Stealth Box - When To Harvest and Curing
Once you’re coming to the completion of a successful grow it’s important to take your time and not harvest too early or haphazardly. Being able to figure out the sweet spot for harvesting can seem difficult but there are a few telltale signs that point to it being harvest time.
First, it’s good to remember how many weeks the strain you are growing is supposed to take. Most breeders will have this information available on the seed packet. If the pack says the strain will flower for 8 weeks you can assume this is most likely correct. However, paying attention during this time period to find the best time to harvest your particular plants does pay off.
What you’re looking for is well-developed flowers that have swollen calyx or bracts, this is where a seed would normally develop. When buds are ready to harvest these seed pods swell and look full. The plants will have an increased aroma particularly right at harvest time. You’ll get a full representation of the bouquet of terpenes that particular strain offers. The pistils should be reddish brown and withering slightly, sometimes not all the of the pistils will fully change colour but if 85% or more have turned then it’s a good sign.
You can take it a step further and use a jewellers loupe to look directly at the trichomes. Fully opaque trichomes with the odd amber trichome are at the peak of THC production in a trichome. You can allow the trichomes to develop further, so they are predominately amber, this is considered to produce more of a narcotic or stoned effect. Each strain is already bred to produce certain effects however and aiming for peak THC production is probably a better tactic than experimenting with ripening times, however, it’s up to you.
It’s possible that your plants will also be changing colours as if it’s autumn. This is a sign that your plants have used their nutrients and are fading naturally. Don’t worry about this and try to feed them or fix them, this is perfectly natural and actually means you are more likely to have a smooth cure in the end.
Once you’re satisfied it’s time give your plants 24 hours of darkness. After this period you can cut your plants down by cutting them at the base. Remove any large fan leaves. Then it’s up to you whether you want to wet trim your product or dry trim. The essential difference is you are either trimming buds immediately upon harvest, or after a short drying period. Or you are drying the plants whole over a longer period of time.
If you decide to wet cure be sure to save any trimmings as they are likely to have significant amounts of trichomes on them. Dry trimming allows you to really see how the bud will be formed as you allow the extra water weight to evaporate off before trimming, leaving you with a true representation of the bud. When trimming for your own consumption you may choose to leave on more leaf matter that contains significant amounts of trichomes. You can also trim it off and process it into hash or edibles. Dried Cannabis can also be used to make dry sift hash.
If you are interested in Rosin or making ice water hash you can fresh freeze your buds either immediately upon harvest or after two or three days of drying. This helps lock in the flavour and terpenes that are usually lost during a long dry and cure. Then simply make ice water hash or press your fresh flowers in a rosin press, which many consider to be one of the greatest ways of enjoying fully flavoured Cannabis.
Once you’ve decided how you’d like to process your harvest you can easily set that plan into action. To dry your Cannabis simply allow to dry at a temperature around 20 degrees and below 50% humidity. The longer your drying takes the better the end product will turn out if you are planning on curing it to smoke. The Stealth Box is a great location to dry your harvest as it is equipped with a carbon filter to deal with any odour.
Once the stems inside the buds snap as opposed to bending you are ready to ready to begin curing. To Cure simply place your buds in a glass mason jar and allow to sit. After some time the flowers may release small amounts of moisture that were trapped inside the buds, this may appear as a fog on the glass. To allow this to evaporate simply open the jars daily for a few minutes to allow that moisture to escape. Keep up this process for the next two weeks. After two weeks you can most likely open the jars every few days. This is a great time to use a product that regulates humidity such as Boveda packs.
You can also try doing this whole process but keeping the jars in the fridge or freezer. Many people swear by this method as it helps preserves terpenes much longer. Keep your bud in the jars and set aside, the longer you can hold off from sampling the better the end product will be. You will for sure want to test out the fruits of your labour and that’s perfectly normal. You are encouraged to try some buds after a two-week cure and then set them aside to let them develop, don’t forget to open those jars every so often. After a couple months you will have a perfectly smokeable product you will be proud to have grown.