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When You Should Harvest Your Cannabis Plant


Growing cannabis is a rewarding and lucrative endeavor, but it also requires a lot of patience and practice to do correctly. When you’re first starting, there are so many elements to pay attention to that the entire process can seem a bit overwhelming at first. 

As a newbie grower, you’re likely eager to harvest your crop so you can either smoke or sell it (or both). However, cannabis plants must mature at their own rate, meaning you must wait until they’re ready. If you harvest your crops too soon, they won’t have much THC or CBD, rendering them almost worthless. However, if you wait too long, the cannabinoids will have the unfortunate side effect of putting the user to sleep. 

So, knowing when to harvest your plants for the maximum yield is crucial. Fortunately, there are some pretty easy signs that the plant is ready, so all you need is some patience and the right tools. Here’s everything you need to know about identifying when it’s time to harvest your cannabis. 

How to Tell When Cannabis is Ready to Harvest

Two primary elements will tell you when the plant has the most THC and CBD. These elements are pistils and trichomes. Both of these pieces grow on the buds themselves and are pretty easy to spot. Pistils are much longer and more noticeable than trichomes, so you’ll notice them when they change first. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect with both options when determining if it’s time to harvest. 

Trichomes Coloration

Trichomes are the little hairs growing on the outside of the bud. When they first develop, they look clear and glassy. However, as the plant produces more THC, they will turn milky white. If you let the plant mature a little while longer, the trichomes will start to turn amber brown. As a general rule, the longer your plant matures, the more of a relaxing effect it will have. Conversely, if you harvest your cannabis early in this phase, it will have more of a positive and uplifting effect.

One thing to point out is that you want to wait until all the trichomes have turned white before harvesting. Even if a few of them turn amber, it’s still the best time to harvest. 

While you can spot trichomes with the naked eye, it’s often better to use a jeweler’s loupe or handheld magnifying glass. This way, you can inspect most of the plant’s buds quickly and efficiently. 

Another point to remember is that if you’re growing identical crops at the same time, you shouldn’t need to check each individual plant. 

Pistils Coloration

Pistils are the long, white strands sticking out of each bud. When the plant is still young and lacks THC, these pieces will be milky white. Then, as the plant matures and develops more cannabinoids, the pistils will turn brown and curl into the bud. So, as long as the pistils are sticking straight out, your plant needs more time to mature before harvesting. 

Outdoor vs. Indoor Growing

Most cannabis operations grow indoors, so using the trichomes and pistils method works the best. However, if you’re growing your crops outdoors, you can also harvest based on the time of year. Since cannabis is an annual plant, it matures toward the end of summer and the beginning of fall. So, you should plan to harvest between September and November, depending on your specific climate. 

For example, growers in California can often harvest later in the year because the weather is still warm enough for the plants to grow and thrive. However, those in the Pacific Northwest should harvest in late September or early October to avoid too much rain and cold weather. Also, the specific strains will determine the best harvesting time. As a rule, Indicas finish earlier than Sativas, but if you’re growing hybrids, the results can vary significantly. 

Steps to Harvest Your Cannabis

Once you know your harvesting schedule, you can flush your plants about a week before cutting them down. Flushing means you only give them water with no extra nutrients. Doing this first helps stunt maturation and growth while allowing the plant to stay healthy and nourished. While flushing isn’t technically necessary, it does make harvesting a bit easier. 

Here are some elements to consider when cutting down and trimming your cannabis plants. 

Gather Your Equipment

Harvesting cannabis requires various tools like: 

  • Scissors – For trimming small branches and leaves
  • Pruners – For larger stems and stalks
  • Large Empty Table – For placing the plants while you cut the buds
  • Drying Rack – Only for dry trimming
  • Gloves – Trimming and pruning your plants for hours on end can give you blisters, so we recommend wearing gloves. 

Wet vs. Dry Trimming

Before harvesting, you need to know whether you’ll be dry or wet trimming. There are pros and cons to both, but each method requires different processes. With wet trimming, you’re cutting the branches and processing the buds immediately after harvesting. The benefit of this option is that you preserve the trichomes more easily and start much sooner. 

The downside, though, is that you have a lot more work to finish in a single session. Since you’re not drying your plants, you have to cut them down and trim them with no downtime between. Also, wet buds are messier and stickier than dry ones, so you have to spend more time cleaning your scissors. 

Dry trimming allows you to take a break between harvesting and processing and helps preserve the terpenes and trichomes. However, since the trichomes will dry out, they’re more brittle and can break as you go. Overall, dry trimming is a bit more involved, but it yields smoother and tastier results, so it might be worth the extra time and effort. 

Get the Best Cannabis Seeds From Us!

Regardless of your harvesting method, you need to start with the best cannabis seeds. We have an extensive collection of feminized, regular, and autoflowering seeds for your operation.

Tips on Growing Cannabis In Tiny Spaces

The rise of at-home cannabis cultivation took flight in the 70s and 80s when indoor cannabis cultivation became normalized. Continued rapid changes in both the legislative sphere and the technological realm have changed the approach we take to cultivating our marijuana plants from the comfort of home.

With housing becoming more expensive and space harder to come by, many growers are looking for ways to grow cannabis in tiny, spare spaces in their homes. While it is important to have enough room for your plant to flourish, it is possible to have a satisfactory grow from the comfort of home while limiting your space. 

Today, we are going to explore how you can set yourself up for success in a tiny grow space before developing a list of tips and tricks that will fuel your efforts.

How Small Can My Grow Space Get?

If you’ve seen a fully developed cannabis plant in the wild, then you know that they can become gargantuan bushes with sprawling branches. Meticulous trimming and pruning can help to control your cannabis, but only so far. While our focus is on small growing spaces, you still will need at least an area measuring 2′ x 2′ x 4′ to find success.

When you provide your cannabis cultivation area with the appropriate 2′ x 2′ x 4′ space, you’ll also need to make sure you give them the following

  • Room to Grow – The more your plant can grow, the more it can produce buds, and the larger your yields will become. Height is more important than the width and this can become a hard line to balance in small spaces due to heat produced by lighting.
  • Sterile Growing Environment – Keep your space small and clean to retain a sterile growing environment. Proper drainage is important because standing water can lead to pests and potential diseases.
  • Proper Ventilation – Without proper ventilation, your cannabis plants won’t be exposed to the fresh air that they need to survive. Proper ventilation and a continuous exchange of air are required for your plants to thrive. Depending on the heat, you might also need to incorporate an air conditioning unit or heater to properly regulate the climate of the room.

Tips and Tricks For Growing Cannabis in Small Spaces

Once you’ve managed to appropriately address the prior points, you are ready to dive into the world of cannabis cultivation in your new small space. To find continued success in the field, we’ve outlined a few tips and tricks you can put into play to help you grow and become more successful than ever.

Add Intake Fans to Your Space

One of the easiest ways to dramatically improve the quality of your cannabis cultivation is by adding an intake fan and an oscillating fan to your room. An intake fan is required to constantly deliver fresh air to your plant. Utilize a micron filter to avoid any potential pests and problematic particulates coming in from the outside air.

If you have space for a small oscillating fan, set it at canopy level near your plants. The cool air will keep the canopy moving, the leaves stimulated, and the roots strong. You will want your plants to slightly tremble from the breeze as that is a sign of excellent airflow.

Light For Success, Understand Your Limitations

When grown in a large space where you have room to work, high-intensity discharge lights are the ideal choice for lighting your plants. High-Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide bulbs are the common choices for cannabis growers in the industry.

Unfortunately, high-intensity discharge lamps provide a ton of heat and, as such, can become quite problematic for smaller gardens. Instead of overloading your plants with too much light and heat, causing serious issues along the way, opt for a more heat-neutral lighting option. 

Micro-growing professionals can opt for compact fluorescent or regular fluorescent lighting as an alternative to hotter HPS and MH bulbs. There are also high-powered LED lights that provide a full-spectrum experience without all of the heat associated with those HPS lights.

Track technology and find the right piece to suit your needs. Depending on the size of your gardening area, your lighting needs will vary. 

Consider Using a Growing Dark Room

One of the easiest ways to create a self-contained growing space is through the use of a grow tent. Also known as a Dark Room, grow tents are made from vinyl, mylar, and a host of durable and reflective materials. Grow rooms offer places to hang your lights, seams for ventilation, and even a zipper and lock for absolute privacy. 

The best grow tents on the market offer both mobility and security, mixed with a bit of your discretion. Grow tents can protect your plants from pets, pests, and the elements as well. You can also use a bit of elbow grease as well as your DIY skills to make your own dark room from the comfort of home.

If you don’t have access to a tent or simply cannot acquire one, you can utilize a closet in much the same way. Common thinking suggests that a 3×3 closet can be lit by a roughly 400w light. Utilize the air-cooling technology we’ve alluded to above to eliminate heat and reduce stress for your plants.

Embrace Odor Control

Small gardens can still create big smells. Make sure that your small grow room is outfitted with a carbon filter to properly scrub the air of particulates while reducing the overall odor in the room. Carbon filters can be placed between inline fans to create an air filtration system that works in anything from the smallest to the largest spaces.


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