When to Harvest?
With fall approaching, it’s time to start checking for ripeness!
With the Autumnal Equinox rapidly approaching on September 22nd, cannabis farmers are beginning to closely inspect their crops in preparation for harvest. Harvesting your cannabis too early or too late can not only affect the taste and smell of your cannabis flowers, but it can also impact the amount of THC and psychoactive effects of your finished product. Read on to learn about the three tools commonly used to determine when it’s time to chop those plants down!
FLOWERING TIME (GOOD):
Flowering time guidelines are intended to be guidelines for harvesting and are not always accurate. Here are the Indica, Sativa and Hybrid strain guidelines, but individual strain guidelines are even more accurate. Timelines given in weeks tend to be a good match for indoor or light-dep growing experience, whereas time-of-year estimates are more accurate for full-sun growers. Check our Strain Catalog for detailed information.
The pistils or hairs are part of the sex organs of the female cannabis plant. The pistils will appear white during most of her flowering cycle, but as she nears the end of her cycle they will begin turning brown or red. In most strains, the flowering plant is at its highest THC level when the pistils are about 60-70% brown/red. Viewing the pistil status can help farmers make a rough estimate of how much longer a crop has before harvest.
Mostly White – Too early (photo by peacetree420)
Below 50% Brown/Red – Not ripe/early (photo by sagebotanics)
60% or more Brown/Red – Good time to harvest with highest THC content (photo by terencemckenny)
70-90% Brown/Red – Over-ripe. Ready for harvest, but may loose potency or flavor
A trichomes life cycle closely resembles that of the cannabis plant it exists on. The trichome head can change from a clear to a fully amber color as the plant matures and ripens. After a plant starts approaching its target harvest date, and pistils are mostly brown, checking the plants’ trichomes with a handheld microscope gives farmers the best sense of when plants are at their optimal ripeness. The head of a trichome starts filled with clear liquid. Over time it turns milky white and then amber. When most trichomes are milky-white and a few are amber, the plant is ready to harvest.
Clear Trichomes – Not ripe Mostly white trichomes r- Ready for harvest Mostly Amber Trichomes – Overripe, degradation of THC can begin
With autumn approaching, cannabis farmers are starting to look toward harvest, but how do you know that your plants are ripe? Read about 3 ways to tell.