One of the most important stages in growing a crop is the harvesting of the cannabis inflorescences.
We analyse how and when this delicate and crucial process takes place, to ensure that the product is appropriately marketed.
When to harvest cannabis?
After devoting care and attention to the cultivation of cannabis, it is essential to understand which is the most suitable time to harvest of the plant.
There is no specific period for this process, as much depends on the sowing period and timing of germination.
The harvest is extremely important because if the cannabis is harvested too early or too late, the quality of the product may decrease and the desired effects may not be adequately achieved.
Determining the best time to proceed with this task is certainly not easy, but there are some observable signs that can could help to identify the right moment.
However, much depends on growth times and the different crops, but in any case growers can consult the indications given on the packaging of the seeds, which vary according to the quality and type of plant sown.
Respecting the timing is essential, since if the plant were collected too early, the inflorescences would be unable to produce their substances in a mature manner, while if left too late, deterioration could occur, affecting the capacities of certain active ingredients present in the plant.
How to identify the best time to start harvesting
As mentioned earlier, there are signs that can help identify the best time for cannabis harvesting.
The first trick is to observe the leaves of the plants, since if they grow excessively, they may turn yellow and lose their shine.
This means that from now on, growth will occur mostly in the flowers.
At this point it is really necessary to proceed with the harvest, as these phenomena may lead to the appearance of infestations by pests and fungi.
Subsequently the pistil also changes colour and becomes more visible; usually this part is very small and becomes visible only immediately preceding harvest.
This happens when the pistils mature and their colour tends to vary towards other shades, in most cases orange and red.
However, this factor is relative, since a change in the colour of the pistil does not always indicate the best time to harvest, as the change may be linked to humidity levels and therefore vary according to the region of cultivation.
Trichomes can also be analysed, as these tend to change and, although they are not usually visible to the naked eye, their colouring can be detected through a microscope.
When the trichomes are perfectly white, it’s time to harvest the plant.
Why is it important to wash the roots before harvesting the plant?
One tip that experts tend to recommend before harvesting is to wash the roots with large amounts of water.
This technique gives great results regarding the flavour of cannabis, since it removes any fertilizers and other substances which might penetrate the roots and affect the quality of the product, causing unpleasant and irritant effects in the mouth of the user.
After washing, the roots should be left for a day to dry completely, before proceeding with appropriate harvesting methods.
What tools are needed to harvest cannabis?
To harvest cannabis you need gloves, secateurs suitable for precisely cutting the tops, and therefore preferably sterile, a thermometer, a dehumidifier and a bag to collect all the parts of the plant that will be discarded.
You’ll also need cardboard boxes, which should have holes to allow air to pass, a knife to remove the hard parts of the plant, alcohol to remove the resin from gloves and secateurs and sheets of newspaper on which the inflorescences of the plant will be placed to keep them apart from everything else.
If you use all these tools, you can do a very quick job with complete respect for the plant, so that it can be used without alteration to its composition.
The different stages of harvesting
The harvest process can be summarised in three main stages.
The first of these takes the name of scrogging, and consists not of cutting the stems at the base, but using pruning techniques that treat the plant one branch at a time, removing lateral branches by cutting them near the main stalk.
This is followed by the manicure phase, where the plant is cut entirely or a little at a time from top to bottom, especially where the plantation is very large.
This makes it very simple to harvest the plant, since it will be easier to cut the tops and remove them, discarding any damaged or excessively sticky inflorescences.
The final stage is drying, which involves placing the tops in a dry, dark place for a minimum of 15 days.
In some cases the inflorescences can be stored in paper bags or cardboard boxes, turning them every day but without touching them constantly, as they may spoil.
Don’t forget to remove any waste that could contaminate your plantation and the surrounding area if not disposed of correctly.