Every experienced grower recalls the feeling of their first harvest fondly. After months of hard work and dedication, the time comes at last to reap the rewards! It can be an extremely exciting time. However, often this excitement can lead to premature harvesting by newcomers.
It is important to know exactly when the right time to harvest is to avoid a bud that is too weak or too overbearing. Let’s go over the several different ways that you can tell when harvest time has come. PS. You can buy quality hemp seeds here.
How to Tell When It’s Harvest Time
There really is no perfect science behind determining exactly when your cannabis plants will be ready to harvest. In most cases, you will have to keep a close eye on it and determine for yourself. Although, there is a general guideline that you can follow to give you an idea of when to begin checking for signs of harvest.
- Indica strains are typically ready to harvest 8 weeks after flowering.
- Sativa strains are typically ready to harvest 10 weeks after flowering.
- Auto-flowering seeds are typically ready to harvest 10 weeks after the seedling phase.
These general timelines are suggestions and should not be your ‘gospel.’ For a more in-depth understanding of when your bud is ready to harvest, you will likely need to get more hands-on with the cannabis itself.
The Trichome Method & Pistil Method
While your seed bank will typically have a suggested harvesting time frame on the seeds themselves, this suggested time frame should never be relied upon. Instead, you should either use the ‘trichome’ method or the ‘pistil’ method.
The Trichome Method
Trichomes are the tiny little glands on the flower of the cannabis plant that produce the resin containing all of the terpenes and cannabinoids that we smoke cannabis for. Trichomes are a powerful indicator of when your cannabis is ready for harvest. However, they cannot be seen with the unaided eye. You will need to use a magnifying glass (a jeweler’s loupe is recommended).
Trichomes Can Not Be Seen with the Naked Eye
Normally trichomes are crystalline and clear in appearance. However, throughout the flowering stage, the trichomes will become milky and hazy in color. When the trichomes have become mostly milky with very little clarity, the cannabis is ready for harvest and has maximized THC content. If the trichomes have turned amber in color, you have waited too long.
The Pistil Method
Pistils are the tiny little ‘hairy’ growths that appear on the cannabis flower throughout the flowering stage. These tiny growths are important to the reproductive system of the cannabis plant and are where the seed will develop if the plant is pollinated.
Pistils Will Change Color
In the beginning, the pistils will appear white in color. However, over time, they will begin to change into reds, browns, or oranges, depending on the strain. Once at least half of the pistils have visibly changed color, the bud is ready to harvest. When 60-70% of them have changed color, you will have a more potent and ‘powerful’ bud.
Timing Is Everything!
It’s important to note that timing is everything when it comes to harvesting cannabis. If the trichomes are too clear or the pistils too white, the cannabis will be weak and lacking in the THC potency you are looking for. If the trichomes are left to turn amber, or the pistils become too dark, the cannabis will be too strong and have an unpleasant flavor and aroma.
Honing in on the proper technique and time frame for your crop will take some trial and error. Understand the general timeline of your strain and keep a watchful eye on the bud itself. Eventually, you will find the right formula for success!