Learning how to harvest marijuana plants properly is essential when cultivating your crop. It could be equally as important as the growing process itself. Each grower is responsible for the crop's flavor and aroma, plus drying and curing the crop right for improvement in each category. If you cure and store your marijuana properly, you will end up with a better end product. Every marijuana plant product improves with age, similar to wine. If you have not cured your crops by now, wait until you get the opportunity to taste the new results. To help you get an accurate method for your garden and crop size, we are going to offer three perspectives on how to harvest based on growing style and garden size. We will also explain additional information about curing, timing, potency and our personal recommendations about how to store your personal marijuana plant stash
Now that you made it to the end of the process, you are facing time to harvest. Instead of just wondering how to or when to harvest, we are trying to offer the insight to be a successful marijuana plant grower and harvester. We plan to show you the "do's" and the "don'ts" of a successful harvest and cure. First we will focus on harvesting. Timing here is crucial. You want to make sure to harvest when your marijuana plants are fully ripe. We have experienced a 5-7 day opening when your marijuana plants will be fully ripe without being overripe. To best ensure you are there, we recommend using a jeweler's magnifying lens, called a loupe. The better the magnification, the better you will be able to see the heads of the trichome at the ends of the resin glands, but do not go below 30x.
The color of the glands will vary depending on how ripe the THC glands are. They will start out clear, evolve to milky and wind up amber. There are a few exceptions, however, such as occasional outdoor varieties or "Purple Power" plants. The glands of these will be darker, almost appearing purple in color. You will notice that these three stages apply to nearly every variety of marijuana plant. Stage one is harvesting when the glands are clear. This will offer an "up" high that is cerebral, without much effect to the body. This is often considered too early because the THC is not mature enough to pass the psychoactive properties along to the smoker. We recommend you wait until at least 50% of the trichomes have turned milky. Stage two is the creamy or milky stage. Your plant has reached its potential, genetically, now. The trichomes that are still milky will give a combination of a cerebral and physical high at this point. Stage three is the amber stage. This will offer a much more physical stone with a sedative effect. If this is the goal you want, we commend using a hybrid of sativa/indica or using an indica dominant marijuana plant. The high off of a sativa plant is lessened once the glands become amber in many cases. This picture depicts a ripe marijuana plant where over 50% of the glands are milky with a few remaining clear and a few turning amber. Two days after this photograph was taken, the plant was harvested.
Want to read more about marijuana? Go to our marijuana grow guide.