HARVEST TIME: HOW AND WHEN TO CUT MARIJUANA?
Harvest time, besides being one of the most rewarding moments for any grower, is sometimes a cause of uncertainty for those people who have not long ago started growing marijuana.
After taking care of the plants during the whole process. Cutting the marijuana at the right time is essential if we want all the dedicated effort to get the reward we deserve.
When to cut marijuana?
The result obtained if it is harvested at the right time is very different from what we will achieve if we go ahead or delay. Most of us will probably cut too early because it is normal to become impatient with harvest cravings.
But when to cut marijuana? It is a common doubt that does not have a mathematical answer but following some advice we can solve without becoming a headache for us.
1. Seed bank references:
All banks tell us how long each variety should be in bloom. Although we can take it as a first reference, it is important to bear in mind that these are indicative values that can serve as an approximate indication when we can cut, or we have to be attentive to the cut, but considering that the times vary according to many factors.
When to cut marijuana
The first approach can be taken as a reference, but we should not think that these values are immovable.
It is very common to have ever heard that plants are cut when “the hair is brown”. This statement is not entirely correct, and we must take account of certain nuances.
The browning of the pistils indicates the degree of oxidation and this can help us to have an approximation of the optimum harvest time. As soon as half of the pistils are brown we can start considering the time to cut the marijuana plant.
When they are not very oxidized, the effect of marijuana is more psychoactive. Conversely, when most pistils are brown the effect is narcotic. We may use this information to know when to cut the cannabis plant according to our preferences.
However, pistils can oxidize for reasons other than maturation, such as the lack of irrigation, among many others, is why orienting ourselves by the color of the pistils is not a very reliable method that will often mislead us, and we will not get the expected results.
This is undoubtedly the most reliable and highly recommended method for determining the ideal time of harvest. Observing the trichomes is an infallible way of detecting the moment to cut the marijuana at the right time and enjoy the fruits of our harvest.
Trichomes are the glands where terpenes and cannabinoids are stored and where marijuana resin is secreted. They are stick-shaped with a small ball at the tip, commonly called a lollipop shape.
Trichomes change color.
Trichomes change color depending on ripening, we can use this information to cut at the right time and to accentuate the desired effects that, although they depend on the variety we are cultivating, we can highlight shortening or lengthening the cutting time.
- The transparent tricomas. when the trichomes are very light or transparent in colour are not ripe enough so it is still too early to cut.
- The whitish trichomes. when the trichomes acquire a milky white color means that the THC level is very high, and it is a good time to cut if we look for a very psychoactive effect.
When trichomes acquire an amber color, it means that THC has begun to degrade to CBN.
We must be cautious with the maturation of the trichomes because if we go too far, they acquire a very dark tone and it means that we have lengthened the cutting moment too much. The ideal time to harvest is when the majority of trichomes are whitish in color but there are already about 10-15% amber trichomes, this will be the optimal point to cut the plant.
If we prefer the effect of marijuana to be more narcotic, we can wait a little while until the trichomes are more amber but be careful not to overlook it. On the other hand, if we prefer a more psychoactive marijuana we must cut when the trichomes are milky and have not yet passed to amber color.
cannabis pruning tricomas
To observe the trichomes we will need the help of a magnifying glass that allows us to see in detail the shape and color of these trichomes.
What can happen if you cut it out of time?
It is important to cut at the right time. The quantity and quality of our harvest depends directly on the time of cutting. To do it sooner or later is to throw away all the time and effort dedicated to our plants.
If we cut too soon we will not get the production, we could have achieved by cutting at the right time. The buds won’t be dense enough. The drying process will lose a lot of volume, they will be flabby and aerated. In addition, the trichomes will not have segregated so much resin and the flowers will be much less resinous, they will have less flavor and a totally different effect to the one they would have had if we had cut them when he played.
On the other hand, if the moment of the cut passes us, the trichomes will become dark. It will mean that THC has degraded in CBN so the effect is much less psychoactive and potent.
Cutting at the optimum moment.
Warning! Do not confuse CUT with PRUNE, because when we cut a plant is to harvest it, while we can prune a plant with different purposes such as sharing the production or prevent it from having a very large size.
Cutting at the optimum moment is essential to enjoy a quality harvest and get the maximum yield from our plants. To determine the right moment, the ideal thing is to guide ourselves with the advice we have given you before. The bench references and the pistils serve as an approximation, to make us realize that the time of harvest is approaching, and the trichomes indicate us at the right moment of cutting.
Like everything in this life, you learn by doing. Over time we will be able to determine the right time to harvest without having to keep track of trichomes and bank references. We will know that it is already ready simply with the behavior of the plant.
To date, taking these tips into account will be of great help to us. After harvesting, the time comes for drying and curing. Performing these processes in an appropriate way is essential to enjoy our flowers to the fullest. We must pay the same attention as we have given to the other phases of cultivation.
Mimi 8 October, 2019, 4:25 pm
Do I cut the plants down in the morning or afternoon, it is gonna to be a hard freeze tomorrow and I forgot?
Pat 19 September, 2021, 2:03 pm
You can cut anytime of the day you should cut or cover if frost or freezing
Welsh 6 January, 2022, 1:48 am
As long as you’re giving them a couple of days in the dark first it doesn’t matter.
Chip 14 September, 2020, 10:54 pm
Thank you for explaining this process without going on long and unnecessary tangents that are common on other sites.
Boris Trumputin 8 November, 2021, 1:51 am
There are few things to have in mind, KNOW THE STRAIN, some strains will go reflowering forever and you are gonna see there fresh pistiles forever, you need to know how resistant is your strain to low temps, mold… specially if you are outdoors because this will rule about the harvest time, and because you need to know your strain or chances are you are not gonna make it till harvest. BE READY AND PATIENT, when you get around harvest time, have it all ready to go, then be patient, patient is the best tool growers have no matter what kind of things are you growing. TOUCH, SMELLS, TRY IT, EAT IT, if you can see trichs… wonderfull!! but if you keep growing long time, sooner than later you are gonna learn that thichs colours are just one factor in the list, they are as valious as aroma (potency and quality), resin coverage, weight, eat it or smeels it, etc, etc (lots of people eat it and thats all, they know that way all they need). CUT DOWN, when you know that your plant is drinking less for at least a week, pistils are brown and at least 10% like swallowed (it gonna be almost sure a couple weeks later than breeder advise), there is gonna be a morning or first hours of ligth time that she is gonna stink more than ussual, is a peak of resin (it not gonna last more than 2 days, there can be various smell peaks, specially those strains that like to reflower), cut her right there in that peak first hours in the morning and you are golden, this is why you need to have it all ready and then be patient, this is in a perfect scenario, there are zillions things ruining it all in real life, the good thing is that after first time all things go much more smooth specially if you take your notes (you should take notes unleast you know very well the strain), there is not a light turning green and you can harvest, is you knowing the strain and harvesting when you know that nothing better cant come out having all factors in mind, don’t overthink, the window time is fairly big, even faster autos have a decent week window time, there are not so much diference between clear/milk colour and 10% amber colour if we are talking about the sweet spot, dont get mad if there are 5% or 20% or 0% ambers, diference is gonna be minimal effects wise, but is nice to see trichs colours because they tell you how fast and nice they are maturing, and you can find out how your environment/setup/cares are affecting your flowers. Drying and curing are more delicate process than harvest time IMO
Using Sponges For Seed Growing – How To Plant Seeds In A Sponge
Starting seeds in sponges is a neat trick that is not difficult to do. Small seeds that germinate and sprout quickly work best for this technique, and once they’re ready, you can transplant them to pots or garden beds. Try starting plants with small seeds on a simple kitchen sponge as a fun project with the kids or just to try something new.
Why Start Seeds on Sponges?
While the traditional way to start seeds is to use soil, there are some good reasons to use sponges for seed growing:
- You don’t need messy soil.
- You can watch the seeds grow and roots develop.
- Sponge seed germination happens rapidly.
- It’s easy to sprout a lot of seeds in a small space.
- The sponges can be reused if seeds turn out to be unviable.
- It makes a great experiment for children.
Here are some great plant choices for seed rowing on sponges:
How to Plant Seeds in a Sponge
First, start with sponges that have not been treated with anything, like detergent or antibacterial compounds. You may want to treat the sponges with diluted bleach to prevent mold growth, but rinse them thoroughly if you do. Use the sponges whole or cut them into smaller squares. Soak the sponges in water and place them in a shallow tray.
There are a couple of strategies for putting the seeds in the sponges: you can either press small seeds into the many nooks and crannies, or you can cut a larger hole in the center of each sponge for a single seed. Cover the tray in plastic wrap and put it in a warm location.
Check under the plastic wrap occasionally to be sure there is no mold growing and that the sponges have not dried out. Give the sponges a regular mist of water to keep them moist but not soaking wet.
To transplant your sprouted seedlings, either remove them entirely and place in a pot or outdoor bed when ready or trim the sponge down and plant the roots with the remaining sponge still attached to them. The latter is useful if the roots are too delicate and can’t be easily removed from the sponge.
Once they’re big enough, you can use sponge-grown seedlings as you would any seeds you started in soil.
How to grow catnip in pots
A step-by-step guide: How to grow catnip in a pot on your patio or deck (from seed!)
If you have a cat who loves catnip, learning how to grow catnip in a pot is a very good idea — and easier than you might think!
I currently have a 4-month-old kitten, and he is CRAZY. He was a sweet fuzzy furball for the first 3 months, and then his savage side came out.
Cosmo (aka Cosmo Kramer, aka Kitter Catter) loves to race around the house attacking everything in sight. Sometimes he lurks around corners, stalking us or a toy.
His favorite is a catnip-filled fish big enough for him to pounce on, wrestle and ferociously attack.
Until recently, I didn’t even think about growing our own catnip. But you totally can! Catnip is easy to grow in pots and containers and makes a great addition to your patio garden.
In fact, catnip is an invasive perennial and will quickly take over an in-ground garden. So containers are a pretty ideal way to grow your own.
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But before we get to growing it … What does catnip do to cats?
The Humane Society explains that catnip ( nepetalactone) is a member of the mint family that has an essential oil that triggers a happy receptor in up to 80 percent of cats. The reaction usually starts between 3 and 6 months old (I can vouch for this!) and tends to fade with older cats.
In general, catnip is a stimulant for cats when sniffed, but it has a calming effect when eaten.
What is catnip used for?
Catnip isn’t just a fun high for your cat. It actually has some practical uses as well. You can use it to:
- Encourage your cat to use a scratching post, cat bed, or toy, rather than tearing up furniture or curtains. (Cosmo loves fish-shaped catnip toys he can attack and carry around.)
- Introduce cats who are new to each other.
- Introduce a cat to a new environment.
- Reduce anxiety and resistance when using a carrier.
So … can humans eat catnip? Yes we can! Dried catnip leaves and flowers can be brewed as a tea, which has calming effects similar to chamomile. Traditionally it’s been used for medicinal purposes, such as treating headaches and easing anxiety.
For more fun facts about catnip, check out the FAQ at the bottom of the article!
How to plant catnip in a pot from seeds
Start catnip from seed or cuttings
Either method works well. If you’re already starting other seeds for your spring deck or patio garden, why not try a few catnip seeds too? That said, if you’re pressed for time or start later in the season, cuttings or seedlings work fine too.
To start with seeds:
- You can buy catnip seeds from seed companies, nurseries or garden stores, or harvest them from dried catnip flower buds.
- I highly recommend buying catnip seeds from Botanical Interests – they have the best quality seeds and the seed packets are full of helpful info others don’t include.
- Plant seeds indoors a month or two before the last expected frost in your area (here’s a handy frost date calculator !).
- First, choose a seed starting kit or fill small containers with seed starting material. Or good potting soil is fine.
- Next, and this is important, do this simple and helpful step: Before you plant the seeds, you need to rough them up a bit to loosen the seed coat and help them germinate. This is called stratifying the seeds :
- Set seeds in a freezer bag and tuck in the freezer overnight.
- The next day, soak them in a bowl of warm to hot water.
- Leave them to soak for 12-24 hours.
Park them in a sunny window and keep lightly moist but never soggy.
- Your catnip seeds should sprout in 2-3 weeks. Continue lightly watering.
Finally, when they reach 4-5 inches and you’re past the last frost, transfer to pots or other containers.
TIP: Catnip starts to emit its intoxicating scent when just a few inches tall, so keep your cats away from the seedlings until the plants are established and sturdy … or you won’t have any for your container garden!
Or you can buy seedlings from a local farmers’ market, nursery or garden store.
This is faster and easier than starting from seed, of course, but catnip seedlings aren’t always as widely available as some of the common culinary herbs like basil and oregano. Try asking local nurseries about availability or other recommended sources.
Another option is to start catnip plants from cuttings. If you already have plants or know someone who does, this works and it’s free.
How to start catnip plants from cuttings
- First, cut off a 6-inch stem from a healthy plant.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom 2-3 inches.
- Next, dip the tip of the stem in rooting hormone , if possible.
- Set in potting soil and continue to lightly water until you move it to its long-term spot on your patio or deck.
Choose a container and a sunny or mostly sunny spot
Very much unlike actual cats, catnip is not particular about most of its growing conditions. That’s what makes it so easy to grow in pots and containers.
Catnip likes: full sun to partial shade (especially in hot climates), consistent watering, room to grow
Catnip doesn’t like: full shade, soggy soil, crowded spaces
Catnip isn’t picky, but keep these preferences in mind for best results.
- Choose a sunny spot with some elbow room. Catnip can grow 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall, which means you’ll need a large container and some extra space around it.
- Fill a 10-12” deep pot or container with good quality potting soil for each plant. The wider the opening of the pot, the better! This will give the catnip room to spread and your cat room to lounge …
TIP: Go with a wide-mouth container if you’re good with your cat (and potentially the neighbor’s cat) physically climbing into the catnip and rolling around. If not, I would still use a wide container but add bamboo stakes or a cage to protect the plant from kitty assault.
- If you haven’t already hardened offthe catnip seedling , do so before setting out in full sun.
How to take care of a potted catnip plant
Remember, catnip likes steady but light water — no soggy roots. Make sure the container has good drainage, and let the soil nearly dry out in between waterings.
Catnip generally doesn’t need fertilizer. It’s actually pretty happy in sub-par soil, as long as it has sun and some water. But if you want to give it an extra boost, add a little water-soluble fertilizer every month or two during the growing season.
How to prune catnip
Regular pruning helps ensure a full, productive, bushy plant. Pinch off stems regularly from the top, just above a set of leaves. When flowers start to bloom, snip or pinch them off if you want the plant to continue to grow abundant leaves.
How to prune catnip:
Will growing catnip attract cats?
At least the ones who love catnip, and that’s 50 percent of them, so expect your neighbor’s cats might not-so-casually drop by your deck for a sniff or rub.
How much catnip should I grow?
As I said earlier, catnip spreads quickly. When planted in the ground, it’s considered invasive because it can self-seed from the dried flower buds and spread far and wide.
It also needs a decent amount of space to grow — it probably won’t do as well in small 8 inch pots crammed together on the deck.
And catnip is potent! You don’t need a lot to keep your cat happy on fresh catnip all summer and dried catnip leaves and flower buds through the winter.
With all of that in mind, I recommend sticking with one catnip plant. If you decide you want more mid-season, you can always start another plant from a cutting of the original.
How and when should I harvest catnip?
Harvesting catnip is easy, a little at a time or all at once when you’re done with the plant.
You can start to pick leaves when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Use the leaves and stems collected during regular pruning for fresh use or for drying.
When the flower buds appear and small purple flowers emerge, the essential oil cats love will be at its peak — so that’s a good time to grab some sharp scissors and snip stems and flower buds.
At the end of the growing season, you can harvest the whole plant by cutting it down at the base.
Then, hang the whole thing upside down or tie branches into bunches for drying in a dry, protected place like a garage or shed.
Some fun catnip toys you can fill with your own catnip!
As I’ve said — and as your cat can attest — catnip is easy to grow and well worth the minimal effort required. It does very well in containers and serves as a unique, pet-honoring addition to your patio garden.
More ideas about growing herbs in containers:
Follow the steps and treat your cat to some homegrown catnip this season! Read on for a few fun facts about catnip and its uses.
Catnip fun facts:
What does catnip do to cats?
Smelling or sniffing it can trigger excitement and euphoria, sometimes even aggression. Eating it has the opposite effect and tends to calm them down.
What is catnip used for?
Catnip can be used in toys, beds, scratching posts, and other items of interest to your cat. It can also be used to ease them into stressful situations or introduce cats who are new to each other.
How much catnip should I give my cat?
A tablespoon of dried catnip rubbed on a scratching post or stuffed in a toy is usually enough to elicit a reaction. The effect often wears off after 5-10 minutes, after which your cat might be less sensitive to catnip for 30 minutes or more.
What part of catnip do you use with cats?
You can use any part of the plant with your cat. With a fresh plant, they might sniff, lick, chew on, or rub against the leaves. The flower buds have the highest concentration of the essential oil they’re attracted to, so
Can cats overdose on catnip?
Catnip is nontoxic, but excessive use can sometimes cause agitation and aggression or even digestive upset. If you notice any of those reactions, remove the catnip toy or object for awhile.
Can I give my cat catnip every day?
Yes, it’s safe to give your cat every day.
How long does catnip last?
The catnip “high” usually lasts for 5-10 minutes.
Can humans eat catnip?
Yes, catnip is sometimes used to make a calming tea. People describe the flavor as somewhere between grassy, woodsy and skunky, so it’s best mixed with lemon and/or other herbs in tea.
How do you dry catnip for tea?
Most herbs can be dried by tying in a bundle and hanging upside down in a dry, dark spot like a garage. Or you can spread out some leaves and flower buds on a baking sheet and dry in an oven, on the lowest heat setting, for 2-4 hours.
Is catnip good for sleep?
For humans, catnip has a gentle calming effect like chamomile and has traditionally been used to help ease anxiety and sleep problems. Catnip and valerian root are a common combination for sleepy-time tea .