There is a significant benefit in growing cannabis at home now that it is legalized. You can grow it, harvest, and use it all on your own with no intermediary. However, while cultivating a marijuana plant from seed is easy, the hard part is knowing when to harvest. One of the most exciting parts of growing marijuana is figuring out the right time to reap.
The right time to harvest cannabis often generates anxiety in the grower because any mishap can affect its quality. Gathering too soon and your marijuana will not be potent, while harvesting too late may end up with an overly narcotic herb with a pungent taste. If you have observed your buds for months waiting for the plant to mature, here is how you can tell the right time to harvest.
Importance of harvesting the right time
Harvesting time is the trickiest aspect of growing marijuana if you are a newbie. You must harvest at the right time to capture all the properties of your cannabis. The right harvest time influences the potency of your flower. You might miss out on the full effects of the herb if you collect the flower far too early or extremely late.
The flower needs to be harvested from the cannabis plant as it contains cannabidiol. You can also reap the sugar leaves and use them to make edibles after drying and curing them. They have a high THC concentration for anyone looking to get euphoric feelings. The quality and potency of this herb demands that you collect it when ready and mature.
There are several strategies and factors to consider when determining the right harvesting time. The most common ones are the trichome and pistil methods. After the flowering phase, the cannabis plant shows pistils turning red and leaves turning yellow. Look out for these symptoms when selecting the ideal time to harvest.
1. Flowering time
The flowering time can be a good indicator of the right time to harvest marijuana. After ten weeks of flowering for top Sativa strains or eight weeks of flowering for Indica strains, harvest your plant. These strains have different flowering times that determine their potency. However, it’s not possible to determine harvest time from predicted flowing time alone. Other factors come into play, such as pistil and trichomes.
2. Look at the Trichomes
Trichomes or resin glands are a component of the cannabis plant that contains essential oils and cannabinoids. It has the highest THC concentration and forms a significant part of marijuana. Looking at the trichomes can tell whether the cannabis is ready to harvest.
Ideally, it’s challenging to observe these resin glands with a naked eye; you will need a handheld microscope that illuminates the foliage. Point the magnifying tool at the trichomes to examine their color. If they are clear and glassy, give them more time to grow before harvesting. These trichomes turn from clear to cloudy and amber colors during the plant’s life cycle as they mature. The color of trichomes is the best strategy to determine if a cannabis plant is ready. If half the trichomes turn cloudy, they are mature enough to harvest.
The trichome heads look like plastic as buds mature, indicating the highest cannabidiol level. They should resemble miniature mushrooms to reach their maximum potency. Do not harvest cannabis if the trichomes are clear as they are not potent enough.
3. Examine the Pistil
The third factor to examine is the color of the pistils. These are orange-colored hairs that protrude from the flower and can indicate when to start harvesting. A healthy plant approaching maturity will have white pistils that stick straight out from the marijuana flower. When it is ready for harvest, at least half the pistils turn dark and curl back towards the zenith.
Marijuana with 100 percent brown pistils is sharp and heavy, while cannabis with less than 50 percent brown pistils is young and light. When most of the plant is white and straight, it is not ready to harvest. Wait for several weeks until half the pistils achieve a brown color and curl inside.
Suppose you want marijuana that offers a calmer effect, harvest when the pistils are 85 percent brown. The plant will lose most of its psychoactive properties if you take long before harvesting and have reduced impact when harvested early. Therefore, the longer you wait to harvest marijuana, the more cannabinoids there will be, resulting in a potent product.
You can get an idea of the harvest time by observing the pistils with your eyes. You don’t need a magnifying glass to examine the pistil as you need with the trichomes. Every cannabis plant has pistils that change colors throughout the life cycle. The color change can gauge whether it is mature and ready to harvest.
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The Bottom line
Choosing the ideal time to harvest cannabis is an essential part of cultivating the herb. Harvesting far too early or waiting for too long before gathering can affect its potency and quality. Therefore, look at the flowering time, trichomes, or pistils when determining the right time to harvest. Overall, the right time to harvest cannabis depends on what you want from the plant. If you planted marijuana for its sedative properties, give it enough time to mature and turn almost amber. It will have the highest CBD content to meet your needs. You must know the changes that occur daily on the trichomes and pistil through regular observation.