Harvesting the crop is a straightforward business, but there are a few things to know before you start the process.
Before beginning, prepare a good, strong elixir of equals parts chilled vodka and water. The vodka (cooled to zero degrees celsius), will shock the roots into closing up and will actually make them stop functioning. This is exactly what you want, since the goal is to dehydrate the plant.
Pull the plants up after an entire day of strong, consistent sunlight, but be careful not to disturb the root ball any more than necessary. Try not to leave mud on the roots, but don’t leave any roots behind as well. Ideally, you’ll be able to extract the roots with just a few grains of mud on them, which will it make it easier to clean them later.
Wash the root ball clean with pure cold water – as cold as possible. This shocks the roots into contracting and closing up, which is what is wanted right now. When the roots stop functioning, the plant will wither and die. Leave the roots of the plant in the vodka and water solution for about an hour. After that, don’t rinse the root, just leave the root ball with the vodka on it. The plant will wither quickly using this method. Florists use this trick to quickly perk up their flowers temporarily. The drawback, to them, is that the plant withers very quickly. For cannabis cultivators, it’s exactly what we want.
This withering produces more oils in the plant. THC is an oil and your plant, slowly starving, will produce it in higher quantities if the roots are properly shocked, which dehydrates the entire plant.
Next, hang the plant in a cool, lighted area. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t necessary to hang it upside down – either way will work. The plant should actually get some light during the drying stage. This allows the plant to do what it does best – produce life-giving and dehydration-fighting oils. Keep the temperature constant and keep the light on it. The slowly dehydrating plant will become rife with THC-bearing oils.
When the leaves are dry and leathery, start stripping them from the stalk, leaving behind the buds. The buds will take longer to dry than the thin leaves will, so leave the buds on the stem for another day or two.
At the end of a couple of days of drying, the buds should have shrunk just a little because they’re dehydrating. Strip them from the stalk and roll them in newspaper. Put them in a cool, dry place for a few days. The newspaper sucks the moisture from the buds very quickly and leaves you with some very high-grade bud.
The longer the buds are in the newspaper, the better will be the smoke. Marijuana is like fine wine – aged is usually the better way to go. Keep the grass not presently being smoked wrapped in newspaper in sealed gallon jars and the smoke will be smooth and tasty. This easy-to-follow method for harvesting and curing the crop beats putting them in the oven for a few minutes to dry them out.
How do you harvest and cure your buds? Share your tips in the comments.