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how long from seed to harvest outdoor marijuana

How Long Does It Take for Weeds to Grow?

Growing weed is a long, complicated process that requires a bit of patience and a lot of knowledge. When someone starts cultivating cannabis, one of the first questions that comes up is almost always, “How long does it take for weeds to grow?”

When you’re growing weed — whether outdoor or indoor — you need to be aware of the plant’s specific timeline and how long it’ll take to cultivate it overall. Some seasons are better than others for growing weed, so paying attention to life cycles and time spans is absolutely crucial. That’s why, today, we’re addressing many of your cannabis cultivation concerns. From how long it takes to grow weed outdoors to the best strains to grow outside, we’re covering it all.

But, before we answer your question, “How long does it take for weeds to grow?” Let’s discuss the basics of cannabis cultivation.

What to Know About Growing Weed

Before you start growing weed, it’s important to know that it’s not like growing other herbs such as basil or thyme, for example. While the plants require the same basic needs — sunlight, water, nutrients, and space — you must follow strict parameters to keep them happy and healthy. That being said, you must ensure you have the proper setup and equipment to handle cannabis cultivation.

If you’re growing your weed outdoors, you cannot live anywhere with an adverse or unpredictable climate. Cannabis plants require moderate temperatures. You’ll have to make sure you have the proper space and equipment for cultivation; everyday people cannot access your cannabis plants.

Indoor growing also requires extensive lighting setups, air circulation, and proper space. If you’re planning on growing a few plants at once, they must have enough space to grow without invading the other plant’s area. Otherwise, you may risk contaminating the plants.

All in all, make sure you’re prepared for the time and effort that cannabis cultivation requires. This isn’t a process that you can complete in a month with little care. Instead, growing weed requires nearly round-the-clock attention, week after week.

Outdoors vs. Indoors

For those who are asking, “how long does it take to grow weed?” You may be curious about the efficacy surrounding growing cannabis outdoors versus indoors. Is one better? Which is ideal for beginners?

If you’re hoping to grow high-quality cannabis, then you’re going to want to aim for an indoor facility. It’s quite difficult to grow top-shelf flowers outdoors, and this is typically only reserved for producing extracts. With outdoor cannabis cultivation, you simply cannot obtain the ideal conditions that are necessary for weed production. Indoor allows for better control over practically all environmental factors, from lighting to temperature and even moisture.

We’d suggest avoiding cultivating your cannabis outdoors, as it creates more problems than it’s worth. Indoor cannabis cultivation will likely produce a better result and less hassle during production; plus, your plants will enjoy the nearly perfect growing conditions you can create indoors.

How Long Does It Take for Weeds to Grow?

Ah, yes, the million-dollar question: how long does it take for weeds to grow? This will depend on your personal growing style, but it typically takes anywhere from four to eight months to fully cultivate and harvest marijuana plant. However, we’ve found that five months is ideal for optimal plant quality, size, and potency.

We know what you’re thinking: four to eight months is a big difference in time. And it is! But, again, this is because cultivation isn’t one-size-fits-all. People have their own techniques and preferences, both influencing how long someone will grow their weed for.

How long it takes to grow weeds from seeds also depends on your space. If you’re just cultivating a few plants inside, your cannabis has the ability to flower much quicker than in a large grow space outdoors. Thus, the overall growing time for small-scale indoor growers will — of course — be less than those producing large-scale outdoor yields.

Four to eight months is a long time to cultivate a plant. However, cannabis has a complicated life cycle that requires each stage to have ample time for growth and progress. In the next section, we will break down the life cycle of the cannabis plant and how long each stage lasts. This way, you know exactly how long it takes for weeds to grow, every step of the way.

The Life Cycle of the Cannabis Plants: How to Grow Weeds From Seeds

The germination stage is the first — and shortest — stage in the cannabis plant life cycle. As you can imagine, it’s during this time that your weed seeds begin to sprout and root deep into your soil.

A healthy cannabis seed feels hard and dry to the touch. If you’re holding your seeds and they’re moist and soft, then you likely have an underdeveloped seed. You will not grow healthy plants from undeveloped seeds, so always check the hardness and appearance before starting the germination stage.

Once planted, your seed will stay in the germination stage for between 3-10 days. This stage requires a minimum of 16 hours of light per day, but 24 hours is best for helping the seed sprout. As soon as you begin to see the first fan leaves grow from your seeds, you’re on to the seedling stage.

The Seedling Stage

The seedling stage of your cannabis plant lasts between two to three weeks, requiring 16 hours of light per day at a minimum. However, it’s recommended that your plants are exposed to light for closer to 18-24 hours a day for best results.

During this stage, you’ll start to notice the sprouting of the plant’s fan leaves — the leaves that everyone knows and associates with marijuana.

Careful of overwatering during this stage. Seedlings are more susceptible to rot because their roots are so small, not requiring much water.

Over time, your plant’s fan leaves will start developing blades, just one at a time. When you have a healthy, mature cannabis plant, then you’ll have vibrant green leaves with 5-7 blades on each leaf, maybe more. When you notice your plants reaching this point, they’re no longer seedlings! It’s time to go on to the next stage.

The Vegetative Stage

During the vegetative stage, you’re going to have to be a little patient. This part of your plant’s life cycle typically takes between 3 – 16 weeks, and they’ll require at least 16 hours of sunlight , but 18 is ideal. You’ll want to give your plants six hours of direct sunlight and ten hours of indirect light.

While in this stage, your plants are going to grow exponentially. This is where nearly all of the growth happens, and you’ll start seeing your cannabis grow upwards and outwards. You’ll likely have to transport your plants to bigger pots during this stage, as they’ll be outgrowing their current situation. Trimming and pruning your plants are also necessary for the vegetative stage, preventing them from over-growing and invading each other’s spaces.

DDuring the vegetative stage, you’ll finally start to be able to determine the sex of your plants. It’s crucial to get rid of the male plants, as they don’t provide the same effects as female plants. They can also contaminate and damage your female plants, so it’s best to discard them entirely. You should only keep these male plants if you’re interested in breeding.
Also, make sure to increase your plants’ watering. As they grow, they will require more water for their deeper, longer stalks.

The Flowering Stage

Finally, you’ve reached the flowering stage. It’s during this stage where your cannabis plants finally start sprouting those resinous buds we know and love — and smoke.

The flowering stage will take anywhere between 7-11 weeks to accomplish. However, in some strains, this can occur as early as 6 weeks, or even as late as 15 weeks. (This is more common with sativas.)

You’ll be keeping a close eye on your plants, watching as their buds fully develop. They will need less light during this time: about 12 hours per day. This lessened light cycle will decrease naturally if you’re growing your plants outdoors. If you started growing your plants during spring, then you should reach the flowering stage as summer turns to fall and the sun goes down earlier. For those growing cannabis indoors, you can simply manipulate light cycles yourself.

Finally, when your plants have all fully matured and grown their buds, it’s time to harvest.

How Long Do Pot Plants Take to Grow?

So, as you can see, how long it takes pot plants to grow simply depends. To determine your cultivation timeline, you’ll have to consider factors like the desired size you want your yield to reach, the strain you chose, method of production, and whether or not you had an ideal growing environment.

Make sure you don’t try to rush this process. Your plants take time to grow and mature healthily, and trying to speed up the process by manipulating light cycles may affect your plant’s potency over time. No matter what, you’re going to have to wait several weeks for your cannabis plants to be ready for harvest.

Compared to other plants, cannabis does take a bit longer to grow and cultivate. However, cannabis plants are highly complex, so it only makes sense how rigorous the growing process is, too. You have to make sure you have the time to cultivate your plants properly. So, if waiting a few months is just too long, then you should stick with purchasing flower from places like BestPotDelivery, instead.

When to Grow Your Cannabis Plants

If you want to have the most successful cannabis yield — and you’re growing your plants outdoors — there are specific times of the year that are best for each stage of the plant. Here are the best seasons for growing cannabis outdoors.

Typically, many cannabis cultivators begin germinating their seeds in early spring, typically in March/April. This way, by the time they become seedlings, you’re reaching the end of April or so. From there, it’s best to start moving or repotting your seeds in May or June. At this point, they will have grown enough to require more space and more attention. Usually, you’ll want this to happen before summer gets into full swing.

Next, the pruning and trimming of your plants during vegetative growth should occur throughout June to August. During these summer months, your plants are going to get a significant amount of sun when grown outdoors, so make sure you pay attention to lighting and watering.

Finally, it tends to be best to start harvesting your cannabis plants from September to November. As we mentioned earlier, your plants don’t require as much lighting during the flowering stage. If you’re growing plants outdoors, naturally, the sun sets earlier during these colder months, preventing them from getting too much sun. If you wait any longer, your plants may not get the proper light cycle they require. Thus, it’s ideal to have your plants entirely harvested before December rolls around.

We know — this means growing your plants can take up to a whopping eight months to grow. However, every stage of the plant’s life cycle is crucial, and they all play a huge part in how well your plants act. Thus, you just have to be patient!

Best Way to Grow Pot Outdoors

Growing marijuana outdoors isn’t an easy task. This is because, when your plants are outdoors, they can be significantly affected by the environment. When you grow cannabis indoors, you have total control over the elements, from lighting to temperature and moisture. But, when you cultivate cannabis outside, it’s harder to keep these elements under your control. Thankfully, it isn’t impossible, and we’re here to help you discover the best way to grow marijuana outdoors.

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First, you have to make sure you have an ideal growing site. You cannot grow cannabis just anywhere, so take the time to really consider the climate, soil, and weather in your area. If you know of another place that may be less affected by Mother Nature, try setting up your grow there instead. After all, if you choose a location that your plants cannot thrive in, you’re never going to produce a usable result.

With this, you also need to consider things like sunlight, wind, and privacy. Again, you don’t want to place your plants somewhere where they can’t get ample sunlight exposure. On the same note, you don’t want there to be excess sun exposure, either; you have to find a nice balance. In terms of wind, you want to avoid lots of high wind that may damage or uproot your plants.

Privacy is vital when growing cannabis outside. Having a private space is the best way to grow pot outdoors, as it keeps you and your stash safe and sound. Make sure you have an enclosed, hidden space that the average consumer cannot access.

Some people find that growing some plants on their roofs and balconies is ideal for privacy reasons. In these spaces, you’re the only person who has access to your cannabis, and they’re undisturbed by potential trees or other shrubberies. This will allow them ideal sun exposure; however, keep a close eye on them when the weather does strike. If you don’t have a roof or balcony you can use, then feel free to plant your cannabis in the midst of your garden. Just make sure they are far enough away from other plants you’re growing, if you’re growing others.

Ideal Growing Climates

In general, you’ll want to grow your cannabis in moderate, temperate climates. You don’t want to attempt to cultivate cannabis anywhere with extreme rain, wind, snow, or heat. In fact, cannabis cannot grow and survive at temperatures above 85℉, and they’ll freeze anywhere below 55℉.

Thus, you need to find somewhere that has moderate temperatures throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. You don’t have to be too concerned about winter, as it isn’t ideal to grow your plants outside during the winter months, anyway.

Best Strains to Grow Outdoors

If you’re going to grow your cannabis outdoors, you want to make sure you’re growing hearty, durable strains that can handle whatever Mother Nature has to offer. Unfortunately, this isn’t a quality of all strains! So, we’re here to help you find some of the best strains to grow outdoors.

First off, many people find success in cultivating White Widow strains . White Widow is a strain with impressive resin production, making it more resistant to bacteria and fungi. Because of this slight resistance, a lot of people suggest that first-time growers try out White Widow — this hearty strain has a much lower chance of failing than others.

You can also grow Durban Poison strains outdoors if you’re looking for an uplifting, potent strain option. Durban Poison is one of the few strains we know of that actually thrive being outside, and some growers have found success growing them all year round. It’s an incredibly durable strain that can bring high THC levels, making it an excellent option for those looking for powerful results.

The final best strain option to grow outdoors would likely be a Hulkberry strain. Hulkberry strains are known to growers as being heart options, easy to grow, and able to survive various conditions. However, keep in mind that with a name like Hulkberry, you’re going to get quite a hulk-like plant. Expect to produce extra-tall plants with incredible buds.

Where to Buy High-Quality Cannabis Flower

Cultivating cannabis — whether it is outdoor or indoor — can be a tricky task. You need to have all of the right information, as well as proper growing equipment and a whole lot of time. However, with all of the right resources, you’ll be able to grow high-quality cannabis flower — it just might take some time.

While you’re waiting for your own cannabis plants to grow, you can always get top-shelf products delivered straight to your door by using BestPotDelivery. BestPotDelivery prides itself on our high-quality product options of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for edibles, pre-rolls, flower, or something else, our vast online inventory has just what you need. Plus, we’ll have it sent right to your door.

With us, you never have to leave your house to purchase cannabis again. Instead of waiting all day in line or dealing with ATMs and traveling throughout town, you can simply place an order for your products and forget about it. (Until they show up, that is.) It really is that easy. Plus, we have 24/7 support just in case you have any questions or concerns about our services or products.

Cultivating & Consuming Cannabis With BestPostDelivery

At this point, hopefully you’re not still wondering, “how long does it take to grow weed?” The information shared is sure to point in the right direction.

At BestPotDelivery, we want you to be able to both consume and cultivate cannabis with ease. We understand how appealing — and how beneficial — cannabis can be. Thus, growing your own is something we’re all curious about. That’s exactly why BestPotDelivery is here to answer all of your canna-questions, whether it is about how long it takes for weeds to grow or something entirely different. No matter what, we’re here for you.

The next time you’re thinking about buying some cannabis, make sure you head to BestPotDelivery first. Check out our huge selection of top-shelf cannabis products and find all the options that most appeal to you. Soon, you’ll never want to purchase your products any other way.

Don’t forget! If you have any questions about cannabis cultivation or growing your weed outdoors, we’re here to help. All you have to do is ask!

How Long Does Weed Take To Grow Outdoors?

Generally, weed takes between 7 to 16 weeks depending on the strain and how it is farmed. When growing outdoors, you’ll be harvesting once or twice a year.

What are the Best Strains to Grow Outdoors?

Biddy Early, White Widow, Sativa Xmass tree, Blue Power, Durban Poison, Super Silver Haze, OG Kush, Start growing marijuana outdoors.

Can you Grow any Strain Outdoors?

Any strain can be grown outdoors, but you’ll get the best yield and quality from Indica dominant strains. Sativas require more time to grow and flower.

What Kind of Climate do You Need to Grow Weed Outdoors?

The best climate for growing weed outdoors is in a sunny, warm, Mediterranean region. The temperature should be between 45 F and 88 F, ideally around 77 F for best results.

Key Points of Harvest Time

A common misconception of marijuana cultivation, especially among first-time growers, is that harvest time is like gym class in grade school—it’s still a class you have to go to but it requires less thought and more fun than an actual science class. Unfortunately, underestimating the final phases of a grow operation can be a very costly mistake when it comes down to grading the outcome of your buds.

Fatal errors in areas such as flushing, cutting and curing buds can lead to big disappointment after long months of hard work and care. To be sure this doesn’t happen to you, and to ensure the highest quality of your cannabis—no matter what strain it is—it’s important to take note of a few Key Points of Harvest Time.

Numero Uno

The first, and perhaps most important, aspect of harvesting cannabis is knowing exactly when to start chopping down the ladies. A precision harvest is essential for potent cultivation. Growers must be very careful not to cut down plants that are not yet at the pinnacle of resin production, but they must also be wary of cutting plants too late—at a time when THC production has curtailed and resin glands begin to degrade.

There are various methods by which even the most amateur grower can tell when buds are truly ripe for the picking. The simplest and quickest way to know is by examining the pistils, or long hairs, that cover the plant’s buds. At the onset of flowering, these pistils are white and stringy. But as the flowering period comes to an end, they begin to turn color, first from white to orange and then again to a dark red or brown. These color changes signify the maturation of the buds; however, the color and time frame may vary significantly across different varieties of cannabis.

Therefore, a better, yet slightly more complicated, method for determining ripeness is through trichome examination. Trichomes are the actual resin glands that contain THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids, and they are very delicate and easily ruptured. These trichomes are visible on the outside of buds and small leaves and look like little white sugar crystals to the naked eye. However, with the power of a magnifying glass or simple microscope, you can see that trichomes are comprised of a stalk and resin head and are clear or white in color.

As with pistils, trichomes also begin to change color as the buds mature. But in this scenario, a grower wants to harvest buds before they get too dark in color. Even a subtle amber hue in these glands could mean that cannabinoids have begun breaking down and decomposing, which means less potent pot. Using a magnifier between 50x-100x, advanced growers look for a creamy or milky white color in trichomes that tells them it’s time to harvest.

The Catch

As with most tricks of the trade, there is always a catch. And in this case it can be taken quite literally as well, because when checking your buds for ripeness you’ll want to “catch” any and all clues that can signal maturation—a few weeks before harvest time. Having a “harvest heads-up” can be extremely beneficial for growers, not only to prep equipment and rooms for drying and curing, but also to prep the plants for taste and smooth smoking.

If a grower can consistently examine trichomes and keep accurate time records from the start of the flowering photoperiod (12/12 light cycle), then it should be no problem for the grower to begin flushing out the grow medium in preparation for the harvest.

The Two-Step Flush

The last two weeks of flowering should be spent getting rid of any built-up nutrients in the growing medium, a process called leaching, or flushing. By removing all access to nutrients, the plant begins to consume its stored food reserves. These reserves are nasty compounds that we don’t want in our smoke, such as sugars, starches and various other elements. Harvesting plants that still have these undesirable elements present will only result in a harsh smoke and terrible burnability.

Flushing should begin about 14 days before harvest by stopping all nutrients and using only pure water to feed the plants. By providing no nutrients, you force the plant to rely only on what is left in the growing medium to feed on. The actual act of flushing is achieved by over-irrigating the medium until the nutrients inside are dissolved and washed out the bottom of the container. The best way to do this is with a two-step flush technique. (The process is an easy one.)

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First, flood the grow medium with a heavy dose of water and wait a few minutes to allow all of the salts (nutrient buildup) to break down. Then add more water to chase out the first dose. By waiting a few minutes after adding the first dose of water, you’re allowing enough time for the water to dissolve the salts. As salts decompose, they can be effectively flushed out by the second dose. Traditional leaching usually employs only the first flush of water, which isn’t always adequate for complete dissolution.

A few days after flushing, you should notice signs of nitrogen deficiency. The leaves will go from dark to light green, eventually turning completely yellow. Another sign is a reddening of the leaf stems, starting at the center of the leaf where the blades come together.

Test your flush by snapping off a leaf and tasting the juice that flows from the stem. If the taste is bitter, there’s still plenty of food in the plant’s system. When the juices are clean and taste like pure water, the plant is clean enough for harvest. The bitterness is from nutrients and other chemicals that you definitely do not want in your smoke.

Dry Air = More Resin

One final flush should occur a day or two before harvesting, with the final 24 hours of the garden’s life being spent in relative dryness. This last deluge should be done with fresh water and can be a single or a two-step flush, depending on how much fertilizer was applied previous to the final two weeks of flowering. This will be the final watering your plants ever get. In doing this, you help ensure that the plants will begin to slowly dehydrate as you approach harvest, which in turn will aid the plants in their final hours of resin production.

Some gardeners even like to allow their medium to go bone-dry before harvesting. The idea is that resin production seems to skyrocket if the medium is allowed to dry before harvesting, but this isn’t due to dry medium – it’s due to dry air.

When the relative humidity in the garden is low, your resin production will increase. This is a natural response cannabis has to dry air, an attempt to protect itself from hot, dry conditions. Marijuana resin actually has one of the highest UV-resistance ratings in the plant kingdom. The resin reflects light, preventing the buds from getting sunburn. (This is also why it’s so easy for helicopters to spot marijuana from the sky; it glows when seen through UV-sensitive equipment.)

Lowering the humidity in the room on that last night before harvest morning will ensure increased resin production, without having to let the medium go bone-dry first. Additionally, some growers like to subject their gardens to prolonged dark periods of up to 24 hours just before cutting, claiming they notice spikes in resin production. This is all right as the low humidity will cut down on light uptake anyway, plus it helps to make sure liquid foods within the plants drain down to the root zone.

Harvest & Manicure

When the big day arrives it is best to start early, before the light period begins in the growroom. If the grow lamps turn on, it’s okay to cut them completely and work by standard room lighting. Begin by cutting the entire plant away from the root ball. If the plants are too large to harvest with one cut at the bottom, start by cutting the larger, heavier branches first. Remember to leave one or two larger stems connected to the branches you are cutting off. These stems will form nice “Vs” on the branches for easy hang drying.

Most indoor growers begin taking off the large fan leaves about a week before actual harvest. This is a good idea, especially once these leaves begin paling from green to yellow in color. Continue your harvest by taking off all leaves not associated with the buds and then move on to trimming off the smaller sugar leaves. Look for leaves with little resin coverage first and then move into the interior of the nuggets. It’s easier to remove leaves within the buds once they have dried out a bit, but that adds extra time and a second round of manicuring. By turning buds over and getting to the underside of smaller sugar leaves, it becomes easier to snip away at the stem and remove the entire leaf. Many growers like to only trim off leaf edges that come out of buds, leaving an aesthetic shape to the bud with the heavily resinated portion of the sugar leaves still intact within the buds.

Once the plants are cut, trimmed and manicured to perfection, it is best to hang branches upside down on strings strung across open spaces to get maximum air flow over your buds. Keeping buds on the branches does slow the drying, as the branches do retain some water however, this is the easiest way to completely surround buds with dry air without using drying chambers or machines.

Drying for Taste and Burnability

Now that you’ve harvested and are ready to dry and cure, you will want to preserve as much of the vibrant color and taste of your herb as possible. Buds should hang dry for five to seven days at the ideal temperature of about 70ºF with 50 percent humidity. You want to get most of the water out of the buds in those first days and then slow the process down for another week or so during the curing process.

Remember that a plant is not dead upon cutting—it is still very much alive. A plant is effectively dead when the water pressure inside is too low to continue vascular movement. In other words, when the waterworks stop, the plant is dead. The goal here is to dry the plant as evenly as possible and at a nice slow pace. When buds are rapidly dried, the plant tissue can trap in unwanted starches and nitrates which cause buds to burn unevenly and with an awful taste.

At four to five days into the dry, the tips of some buds might be dry enough to pluck off and sample. After the buds have gone through their full cycle of drying, we want to slow the whole thing down and draw the rest of the moisture out very gradually. This is the curing process.

What’s the Cure?

If your herb is harvested correctly, there is very little need for long cures. Long cures are needed to make harsh herb smoke smoother. If you start out with smooth, clean herb, there’s less need for long cures. Most buds should be cured and ready to smoke in less than two weeks after the drying period. Expert growers who harvest properly can complete curing in five or six days, but a good average can easily range from 10 to 14 days.

Inexperienced growers often tend to get impatient and only cure for a few days, but this can be a costly mistake when it comes to potency. Allowing the buds to cure evenly, which means drying at a slower rate, removes moisture within the buds so that all the THC can be converted in its psychoactive form.

The curing process evens out the moisture levels in the herb. You want the same amount of moisture in the center of the buds as you do on the outside of the buds until they are almost totally devoid of fluids. Completely drying the herb too fast can trap moisture in the middle and not allow for a proper cure.

For the curing process, you want to put the half-dried buds into air-tight containers. Inside the container, the buds will become evenly moist, inside and out, as they begin to “sweat.” You can check to see if your buds are sweating and releasing moisture by gently squeezing them between your fingers to see if they feel damper than they did a few hours before sealing them up. Glass jars with rubber seals and lockdown lids are the best option for curing, but for large amounts of harvested buds, you’ll need something much bigger. Tight-sealing rubber or plastic bins are the best option for large quantities of buds but many growers feel these containers impart a plastic-type taste onto the buds. This can be offset by adding a small slice of lemon or orange peel to the bins toward the end of your cure.

Once the buds are again evenly moist, open the containers to let the moist air exchange with fresh air. Air exchanges are essential to the curing process. Not only do they prevent condensation from forming in your curing bins, but the fresh air is drier than the air you just allowed to escape from the container. The moisture still trapped in the herb will again slowly escape and moisten the new, fresh air. Open the container several times a day to exchange the moistened air with fresh air to slowly draw out the moisture in the buds. Eventually (again, one to two weeks) the moisture level in the herb will be at the right level to stash away and, of course, smoke!

What Time of Day to Harvest?

Timing the harvest is Paramount to the final quality. Harvest your precious buds in the dark, just before the lights normally come on. If possible, do not allow the plants to see direct light as long as their roots are attached. Direct light on a plant will draw up stored starches and sugars from the root system.

During the nighttime hours, our ladies are busy storing food down in their root system that they made during the daylight hours. During “lights out,” starches and sugars produced by photosynthesis during the day drain downward to the roots. Knowing this, it is easy to figure out that you want to cut your plants away from the roots before the lights come on, when food moves back upward into the buds.

Outdoor herb is often harvested during the daytime hours and the result is a harsh, difficult burn and an extra long cure. The starches and sugars present in daytime-harvested herb act like fire retardants—not the effect we’re looking for. In addition to tasting and burning bad, these fire retardants also change the chemical make up of the smoke you’re ingesting. This means that the THC, cannabinol, cannabidoil and other active cannabinoids can’t burn at the perfect temperature to get you properly high because they haven’t properly converted to their psychoactive forms.

Facts on Drying & Curing

• During the drying of marijuana buds, THC is converted from an acidic, non-psychoactive chemical into a neutrally based, psychoactive form that gets you high. This is why fresh marijuana is generally weaker than properly dried and cured buds.

• Marijuana will lose approximately 75 percent of its weight during drying due to water evaporating from plant matter.

•Buds dried too fast will be frail and may start to crumble. Keep humidity between 45 and 55 percent in your drying room to prevent this and to help keep aroma and flavor locked in.

•Buds are done drying and ready for curing when stems snap when bent rather than just folding over.

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•Air exchanges during curing should occur every four or five hours with curing bins left open for 10 minutes at a time.

When to harvest outdoor cannabis plants

Growing cannabis outdoors can be very rewarding. It is much cheaper than growing indoors, and it will also bring you huge plants, with heavy yields. But like anything when growing cannabis, it has its pros and cons. When you grow outdoors, you have much less control over the environment your plants live in, then when you grow indoors.

As the autumn months approach, the temperatures will fall. This is not only detrimental to the growth of the plant, but as temperatures fall, mould spores can germinate, and bud rot can set it. Some cannabis strains, have a long flowering period, and may not be harvested until mid-November (Northern Hemisphere). By this time, temperatures are usually too cold for a cannabis plant to thrive, and the risk of mould is very high.

You have to be able to judge whether your plant is ready for harvest, and if not, is it worth risking more time outdoors, or should it be harvest early. Here we will discuss the best ways to decide whether your outdoor cannabis plant is ready for harvest.

When to Harvest Outdoor Cannabis Plants

The actual time you will harvest an outdoor cannabis plant will depend on a few things:

• Flowering time of the strain

• The Maturity of the Trichomes

It is always best, to allow your plant the time it needs to fully mature and ripen before harvesting. Harvesting at the right time will increase yield, potency and terpene content. Giving you a better high, medicinal relief, a better flavour and more cannabis.

But because you do not have much control over the environment, leaving a cannabis plant outdoors to fully mature can be risky with some strains. Some cannabis strains will flower into late autumn. It is important to consider the flowering time of your strain, before you grow it.

If you live in colder climates, then try choosing a strain with a short flowering cycle, like an auto flowering plant or an Indica dominant strain. These will be more likely to finished before it gets too cold and wet.

Check the Flowering Time

If you know what strain you are growing, and what breeder it comes from, you will be able to find out when the best time for harvesting outdoors is.

The breeders estimated harvest date is just that, an estimate. Though it can give you an idea of when your plant will be finished, there are too many variables that need to be taken into account, and each grow is different.

Indica dominant strain will have a shorter flowering period than sativa dominant strains, so they will be harvested earlier. Some Sativa strains will flower for 16 weeks, and can push into 20 weeks of flower before you start to see amber trichomes.

In some cases, you may not have any information from the breeder. This can make it tough to estimate when the peak harvest time is. For best results, and accurate reading, you should check the trichomes on the buds of your plant, to see how mature they are before harvesting.

Maturity of The Trichomes

One of the best ways to tell if your cannabis plant is ready for harvest is by checking the trichomes on the buds. Judging by their appearance, you can tell if they are mature, at peak, or starting to degrade.

Choosing the right time to harvest will improve the quality and yield of your cannabis. You must always try to harvest your outdoor cannabis plant with at least, 90% milky trichomes, with 10% clear.

To do this, you need to use a USB microscope or a Jewlers Loupe, ( 1 ) to take a close look at the crystals on the buds of the plant ( 2 ).

When there is over 90% milky trichomes, it is close to harvest time. Harvest somewhere around 90% Milky, and10% amber ( 3 )

Clear Trichomes: When the trichomes are clear, it means they are immature, and your plant is not ready for harvest. The plant still has more time to gain weight, and produce more resins and terpenes. Harvesting now will be detrimental to your final yield, flavour and quality.

Milky Trichomes: If you are seeing a large amount (over 90%) of milky trichomes on your buds, the plant is approaching harvest time. It is at this point that trichomes production has reached its peak, and they will start to degrade from here.

Harvesting a cannabis plant with all milky trichomes will give you a good clean high, that expresses the characteristics of the strain you’re growing. Many growers will harvest around this time, especially for outdoor growers who live in cold and wet climates.

Amber Trichomes: Having amber trichomes on your buds, will bring you a heavy, couchlock kind of high. For best results, many growers will look for between 10% and 20% amber trichomes before harvest. This gives the user a nice balance of milky and amber trichomes with very few clear, and leaves them with a nice head high, with a little body stone to go with it.

Bear in mind, some auto flowering strains, or Sativa dominant strains, may not show amber trichomes for a long time. So, if you are growing outdoors, be ready for harvest when you see at least 90% of your trichomes have turned milky.

If the conditions allow, let the plant go for a little longer, and try to get to 10% amber before harvesting. This may take an extra couple of weeks, so be careful with the changes in the weather, and decide carefully when to harvest.

Environmental Conditions

When growing cannabis outdoors, controlling the environment that your plants live in can be difficult. Because of this, it is important to be aware of the seasons changing, and the fall in temperatures.

Cannabis plants grown outdoors will usually be harvested between mid-September, to mid-November, in the Northern Hemisphere, and mid-March and May for the Southern Hemisphere. The length of the flowering period will differ, depending on the strain you are growing.

If you are growing auto flowering cannabis plants outdoors, you should follow the breeder’s timeline from germination to harvest. You should also check the trichomes, and harvest at 90-100% milky.

In some countries, the Autumn weather can be too harsh for cannabis plants. Humidity is high, and temperatures are low. This can be an ideal environment for mould spores to germinate, and start to infect your buds.

Because you cannot control the environment as much as you would like to, you have to be vigilant, and keep an eye open for any signs of mould or rot forming on your buds.

If you do find any rot or mould, it will need to be removed, and thrown away! Mouldy buds should never be consumed!

To reduce the chances of rot and mould infecting your plants, harvesting a little early is on option. Check the trichomes and decide whether the plant is mature enough for harvest (90% milky 10% Clear at least), or if it will need a little longer. You should try to push for around 10% amber trichomes with 90% milky before harvesting, but not at the risk of losing the crop to rot!

Bud Rot and Mould

You should try to allow your plant to reach its peak, by waiting until at least 90% of the trichomes on the buds are milky. If you harvest before this stage, the quality, and yield, of your cannabis will be reduced. You should wait a little longer to get the best results.

Unfortunately, to do this, you increase the risk of finding rot and mould. As mentioned earlier, some strains will not be harvested until mid-November, and condition are not always ideal for your plants at this time of year.

To reduce the chances of your plants being infected by rot and mould, so you can try and reach the optimal harvest time, there are a few precautions you can take.

Good Airflow Around the Plant

Bud rot, is also known as Grey Mould. It will develop from mould spores that are on your plants and buds. These spores are everywhere, but they will not germinate until conditions are right. This is when bud rot becomes a problem.

Mould spores will grow best in stale pockets of air with warm 22 to 32 °C temperatures, and high humidity. So, one of the best ways to combat it, is to ensure your plants have a good supply of fresh air around it at all times.

This can be done by having a fan blowing at the plants, (which is not always possible when growing outdoors) or by removing some leaves, and any equipment or objects that may be restricting the airflow.

If you can keep a constant supply of fresh air to the plants, you are less likely to see bud rot.

Keep the Plant Dry

Along with stale air and warm temperatures, high humidity and moisture will also encourage the growth of mould spores.

If possible, you should try and cover your plant so rain will not fall onto it during these later stages of flower. If the buds get wet, and cold, they will start to rot and go mouldy.

Air flow is important here too, even if the plant does get wet, with enough breeze, the moisture will evaporate off the plants. But if the breeze cannot reach a certain part of the plant, mould is likely to grow there.

So, if you would like to push your outdoor plant a little further this season, ensure they have good airflow around them, keep a close eye on humidity levels, but don’t be afraid to harvest a little early if you need to.

Harvesting Your Plant at the Right time

Taking all of this into consideration, you can now decide when is the best harvest time for your outdoor cannabis plants.

Check the trichomes, and aim for at least 90% milky, with a touch of amber if you can. If temperature and humidity start to become a problem, then you may have to harvest early to prevent the crop being lost to rot and mould. Only you can make this decision.

If at any time, the temperatures fall too far, and you’re worried about mould setting in, as long as the trichomes are over 90% milky, you can harvest with good results.

In the case that you do find mould or rot on any of the flowers on your plants, you must not use them! Not even for extracts. Ingesting mould spores can be very dangerous and bad for your health. Throw any infected buds away, and consider harvesting as soon as possible, before more rot sets in.

To summarize

Finding the right time to harvest your outdoor cannabis plant is not easy. The further you head into autumn, the more chances you have of your plant contracting mould.

At the same time, you do not want to harvest early, and sacrifice the quality of the final product. It’s a fine balance, and it is your plant, you have to decide what is best for you.

As long as over 90% of the trichomes are milky, you can chop the plant with great results. Try to go for a little longer if you can, but not at the risk of losing the crop to rot.