And Other Great Tips
Timing is everything when it comes to harvesting cannabis. If you take your plants down too early, they’ll be immature with underdeveloped resin glands containing less of the vital essential oils that give pot its flavors, aroma and potency. Chopping them down too late, and THC will have degraded, resulting in a more lethargic high. Growing great tasting cannabis requires good genes, some photosynthesis and plenty of patience. To that end, we’ve provided some tips to help you with your grow, and improve your bud.
1. Feed Lightly
Overly feeding runs rampant among many marijuana grows. Burnt tips on leaves are a sure sign of an
overabundance of salts and minerals in your plants. Try feeding them at half the recommended dose unless you see some signs of deficiency (slight yellowing of leaves etc.). You can always bump up nutrient levels, but it’s much harder to reduce them after over-application. The less you feed throughout the grow cycle, the less you’ll need to flush at the end, and the better your finished buds will burn, smell and taste.
2. Control Your Environment
A good rule of thumb is to never exceed 85 degrees or drop below 60. Relative humidity (RH) should
be around 40-50 percent, although this can vary according to your plants’ growth stage—vegetating plants can handle a bit more (60-70 percent), and RH should come down to 30-40 as plants approach harvest. Monitor these factors at the leaf surface to keep your plants happy and productive.
3. Dial In pH
Potential Hydrogen also known as pH is the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil and nutrient solution on a scale of 0.1 – 14, with one being the most acidic, seven being neutral and 14 the most alkaline. Hydroponically grown plants should be kept between 5.5 and 6.2, and soil-grown plants should be between 6.0 and 6.8. If pH fluctuates outside these acceptable levels, certain nutrients become unavailable to the roots, even when they are present. This is often misdiagnosed as a deficiency, compounding the problem and causing great distress to your plants. Make sure you use a pH monitor and pH “Up” or “Down” as necessary.
4. Flush The Root Zone
Over time, nutrient salts will build up inside your plants no matter how sparingly you applied fertilizer. For the last couple weeks of flowering, water with plain water in order to leach out any excess minerals that will affect the taste and burnability of your finished product. Well-flushed pot burns cleanly, to a wispy white ash, while unflushed buds burn dark and resemble a piece of charcoal that requires constant re-lighting. Pour the water until it flows out of the bottom of your containers. Don’t be alarmed if you see some slight yellowing or fall colors developing on your fan leaves. This means that your efforts to reduce unnecessary elements trapped within plant cells are working.
5. Cure Your Buds
After hanging to dry, your flowers must be cured in glass jars to slowly remove the remaining moisture and reduce the “grassy” smell and taste of chlorophyll. When cannabis is cured correctly,
subtle scents and flavors are revealed and the finished product gains depth and complexity. When the drying branches begin to snap instead of bending, place the buds into sealed glass jars kept in a cool dark place. Heat and light will quickly degrade the essential oils containing the precious terpenes and cannabinoids. Open the jars daily to “burp them” releasing the moist air and replacing it with fresh air. After a few weeks or more of curing, your buds will taste and smoke perfectly.
Just because a seed breeder says that their product matures in 60 days of flowering doesn’t make that an accurate date for cropping. You must also take into account any downtime your plants spent recovering from the stress caused by transplanting or other aggravating factors. Sometimes this can add weeks to your flowering stage and push your harvest time back significantly. The amount or percentage of red hairs is also not an accurate way to judge the proper time to harvest your plants. It’s true that these pistils darken from white to orange and then red as the buds ripen, but it’s only an indicator that harvest is approaching and not the best determining factor.
Farther Than the Eye Can See
The best thing you can do is to get a magnification device such as a loupe or microscope that can give you a closer look at the actual trichomes on your buds. Trichomes are actually glands filled with essential oils made up of cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD and CBN, as well as terpenes. They look a little bit like tiny clear glass mushrooms with a stalk and a bulbous head. It is these gland heads that are separated and pressed together to make hashish.
As harvest approaches, the gland heads will turn from clear to a cloudy or “milky” white, and then eventually turn amber as they begin to go beyond ripeness. If you harvest when most of the gland heads are clear and cloudy, you’ll get a more uplifting high. If you wait until most are amber, the effects will be more lethargic. It really comes down to personal preference, but most people prefer the cloudy and that is when the THC levels are at their highest with no degradation.
Now that you’ve absorbed these tips and tricks for growing better-tasting pot, you can apply what you’ve learned in the growroom. Your attention to detail will pay off with flavorful weed that reaches its full potential.