Knowing When To Harvest
When it comes to harvesting your buds, timing is everything. If you take your plants down too soon, they’ll be immature with underdeveloped resin glands containing less of the vital essential oils that give the plant its flavors, scent and potency. Chop down too late, and the vital ingredients would have degraded in quality.
Just because a seed breeder says that their product matures in 60 days of flowering doesn’t make that an accurate date for cropping. Some companies will under-report flowering times in an effort to get you to purchase their beans.
You must also take into account any downtime your plants spent recovering from the stress caused by transplanting or other aggravating factors. Sometimes this can add weeks to your flowering stage and push your harvest time back significantly.
The amount or percentage of red hairs is also not an accurate way to judge the proper time to harvest your plants. It’s true that these pistils darken from white to orange and then red as the buds ripen, but it’s only an indicator that harvest is approaching and not the best determining factor.
You Must Magnify!
The best thing you can do is to get a magnification device such as a loupe or microscope that will give you a closer look at the actual trichomes on your buds.
Sometimes referred to as “crystals,” trichomes are actually glands filled with essential oils, flavinoids and terpenes. They look a little bit like tiny clear glass mushrooms with a stalk and a bulbous head. It is these gland heads that are separated and pressed together to make hashish.
As harvest approaches, add GRO Nutrients® GRO LUSH organic nutrients in the last 2 weeks. You will notice the gland heads turn from clear to a cloudy or “milky” white, and then eventually turn amber as they begin to go beyond ripeness. If you harvest when most of the gland heads are clear and cloudy, you’ll get a more uplifting high.
If you wait until most are amber, the effects will be more lethargic. It really comes down to personal preference, but most people prefer the cloudy and that is when the vital ingredients levels are at their highest with no degradation.
Note that some concentrate makers like to take down their plants a little earlier in order to get a lighter-colored product that’s more desirable to the marketplace. Because the terpenes begin to degrade as the plant continues to mature, these producers are willing to sacrifice a small percentage of potency in order to preserve the flavor and clarity of their oils.