Here are some best practices for harvesting autoflower cannabis:
1. Observe trichome development: Autoflower cannabis plants mature quickly, so it’s vital to closely monitor the trichomes. Wait until most trichomes turn milky white or amber in color. This indicates peak THC and CBD levels.
2. Time the harvest right: Autoflower strains have predetermined life cycles, typically around 8-12 weeks from germination to harvest. Refer to the breeder’s recommendations for the ideal timing, but be ready to adjust depending on trichome maturity.
3. Don’t rely solely on flowering time: Autoflower strains automatically transition into the flowering stage, which doesn’t always align with the breeder’s stated flowering time. Pay more attention to trichome development for a better indicator of readiness.
4. Consider flushing: Some growers find it beneficial to flush the plants with water for the last 1-2 weeks before harvest. This helps remove excess nutrients and improve the flavor of the final product.
5. Harvest in stages: Autoflower plants may have various colas (flowering tops) maturing at different rates. Consider harvesting in stages to allow each cola to reach its full potential rather than harvesting the entire plant at once.
6. Cut the plant at the base: Use clean and sharp pruning shears to cut the entire plant at the base. This method allows for easier handling during trimming and drying.
7. Trim carefully: After harvesting, trim away the excess leaves, focusing on removing larger fan leaves. This enhances airflow during drying and reduces the chance of mold or mildew development.
8. Dry slowly: Hang the trimmed cannabis plants upside down in a dark, dry, and well-ventilated place. Maintain a temperature of around 60-70°F (15-21°C) and around 50% humidity for a slow and controlled drying process. Proper drying can take anywhere from 7-14 days.
9. Cure for flavor and potency: Once dried, place the buds in sealed glass jars and store them in a cool, dark place for curing. Open the jars daily during the first few weeks to release excess moisture. Curing helps enhance the flavor, aroma, and potency of the final product.
10. Monitor and adapt: Each autoflower strain may have slight variations in the ideal harvesting process, so it’s crucial to pay attention to the plants and adapt accordingly. Take notes and learn from each harvest to improve future results.