Ryan Douglas:

Six steps to harvest success

Every outdoor cannabis grower from California to Maine is wrapping up the season, pulling down the harvest, drying, and trimming.

It can be the most stressful time of year, as a grower can ruin several months of hard work with just a few days of bad drying. Don’t let this happen to you! Follow these six steps to ensure your plants cross the finish line with flying colors.

1. Be an early bird
Terpenes are the molecules responsible for the distinct flavor and aroma of cannabis. Some terpenes are quite volatile and begin to evaporate at temperatures as low as 68 degrees F. Cut your harvest before sunrise to ensure these valuable terps make it to the dry room intact.

2. Lop off the mold

Bud rot is a foliar disease caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, which thrives in damp environments, both cold and warm. Dense cannabis flowers provide the perfect environment for fungal spores to propagate, germinate, and destroy all your hard work. Cut off visually affected branches before harvest to ensure it does not spread in the dry room. 

3. Remember the '60s
For the best quality flower, cut and hang individual branches or whole plants to dry. When setting dry room conditions, a good rule of thumb is to remember the '60s. Keep temperatures 60-68 degrees F and relative humidity at 60-65%. This will ensure a long, slow dry that preserves precious terpenes.

4. Slippery when wet
If you are harvesting during rainy weather, give your crop a jump start by rapidly removing moisture in the first few hours of drying. Increase airflow and point fans directly at the plants. Raise temperatures to 70-72 degrees F for the first 24 hours, then go back to the ’60s. You might lose a few terpenes, but you will gain peace of mind knowing that your harvest will not rot in the dry room.

5. Become a fan of the cure
Curing is a slow, secondary dry that helps stabilize flower moisture and enhance the variety’s natural flavors and aromas. It’s a long process, taking anywhere from two weeks to six months. Pack the flowers in paper bags in a climate-controlled room set to the ’60s. Periodically fluff up the flowers. You will notice the aroma matures the longer you cure. If you cannot control the environment, cure in airtight containers, but “burp” them periodically to remove moist air. Lots of automated curing solutions have recently hit the market, too.

6. A little help never hurts
Bodeva and Integra Boost make 2-way humidity packs that help ensure your product stays at the ideal moisture level after packaging. If the air is too dry, these tiny packets release moisture to the surrounding buds. If it is too humid, they absorb water and drop humidity to safe levels.

For more information:
Ryan Douglas Cultivation
1 (866) 420-7667
From Seed to Success

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