Harvesting Cannabis

Now you know your cannabis history, you know the laws and you know how to grow. Maybe you even have some healthy cannabis plants growing at your home. Now what? 

Paul Witt of both Kief Cultivation Services and Blue Ridge Hydroponics will tell you even if you’ve done everything right up until this point, the cultivation process is where people can ruin the whole thing. 

If you’ve never harvested your own cannabis before you likely have a lot of questions. And Witt has your answers. 

As he explains it, when people start gardening in general, they have lots of friends and family who’ve done it before. It’s easy to ask for advice. Less so with the crop in question.

“A lot of people don’t want their neighbors to know.” Witt says with a grin. They’re hesitant to ask around because they’re afraid of judgement. 

Witt is discrete. There’s nothing on his truck that gives anything away to prying eyes. 

In conjunction with Kief Cultivation, Blue Ridge Hydroponics hosts classes where Witt teaches prospective growers all that they need to know about growing and harvesting, but sometimes people want a little extra help. When it gets down to the work of farming, it can be easier to learn when there is an experienced grower physically present. 

What Do I Do Once My Cannabis Is Fully Grown?

One of the biggest pitfalls people run into when it’s time to enjoy their crop is rushing it. Again, to compare it to the proverbial tomato, it’s not like you can just pick it off the vine and put it on a sandwich. There are 3 to 4 stages in the cannabis harvest process.

Harvesting Your Cannabis Buds

There are different ways to harvest your plants. Different growers have their preferences. You can pick the buds (blossoms), branches,  or even whole plants. Since cannabis is a determinate crop, you won’t be using the same plant to grow more buds.

Which method you choose might also depend on the weather. If you’re growing outdoors while it’s particularly hot and dry, Paul Witt recommends taking down the whole plant so that they dry at a steady rate. 

Drying Your Harvest

Generally speaking the drying process takes about 2 weeks. You ideally want to dry your plants at 60 degrees with 60 percent humidity. Don’t ruin the crop by rushing it! 

Once you can snap the stem, your blossoms are dry. 

Even after you dry your buds fully, it’s not yet time to partake. 

Burping Your Buds

The next step in the process is caused burping. To burp your buds, you place them in a container with some space for them to breath. Once a day open the lid and take them out to examine them.

You will likely notice that there is some moisture in them again.

What’s happening is that the deeper parts that didn’t yet dry are releasing their moisture to the more peripheral levels. 

When you open the container you’re allowing moisture once again to release. After a few minutes you can close the container again.

After repeating the burping each day, there will come a day when the moisture content seems to be a bout the same 2 days in a row. At that point your buds are ready. It usually takes about 2 weeks. 

Curing Your Cannabis

Now comes a choice.

At this point you can use your cannabis and many people do, but the weed connoisseurs recommend waiting and curing the your harvest. The longer it’s cured the more flavor the buds get. In fact, in cannabis competitions like the High Times Cannabis Cup, Weedcon Buyer’s Cup, and The Emerald Cup,  winning crops are typically cured for at least 6 months. 

Now, given that, sometimes you just don’t feel like waiting. So curing is optional. 

If you do choose to cure your harvest keep it in a dark, cool and dry place for the whole process.

Some people also use the smaller, less usable leaves around the blossom for making oils or other edibles. Currently, Virginia law does allow home growers to make cannabis concentrate which includes the use of edibles. Keep an eye on laws though as this may change. 

Going Forward

Throughout the Blue Ridge Hydroponics Blogs we’ve given you a primer on how you can grow your own cannabis, how things got to be the way they are and now what to do once it’s grown. 

Hopefully you feel like you’re more ready to grow your own cannabis than before reading but we know there is a lot more to see and know. 

Remember you can always come down to the store and ask questions or take one of our classes. 

And if you still want more hands-on help Paul Witt says “I like to think I’m pretty easy to work with.”