes/50% Cloudy Trichomes
What do 50/50 Trichomes tell us?
- Somewhat milky looking trichomes
- Buds are still growing at this stage
- Harvesting at this time results in buds with a more energetic or “speedy” psychoactive effect
Mostly Milky/Cloudy Trichomes
What do mostly milky Trichomes tell us?
- Hard to see through, still white
- Highest THC percentage
- Good for elevating mood
- Good for pain relief
Cloudy Trichomes turn to Amber
What do amber Trichomes tell us?
- White gives way to amber color
- More relaxing high for anxiety relief
- Less THC
- More CBD
- Beware of couchlock. Or don’t beware. I’m not your boss!
So there you have it, the basics of harvest readiness. Be sure to look at our articles on trimming and curing your harvest, and be on the lookout for more how-to articles and be on the lookout for the beginner, intermediate, and advanced grower.
Take care of those trichomes!
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About the Author
Chris DeWildt is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Western Kentucky University. He worked in education and publishing for ten years before joining the team at Growers Network. In addition to editing the GN blog, Chris also works on the Canna Cribs series.