A Guide to Harvesting Autoflowering Marijuana
If you choose to cultivate autoflowering feminized marijuana seeds, then it is as important to know the right way and time to harvest them than how to grow them. The great thing about autos is that they usually only take up to 8-12 weeks to be ready to go and all it takes is a few simple steps.
Let’s take a closer look into what exactly are autoflowering seeds and the best way to go about harvesting them.
Autoflowering feminized marijuana seeds
Basically, autoflowering seeds grow plants that bloom depending on their maturity and not their photoperiod or light cycle. They are short plants that don’t need too much maintenance and require just minimal amounts of nutrients. These are the types of seeds that are great for beginners and are ideal to be grown outdoors.
To learn more about autoflowering cannabis seeds click here.
Why harvesting right is important
After so many weeks of caring for your autos, doing the wrong thing come harvest time can bring all your hard work down the drain. Harvesting your crop too early can lead to your buds having a lower THC and CBD content than they should. Leaving it off too late can also degrade the THC levels the buds have already developed.
Steps to harvesting Autoflowering marijuana
The process of harvesting isn’t just cutting off the buds and calling it a day. There is more to it than that. Taking care about how you harvest your crop is just as crucial as germinating your auto seeds the right way. Here are the steps to do it right:
- Flush out your crops
A week or so before you harvest your buds, it is important to flush them out of any chemicals like the added nutrients and fertilizer you’ve put into the plants. This will not only affect your terpene profile but also taint the buds you get. This is easily done with pure water or even a light flushing solution.
- Remove big leaves
The great thing about autoflowering cannabis strains is that there really isn’t that much need for pruning. The only reason why you should do this in the weeks before harvest is to ensure that the plants get as much light exposure they can and to also see the buds better. You don’t have to prune all the leaves just the big fan ones to have easier access to your buds when they are ready.
- Find the right harvest time
This step is critical to be able to produce the best buds possible with their peak potency. There will be tell-tale signs of the plants being ready and it is important to keep an eye out for them before you start cutting. If one or more of these signs are showing, you can now start cutting. Here are a few:
One of the best ways to find out if your autoflowering strains are ready for harvest is to check with the breeder’s schedule that you’ll find on the seed packet. Now, this is only a rough time estimate and shouldn’t be taken too literally. With this approximate timeline, you can be ready for harvest and start checking if your plants show other signs of harvest as well.
The best way to ensure that your autos have as much time to level up their CBD content as possible is to keep from harvesting until the time is ripe. You can tell this by the amount of water the plants will take. Usually, when your plant doesn’t absorb as much water as they always do, it means that there is no new growth and is ready to be harvested. If the soil around your plants are still damp a couple of days after you’ve watered them, that means that they are good to pick.
Amount of trichomes
One of the tell-tale signs that your buds are ready to be picked is based on the number of trichomes you’ll see on each bud. When there are more and more trichomes frosting up your flowers, this usually means that your autoflower has reached the end of its life.
The best way to see if your autoflowering cannabis strains are ready to be harvested is when you start seeing some yellow leaves. This is a great sign that you should start flushing your plants and getting ready to pick your buds out. Once these yellow leaves fall out then your good to go.
Small leaves drying out or curling
Another surefire way to see if your buds are at the end of their life cycle is when the sugar leaves around the buds start curling inward and drying out.
- Work your way down
Once you’ve determined that the time is right for your harvest, you can now start cutting them down. Work one bud at a time starting with the top bud down the stalk of the plant.
- Manicure your buds
Once all your buds are cut down, it is important to trim off all the leaves and sugar leaves from them. Some prefer to leave them in until the drying process is done but this only makes the time they have hanging take longer. It can also make the stalks of the leaves harder to cut. But if you prefer that method and it works for you, you are definitely free to go that route.
- Drying Buds
This is the process of hanging your buds up to dry in a cool, dark room for a couple of days. This seeps out all the moisture from the flowers making them ready for smoking. You can do this in a drying rack or just a plain old tray.
- Curing your buds
This is probably one of the most important steps to preserving your buds and making sure that you have a smoother smoking experience. Colorado Pot Guide says that
“Proper curing stops the degradation process before volatile compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids evaporate or transform into less favorable compounds.”
Doing this right and not skipping this process will make a world of difference. It may seem like too much of a wait when you’ve already harvested, but this will be rewarding in the long run.