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how long before you can harvest marijuana seeds

When Is the Exact Time to Harvest Cannabis Plants?

You have observed your buds for months and waited for your cannabis plants to mature. Eventually, there comes a time when you have to decide to harvest. It isn’t as easy to choose the ideal time as you might think. In the excitement of collecting your cannabis for the first time, you could cut it down far too early. As a result, you miss out on the full effects of the herb.

The flowering time of cannabis varies depending on the strain.

For most growers, there are two methods of determining when your plants are in peak harvest. There is the pistil method and the trichome method. The former only requires your eyes. The latter involves the use of a magnifying glass, such as a jeweler’s loupe.

Harvest timing is arguably the trickiest aspect of growing marijuana for newbies. If you do it too early, you reduce the overall potency of your cannabis. If you leave it too late, your weed will have an excessively strong taste and an unwanted narcotic effect. In this guide, we provide you with details on the best time to harvest. We also provide information on what you can expect during the process.

Best Time to Harvest Your Cannabis Crop

After several weeks in the flowering phase, your marijuana plant will begin to decline in health. Once most of the pistils (the hairs found on the buds) have turned red, it is potentially too late. The marijuana you harvest could lack the psychoactive effects that you desire (there are caveats). During the latter stages of flowering, the trichomes on your plants become amber.

They ultimately reach their peak level of THC. If you haven’t already harvested by now, the psychoactive cannabinoid starts to break down after being exposed to UV rays and oxygen. Over time, the THC becomes cannabinol (CBN). While this particular cannabinoid has some apparent medicinal properties, it lacks the ‘high’ provided by THC. Indeed, CBN is known for its sedative properties. Therefore, it is ideal if you have insomnia and need a night time smoke.

As a rule of thumb, indica plants are ready for harvesting after eight weeks, while sativas need ten weeks. Autoflowers require 7-10 weeks in total from seedling to bud. However, you can’t take these recommendations as a guarantee. Therefore, you have the option of using one of these two methods to determine the right time to harvest.

Learn the growing basics…

The Pistil Method

When the majority of the pistils on your plants are white and straight, it is far too early to harvest. You probably have to wait several more weeks. Once you reach the point where 50% of the pistils achieve a brown/reddish color (and begin to curl in), you are very close to harvesting time.

When 70% of the pistils have darkened, you can harvest for the highest amount of THC. Once 80-85%+ of the pistils darken, it is time to collect if you want marijuana that offers a calmer effect. If you leave it too long, your cannabis will lose most of its psychoactive properties.

However, some growers believe the pistil method is ineffective. Conventional wisdom, as we stated above, is that allowing 90% of pistils to change color is terrible news. In reality, many growers say they experience a different type of high, one that is heavier. Others say their pistils completely change color and still produce weed that does the job. For them, it is all about trichomes.

The Trichome Method

Unless you have Superman’s vision, it is impossible to do this method with the naked eye. We recommend purchasing a handheld microscope with a range between 30x and 100x. You will need it to check the trichomes (resin glands) found on your plants’ buds and adjacent foliage. Ideally, you will use a microscope that illuminates the foliage, so you receive an unshaded view of the trichomes.

In case you weren’t aware, trichomes are the crystals you see growing on the buds and leaves. They are the reason why your marijuana is so sticky, and they play a significant role in the potency of your crop. You’re looking for trichomes that resemble miniature mushrooms, resin glands with a little ball on top.

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Once there is a large number of ‘mushroom’ trichomes, your marijuana has effectively reached maximum potency. Pay attention to color as well. Plants with clear trichomes are not ready for harvest. In contrast, weed with milky white or amber trichomes is primed for harvest. If the trichomes are all amber, you’ve left it too late!

Here is a list of magnifying tools you can purchase for the trichome method.

Jeweler’s Loupe

It isn’t a hi-tech piece of equipment. However, a loupe should offer enough magnification for an accurate reading on whether your plants are ready for harvest. You can find loupes for under $20, but most of them only offer a magnification level of 40x or less.

Handheld Magnifier

This is probably the best option because it gives you a mixture of quality and value. It offers a higher degree of magnification than a loupe. While it is typically more expensive, it is comfortably within the budget of most growers.

Digital Microscope

This is clearly the most expensive option, but it also provides you with the most accurate reading. There are numerous digital microscopes with a magnification of well above 100x. However, you’re really paying for convenience. With a digital lens, you can connect it to your computer to see the images on the screen.

What Is the THC Level in Your Cannabis at Harvest Time?

Overall, the ‘perfect’ time for harvesting depends on what you’re seeking. For instance, if you want marijuana that acts as a sedative, wait until the pistils of the plant are almost entirely amber. That way, you will have weed with a high CBN content. However, for the highest level of THC, you should consider harvesting when 70-90% of the pistils have changed color.

Alternatively, wait until the resin on your plants has darkened in color ever so slightly. For buds with the highest level of THC, look at the trichomes through your magnifying device. When you see clear trichomes, it is a sign that the buds are still developing. Assuming you have your crop close by, it is best to monitor the trichomes as often as possible. This is a fascinating time because your plant is very close to reaching maturity.

How to Perfectly Time Your Marijuana Harvest (Every Time)

By 2024, the American marijuana industry is expected to be worth $37 billion. And there’s a good reason why — marijuana has many uses, from medicinal to recreational enjoyment. Since marijuana use is increasing, more people are growing their own marijuana and some are even starting a small cannabis harvesting business.

But, growing marijuana isn’t as simple as starting an herb garden. For example, timing your cannabis harvest can be difficult.

But don’t be intimidated — Trim Daddy can help you better time your marijuana harvest. We’ve compiled our very own guide to improve your cannabis production process.

Timing Your Harvest

Accurately timing your plants is challenging because every marijuana plant and strain is different. Here are some factors to consider during the flowering and harvesting phases.

1. Strain Type and Flowering Time

The first way to approach harvest timing is by looking at the type of strain. You should harvest Indica strains before Sativa strains. Indica harvest time takes eight weeks after flowering and Sativa strains take ten weeks after flowering.

During the flowering phase, it’s essential to pay attention to your plant’s growth and progression. The first few weeks are especially important — you’ll not only need to properly feed them but ensure they have plenty of space to grow.

Keep in mind that if you’re using Autoflower seeds, your timeline may be a bit different, depending on your strain.

Week one is when you’ll see the most growth. This is why week one is also called the “stretch phase.”

During week two, your plant may develop pistils. Pistils are extremely important to marijuana maturity, more on those a little later on.

The growing and stretching will slow down during week three. You may also see the first signs of developing buds.

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Growing usually stops at week four. During this phase, you should make sure the buds are growing. Check the buds every day to ensure they’re getting larger. They also may start producing trichomes during this time.

Week five is characterized by thickening buds as well as new bud formation. This is a sure sign your plant is in full flowering mode.

Week six marks the end of the flowering stage. Not all strains take as long to mature, so it’s vital you pay close attention to your plant’s progress. While milky white trichomes are a sure sign of maturity, there are other ways to determine maturity. A few other methods are mentioned below.

2. Stem Strength

Lots of stem growth issues can occur during the flowering and pre-flowering phases. Fragile and weak stems usually indicate a problem and can even prevent your plant from maturing. But if your stems are strong, this may signal the plant is in the later flowering stages.

3. Resin Level

Harvesting buds based on resin level is a little controversial; some plants are ready to harvest when resin trichomes are at their THC concentration peak and other strains still need to wait a few more days after this time.

If you’re judging harvesting by resin level, keep your strain in mind. As stated earlier, Indicas should be harvested earlier than Sativas — when the resin glands are developed but not fully ripened. Extending the harvesting time will impact the effects.

4. Leaf Color

Another indication that it’s time to harvest cannabis plants are when the leaves change color. During the flowering phase, the leaves will be a healthy green color. As they enter the harvesting phase, the leaves turn a yellow or yellow-brown color.

5. Pistils

We promised more about pistils – we wouldn’t leave you hanging. When pistils first form, they look similar to little white hairs. As the plant matures, the pistils will darken and curl inward. If there’s a combination of dark and white pistils, your plant is not ready for harvest.

6. Trichomes

Most growers use the trichome strategy to determine when marijuana is ready to harvest. They use a magnifying glass or magnifier to study the trichomes.

Harvest-ready trichomes are milky-white, almost looking like plastic. These vivid trichomes also mean the plant has potent THC and/or CBD levels.

If the trichomes still look clear and glassy, your plant isn’t ready for harvest. If you harvest your plant too early, the effects won’t be as potent.

Some growers also let marijuana plants harvest after the trichomes turn milky white. They will turn an amber color; while the effects won’t be as intense, you’ll still get a cerebral sensation. Waiting this long to harvest depends on the strain you’re growing.

Fundamentals of Marijuana Harvesting

Everyone has a different growing and harvesting process. But are there any specific best practices?

Harvesting Best Practices

There are a few steps to complete before, during, and after harvesting:

  • Know your trimming strategy (explained below) and drying process ahead of time
  • Remove all large fans and water leaves between five and ten before cutting the buds
  • Don’t forget to clean and sanitize your trimming, handling, and drying areas
  • Have a plan for how you’ll safely store and transport your crop , if necessary

Following these few extra steps will ensure harvesting and drying will be flawless.

For more details on how to handle your crop after harvesting, check out our After Harvest guide.

When to Trim

There is not one ‘best and most impactful’ way to trim your plant, but your trimming method can impact consumption results. It’s generally recommended to trim before drying your cannabis. Drying makes the resin glands brittle; trimming when your plant is dry will risk resin gland loss.

Machine vs. Hand Trimming

Should you still use hand trimming or is machine trimming recommended? Machine trimming saves a lot of time and can improve the look of buds. However, some plants still require hand trimming.

As an alternative, you can have the best of both worlds. You can use a trimming device that offers the precision of hand trimming with the speed of a machine.

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Trim Your Marijuana Harvest With Ease

One of the biggest struggles faced by new marijuana growers is timing your plant for maturity.

An accurate marijuana harvest time will result in healthy buds that produce amazing results. There are many ways to know your plant is ready for harvest, but it’s still essential to pay close attention to the flowering phase and practice the best trimming methods.

Are you looking for a better way to trim your marijuana harvest? Trim Daddy creates an efficient trimming solution without compromising the quality of hand trimming. Shop Trim Daddy today !

How Long Does Cannabis Take From Seed To Harvest

The growing time of cannabis varies according to the variety and cultivation method. There are many factors that affect the total time before you harvest (days, weeks or even months). This includes your cannabis strains, setup and the planting scale. The cannabis growth cycle is divided into four stages-germination, seedlings, vegetation and flowering.

Cannabis Growth Cycle One – Germination Of Marijuana Seeds

Germination of hemp seeds usually occurs within 10 days. At this time, the cannabis plant is dormant and is waiting for water and sunlight to grow seedlings.

Cannabis Growth Cycle Two – Seedlings Of Marijuana

After sprouting and the seeds “bursting” open, the seedlings will begin to grow and there will begin to develop more traditional cannabis leaves. Cannabis plants are considered seedlings until they begin to grow intact leaves on new scalloped leaves. This growth will usually last 2 to 3 weeks.

Cannabis Growth Cycle Three – Vegetation Of Marijuana

The vegetative period of cannabis is when the plants actually grow. This stage can last anywhere from 3–16 weeks. As long because the plant has quite 12 hours of sunshine (Preferably 16–18 because light = happy strong plants), it’ll stay within the vegetative phase and NOT flower. this is often when the plant will start to grow taller, more leaves will start growing, and therefore the plant will ultimately get the bulk of potential.

Indoor grown cannabis plants have a touch of a plus here, as they will stay within the vegetative phase for extended , because YOU control the light with LED cannabis grow light. If you would like to go away your cannabis plant within the vegetative phase for 20 weeks, as long as you maintain it and keep it healthy, it’ll continue to grow . Outdoor grows are going to be far more hooked in to the season and schedule of the sun. If you’re starting a grow early within the season, you’ll have more distance before the quantity of sun time will inevitably cause flowering.

Cannabis Growth Cycle Four – Flowering Of Marijuana?

After the vegetative phase, cannabis plants will start the flowering phase. Flowering is clearly essential for growing, because this is often when the flower “buds” will start to grow, filling themselves with resin and trichomes, all of which are ultimately liable for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Flowering occurs naturally when the plant receives but 12 hours of sunshine each day . For outdoor grows, this happens when the summer days shorten, or for indoor grows, whenever you opt to shorten the sunshine cycle. Expect this phase to last anywhere from 5 weeks to fifteen weeks or longer.

Remember, autoflowering strains are available, which don’t need a change in light to induce flowering – they only flower once they decide they’re ready. As a result, many first time growers choose autoflowering strains because they typically undergo these phases much quicker. Some autoflower strains are going to be ready for harvest in but 60 days.

Conclusion

Grow Cannabis Indoor

Most marijuana strains from seed to harvest require a minimum of 12 weeks where (minimum) 4 weeks is the growing vegetative state and from 8 to 10 weeks to bloom and ripen. This applies for soil indoor harvests.

Grow Cannabis Outdoor

Grow cannabis outdoor, it will take about 3–6 months. The main influencing factors are temperature and light.