If you sowed your cannabis seeds outdoors in late spring or started growing indoors in early spring and then brought them outside, you can start preparing for harvest in late summer or early fall. A necessary protocol for outdoor cultivation is planning deadlines and time for each phase of cultivation which requires a lot of patience.
It is also good to always be attentive to the environment where it is grown, especially in the last weeks before the harvest because even though there may be a few weeks to go, you should monitor the buds of your cannabis plants and look for signs of ripening. The indicators to look for are the pistils and trichomes of the plant. The pistils (hairs) on your mature buds will start to turn red/brown as harvest day approaches. When the buds show more than 50% of that color, you have the first sign that they are ready for harvest. However, the most reliable guide is the trichomes on the buds. When these turn from transparent to milky-white, it means that you can start cutting.
Signs to cultivate: The color of the trichomes
At the beginning of the text, we said that the color of the trichomes is the fundamental signal to know when you can harvest the plants. At this point, we are going to dive deeper on this topic. As we know, trichomes are found in the flowers and leaves of the plant. On many occasions, it can be difficult for you to see the trichomes in detail with the naked eye. For this reason, we recommend using a magnifying glass, a digital microscope, or a jeweler’s loupe to take a closer look and depending on the phase of flowering the plant is in, the trichomes can show different sizes, shapes, and most importantly, colors.
If the trichomes are translucent in color, the plant still produces resin in its glands. This is not the ideal time to harvest and the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes are not at their peak concentration. Usually, when the first month of flowering is over, the plants look very tempting but you must have a little more patience because they are not ready yet.
This indicates that cannabinoid production is at its peak. A cannabis plant is usually ready to harvest when half of its trichomes resemble cloudy white hairs. This can result in a more uplifting and energizing effect for some users.
You must be careful if you reach this point in the maturation of your plants during flowering because the amber color is a sign that the THC has begun to deteriorate. This means that the plant can produce more sedative sensations because the buds tend to produce CBN in this phase. On the contrary, if what you want is to be high and glued to the sofa or even feel sensations of drowsiness and pain relief, then you should wait until you have between 50% and 60% of amber trichomes to proceed to cut your plants.
Many growers like a mixture of milky and amber trichomes, although the proportions of the division are reduced according to individual taste. If you are looking for cerebral effects, the trichomes should be cloudier than brown. Some breeders prefer a closer 50:50 split between cloudy and amber trichomes for a balanced mind and body effect.
The importance of the genotype and the flowering type
The genotype of the cannabis plants is very important when it comes to harvesting your weed plants because you cultivate mostly indica genetics differently than a sativa strain. For example, pure indica strains need 8-10 weeks for the entire flowering cycle indoors while outdoors, they can be harvested at the end of September. In contrast, pure sativa strains can take a 10 to 14 week flowering period indoors and you can generally harvest them outdoors in early to mid November.
In addition, indica genetics have other characteristics that also influence when to harvest such as their compact structure with resistant stems and branches that can withstand low temperatures due to their origins in the mountains of countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Morocco. The growth is compact and its flowering is very short, therefore you will be able to harvest them outdoors before the first autumn rains. When grown outdoors, these plants do not usually exceed 3 meters, although they tend to need space to grow wide. For this reason, it is good to have a large space outdoors for the cultivation of these genetics. The use of lateral meshes is essential to control the size and give support to the side branches that are packed with heavy buds.
Sativa marijuana plants appear in the intertropical zones of the planet in countries such as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico, India, China, and other African countries such as the Congo, MalawI, or South Africa, among others. These plants are the complete opposite of indica marijuana plants. They are strains that have a tall, slender structure with finer and more malleable stems. Its leaves are fine, thin, light green in color, and are easy to differentiate between its indica sisters. What matters most to us is that the flowering is usually longer, therefore gardeners must have patience for the harvest.
The buds of sativa plants are also different from those of indicas. The sativas, coming from countries that are located in the tropics where there is a lot of humidity and high temperatures, have had to adapt to the environment. By adapting to places with continuous humidity, they have created open, loosely packed, spongy buds that allow air to pass between the buds, facilitating the exit of moisture from the flower to the outside and thus preventing the buds from filling with fungi such as the botrytis.
We can’t forget about the hybrid strains which are the result of crossing two plants, one indica and one sativa. After the crossing, a new strain arises that can retain genes from both the mother and the father. Depending on the presence of the genes of each strain, it may be that a plant emerges with more connotations of an indica plant than a sativa plant or vice versa. Here, we must clarify that the mostly indica hybrid genetics will be ready to be harvested depending on their parents, although in general, they can be harvested outdoors between the end of September and the beginning of October. On the other hand, mostly sativa hybrid genetics can tend to have a slightly longer flowering and you will harvest them between mid-October and the end of the same month.
The importance of the type of seed: Feminized, Regular, Fast Version, Autoflowering
It is good to keep in mind that cannabis plants will change their flowering time also depending on whether they are feminized, regular, fast version, or autoflowering. If we look at autoflowering strains, we will realize that the great advantage of autoflowering seeds is the speed with which they develop. Flowering times change depending on the variety but with any automatic, you know that in a maximum of about 3 months, your plants will be harvested with a flowering cycle of 1.5 months maximum in most of the current autoflowering strains.
Fast Version genetics, despite being photodependent, usually have a shorter flowering period than regular or feminized plants, allowing gardeners to save up to 2 weeks in cultivation. The Fast Version or Fast Blooming varieties allow shorter blooms because in their DNA, they contain plant genetics from Ruderalys which shortens the flowering period of their specimens while maintaining qualities such as potency, flavor, and large harvests as well as a feminized strain.
For feminized and regular genetics, we must take into account that their flowering periods will depend on whether they are indica, sativa, or hybrid. Therefore, depending on the parents that make up each variety of weed, they will have a certain flowering. As we already know, we must wait a little longer to harvest these cannabis plants in relation to autoflowering and fast version plants.
Step by step to harvesting outdoors
Start the preparations for the harvest 2 to 3 weeks before cutting the plants with the washing of the roots in order to eliminate the remains of fertilizers and additives that can contaminate the flavor of your buds. When you grow plants outdoors in soil, they do not require root washing because they occupy a large area of territory, unlike growing in pots where the plants do need cleaning. Once the roots have been washed, you can stop watering the plants until the day of harvest because they remain hydrated with the moisture that is concentrated in the substrate.
As a second step, you must have the drying space ready and arranged for the process with the necessary precautions due to the aromas that the cut plants give off. Other relevant details include the temperature that must be between 20° and 22° with low levels of humidity and complete darkness to ensure proper drying. Maintain your crop continuously, avoiding interruptions and always follow the cycles completely so that the plants can be at their optimal point. Do not forget that by following each step of this guide before, during, and after the harvest, you will obtain better buds with more resin, better aromas, and delicious flavors.
It is recommended to harvest the plants in the morning because at this time, they concentrate higher levels of THC. Before harvesting, you must prepare the scissors that you will use to cut the plant as they must be sterilized. You must also have latex gloves to prevent the resin from sticking to your fingers and leaving them black. Now, perhaps you let your plants dry with the buds full of leaves and without trimming. In this case, it is good that you cut the plant from the central stem, extracting the largest branches and also the small ones.
To the above, you must add a cleaning of the largest leaves or satellites of the plants and you must proceed to hang it in a dry, dark place with a good temperature. Otherwise, if you manicure the buds of your plants in a wet way, you can harvest your girls, cutting branch by branch, cleaning each one of the buds and then proceed to hang the branches in their drying place.
If you have little space, it is best to manicure your plants wet. It is also recommended if you grow in a humid environment as the buds will dry faster. As we already pointed out, you must extract the leftover branches and leaves from the buds. In contrast, when you do dry trimming, you must hang the entire plant and after 2-3 weeks of drying, remove any excess leaves and branches.
Below, we recommend 3 cannabis strains from our catalog, focusing on short-flowering varieties. You can buy these weed seeds in our online store and to ensure a very abundant harvest in record time with great flavors, beautiful effects, and large buds.
This strain of mostly indica weed called TOP 44 is perfect for people who want heavy yields, ranging from 1.47-1.64g/ft2 indoors and most importantly, 14-17oz/plant outdoors. In addition, flowering is very fast outdoors and gardeners only need between 6-7 weeks to harvest, obtaining buds with a potency of 18%-20% THC that take you on a journey that mixes a great relaxation with gentle activation.
We can say that the short flowering of TOP44 allows it to be cultivated in different environments such as sunny and dry places with long days and outdoor growing seasons. It can also be grown in places where the growing season is shorter and the rains come faster because you do not need to withstand the first autumn rains thanks to its short flowering, avoiding problems with mold and other types of fungi that is harmful to plants.
After growing and smoking Sweet Zombie Auto, you are going to feel like a real zombie because this variety only needs between 6-8 weeks to flower For this reason, you can start growing it outdoors from mid to late April to harvest between early and the end of July which is the perfect time as it allows up to 2 harvests in a single season.
Sweet Zombie Auto also turns you into a cannabis zombie due to its delicious flavor that is sweet and fruity and accompanied by THC levels of 18%-20% that generate an absolutely relaxing effect that can melt you on the couch. Do not forget that the best way to grow an autoflowering variety to achieve the maximum possible production is organically, using beneficial fungi such as mycorrhizae and trichodermas to promote the maximum development of the plant and protect it at the same time.
Among the new generation genetics, Blue Cookies Fast Version stands out as a true champion because its flowering, only needs 6-8 weeks, making it perfect for outdoor crops where the weather can be a little colder than normal and where the growing season tends to be shorter. This variety is mostly indica and stands out because its THC levels are high (between 18%-20%), generating effects including sensations of absolute relaxation accompanied by certain moments of creativity.
If you want to have heavy yields, you should know that Blue Cookies Fast Version is going to deliver yields of 19-22 oz/plant outdoors which is great. And indoors, you collect 1.14-1.47g/ft2 of buds that release sweet flavors, herbal notes, and some berry aftertastes, providing a subliminal mix for your palate that you feel in each puff. Now you know everything you need to know about when to harvest outdoor crops. Do not miss the offers and all the promotions at Blimburn as we have the best cannabis seeds for obtaining great weed plants in your cultivation projects. See you on the next blog with more information and cannabis education. Until next time…