So, grass-grower, you’ve taken your luscious ladies through the vegetative stage and most of bloom, as matter of fact you’re starting to think that your ladies are almost ready to harvest, it’s an exciting time. But take a step back and resist that consistent urge you’ll be feeling to pluck off a little bud and pack your bowl (you’ll like it more if its dried and cured). There is a last, all important phase that you should complete before even thinking about chopping down your trees.
This phase is going to help your buds become more flavorful and resinous, essentially making them more potent and desirable. I know you’re ready to harvest so, you’re probably sick of all these phases. But, you’ll thank me in the end, so don’t freak out man! Plus this phase is gonna be easy, so don’t sweat it. Just follow these steps two weeks before harvest, and you’ll be golden, but make sure that your trichs are fully mature before harvest (I’ll cover that too.)
Proceed to this final stage of growth in the final three weeks before projected harvest. Seed packages typically list a projected time frame for flowering stage completion, or even time frame of seed to harvest on the packages they are in. It’s always helpful to save the package for such information or have it recorded somewhere. Having said that, also know how old your plant is, and how long it’s been in each phase, its just good garden practice (even for ganja.) Once you have reached about two weeks before projected harvest you should you begin pre harvest.
Step One: Ditch the Humidity/ Stink Control
The first thing you should be doing for your pre harvest phase is to lower your humidity levels in your garden to range between 33% and 20% humidity. This will stress your ladies out, but in a very good way. The lower amounts of humidity during this stage of growth forces sinsimilla, (unseeded female cannabis flowers) to produce more resin and trichomes. Your ladies count on humidity to help keep her bud moist and fit for pollination. When your girls detect that the humidity is very low and outside of her preferred range, she stresses a little. To your benefit, she will up resin production that will be used to coat her buds. This will make her buds sticky and frosty in appearance, she is doing this to protect her buds from the dry climate for a couple more weeks, giving her a period of extra time to hopefully receive male pollen. This humidity stress has little impact on the plants overall flower development or production and will make your buds much more potent. I would definitely say this step is worth your while. In the last couple weeks of flowering your plants are gonna start to reach new levels of dankness. This is because the trichomes are developing and becoming more mature and more full of odor rich terpenes. A good air ciculation system with carbon filters can help immensely.
Step Two: Flush(Sort of) and Use Molasses
Slow down nutrient feedings and give you’re Mary Jane more plain unfertilized water with molasses. Give them regular feedings during week two before harvest, but stop the week before. Starting the final week before harvest, instead of adding liquid fertilizer to your watering’s(feedings) add 2 Tbsp of molasses per gallon of water used for watering. Drench your soil evenly everyday with the water molasses solution. Don’t forget to PH your water to a range between 6.5-5.5 even in this last phase. This is going to reduce the earthy taste some less fortunate growers get when they utilize nutes all the way until harvest. The molasses is going to bring out the more natural sweet aromas in your weed, which will nicely pair with the flavorful terpenes found in the resin. Feel free to start using molasses a couple times a week as early as 4 weeks before harvest; the microbes in your soil will love it too! Your microbes will help to utilize the remaining fertilizer in your soil to keep your ladies decently fed so all should be well. This step and the one prior are marks of a good grower, the ability to produce potent flavorful bud is a skill that enhances with experience.
If your growing ponically, either Hydro or Aero pre harvest is going to be a little bit different than those growing in potted soil, or soil-less mixtures. I’ll take a minute to touch on pre harvest for those of you growing with the ponics. For a small to average sized ganja plant, I’d recommend starting pre harvest preparations about a week to a week and half before cutting them down. For the first three to four days continue to feed your plants, but with extremely low levels of nutrient solution, maybe a half to a quarter of the strength of the nutrients you usually use. should be added, think of it as quickly weaning your plants from its food, this will keep your girls from getting too shocked by sudden loss of nutrients that plain water flushing does. For the last days of pre harvest give the roots plain water with molasses, around 1 tsp per gallon to help push flavor. Remember to PH the water you flush with as well, ponics should be kept between 5.5 and 5.7 :)
Lastly, before you get hasty and start cutting colas, check to make sure that your trichomes are fully mature, if they aren’t, You may want to give them more time to develop fully. Fully developed trichomes will have the look of a mushroom of sorts. It will have a stem with a bulbous round head. These trichs are the frosty sticky crystals that are all over your buds. It takes time for the trichomes to develop into a mushroom like shape and for most of the flower period remain strait and hair like. Once they have formed their round heads and turn from clear to slightly milky this means that your ladies are finally ready for harvest. Most of the trichomes should be fully developed as mentioned before your harvest your pot or you could be missing out on better quality buds. Once you’ve complted your pre harvest steps and have ensured your buds and trichomes are fully mature feel free to harvest you’re grow. Keep Growing!