Are you wondering when it’s the right time to harvest your marijuana plants? Why do I stop feeding nutrients and flush before harvest?
Whether you are starting out as cannabis grower or someone who is experienced, taking the time to learn the importance of these two things will ensure that your buds reach maximum potency, which is smooth and tasty to smoke.
Determine the perfect time to harvest
Harvesting time begins when your marijuana plant has gone through the whole flowering phase and is starting to decline in its overall health.
You can tell when the harvest is almost ready when you see your plant has almost stopped growing new pistils or white hairs. When more than half of the pistils have already darkened or starting to curl in, you’re good to go.
Most growers use the trichomes to help them decide when cannabis is ready to harvest. These trichomes are the tiny crystal like hairs on the flower of your plant that produce the resin where all that THC goodness is. At the beginning of the cycle, the trichomes are only little balls. As the plant matures, more elongated trichomes appear, featuring a mushroom shape. The ideal time to harvest is when the trichomes are milky white, and some are amber.
One more thing you should notice is the soil. Once the plant is ready for harvesting, it will not consume as much water like in the stages before. When the soil becomes extremely dense, you’re getting close to the harvest window.
You will want to do some research about the particular strain that you are growing. After all, they might be among this group of strains that do not exhibit the usual signs that the plants are now ready for harvest.
Importance of flushing pre-harvest
If you’ve never heard of “flushing” before, it’s simply the process of giving your cannabis plants pH-neutral water for a period of time (except without any added nutrients). The majority of marijuana growers perform a final flush one week before harvest. But why do they do it? This is done to remove excess buildup of salts and nutrients that build up overtime. It also helps to create a pure taste of the marijuana, and much smoother smoke after harvest.
The process is generally as easy as it sounds; however, knowing when to flush is critical. When growing in soil, we recommend that you flush about two weeks before harvesting, toward the end of the growth cycle. When those trichomes begin to form a cloudy white color, you’ll know it’s time for a flush. It’s a big mistake to start flushing too early. While you don’t want excess minerals, you don’t want to deprive your plant of the nutrients it needs to flourish. If it doesn’t get the right amount of nutrients during the most critical parts of the flowering stage, you’re putting the quality and potency at stake.
Keep an eye out for yellowing
It’s a great time to observe what a plant will look like if it has too few nutrients. A few days after flushing, you should notice signs of nitrogen deficiency. Keep in mind this is just normal. When timed correctly, the leaves will have some yellowing at the ends, which will give them an unsightly look.
The only way to really find out yourself if flushing makes a difference is to conduct an experiment of your own. Here are 3 easy steps to flushing your cannabis plants for better tasting buds.
Step 1: Always check the pH levels before watering your plants. The ideal pH range for garden soil is between 6.0-6.8. And can be low as 5.8 for hydroponic systems. When the pH level is higher or lower than the correct range, the nutrients become less available because the nutrients won’t dissolve as well.
Step 2: Give your cannabis plants large amounts of water for 5 days. Then stop feeding your plants 1-2 days before harvest and let the soil dry as normal. Doing this will help speed up the drying process without effecting the finished product.
Step 3: After harvest, take the time for the cure. Plan carefully where you will dry your cannabis buds before cutting your plants. Hang each branch upside-down in a cool, dark place to keep them fresh longer. This is to keep them away from any mold and mildew that may cause your buds to rot. Leave buds to dry over the next 5-10 days. Make sure the temperature is around 68°-84°F with humidity around 50%-60%. Your buds are ready for curing once they are dry to the touch but you can bend the stems without them snapping.
One final growers tip: If you want to get the most of your harvest each year, you should incorporate a cannabis clearing solution into your feeding schedule. To get rid of old nutrients and salt built up around the roots during the final stages of growth, we recommend you purchase a bottle of our Grotek Final Flush ™ at Best Bud’s Forever. This solution is also effective when you need to correct over feeding or desalinization of reusable growing media.
There is so much more to know and learn about growing marijuana – especially if this is your first harvest. Luckily, with the right guidance and information at your fingertips, you can be on your way to properly flushing and harvesting your cannabis plants without too much difficulty (we make it easy). You still need to put your newly harvested buds through the cannabis curing process. Stay tuned for our next blog!
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