Farmwork Friday: Harvest

Before you can get to the fun bits of cannabis, a lot of work has to go into the cultivation of the plant. Or, maybe you consider that the fun bit? Either way, we’re here to outline what the team at Elyon does to give you the best bud, from choosing the soil to harvesting the plants. Let’s get to (farm)work. 

Welcome to Croptober. It’s the best time of the year! Move over pumpkin spice lattes, croptober is the time for milky trichomes, sticky fingers and the smell of cannabis in the crisp, fall air. 

The Flowers of Your Labor

You’ve carefully watched your cannabis grow. You’ve shepherded it through the good times and bad. You lovingly planted, fed and pruned your plants. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits–or more properly, flowers–of your labor. Almost. The first step in harvest? Knowing when to harvest. Sounds simple enough but seasoned growers know that there is a tight window for the ideal harvest time.

Typically, sativa plants take a few weeks longer to reach maturity than indica. Sativa plants usually take approximately ten weeks while indica plants are ready in eight. With so many of the current plants being hybrids, however, it’s usually best to let the plants themselves tell you when they are ready instead of ticking off days on a calendar. 

Looks Like Weed

Like many plants, cannabis gives you visual cues as to when it’s ready to be harvested. Probably the most important, and most exact, is the color of the trichomes, the little crystal-looking hairs that grow on the plant. The trichomes are what contain the cannabinoids and terpenes so it’s key to harvest the plant when the trichomes are the right color. If your trichomes are clear, it’s too early. They should be milky or amber. At Elyon, we’re looking for about a 50/50 mix. Generally, milky trichomes will give you an energetic high whereas amber-colored trichomes will produce a heavier sedative, more couch-locked experience. 

Pistils (more properly known as stigmas) are the hair-looking hairs that grow on the plants and will also change color come harvest time. During flowering, they’ll emerge as white. But as the plant matures the pistils will curl and deepen in color, usually changing to orange. When 70-80 percent of the pistils are orange, it’s time to harvest. At Elyon, we’re shooting for a 70 to 30 ratio of orange to white. If you leave them too long, the pistils will start to turn brown – a sign that the THC has started to degrade and convert to CBN. 

Another sign? It just looks like weed. At some point, the plant goes from looking like a plant to looking like something you definitely want to roll up and smoke. A telltale sign. 

Flush It Good

Now that you know it’s about time to harvest, you’ll want to plan on flushing your cannabis. This is the process of getting all the fertilizer and any potential negative or harsh chemicals out of the cannabis. You literally flush them out by feeding the plant only pure water. At Elyon, we flush for (at least) ten days. Because all the nutrients are used up or flushed out, the plants will become a rainbow of colors. It’s not rare to see pinks and purples, all on the same plant. If the plants aren’t properly flushed, the flavor of the cannabis can be harsh and unpleasant. 

Tools of the Trade

Flushed it real good? Now you’re finally ready. No fancy tools necessary. As long as you have a good pair of clippers, some gloves, a bucket of alcohol to sanitize you are good to go. At Elyon, we set up stations to inspect the branches as they are cut to ensure no mold enters the drying room. And that’s a wrap on harvest. Oh, one last harvest necessity? A good speaker for the harvesters. 

 

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