Timing the harvest is an art form in and of itself, though the general rule of thumb is on or around the Fall Equinox. Aside from brown pistils, a close inspection of the trichomes is helpful. Generally, growers look for trichomes that have an amber hue to them. When the plant is ready to harvest you’ll probably also see the fan leaves starting to yellow, curl, and dry out.
This, of course, varies by region. Farmers in California enjoy generally warmer growing seasons and can plant outside earlier while also harvesting later than, say, New York, whose growing season is shorter on both ends. Regardless of where you’re growing, the main goal is to time planting for maximum light during the summer and maximum growth before fall sets in.
Like any farmer or gardener, cannabis farmers and gardeners typically get their plants in the ground as soon as the weather is warm enough and the days are long enough.
As far as timing when to sprout your seeds, a general rule of thumb is on or around the Spring Equinox. If you’re not growing from seed but instead buying clones, they’ll already be in the seedling stage when you get them so you don’t have to worry about germination.
For photoperiod plants, timing is everything. Photoperiod cannabis plants take their cue from Mother Nature (or more specifically the number of uninterrupted hours of darkness) to start flowering. As fall sets in and hours of darkness hit twelve per night, the plant will be triggered into its flowering stage.
Are you thinking about growing your own cannabis? New to being a plant parent? Wondering when you should plant your cannabis seedlings outdoors?
For the final stage of a female cannabis plant’s life, most of its energy will be put into producing flowers. The flowering stage happens in three phases:
Why do growers plant and harvest cannabis at specific times of the year?
There are also cannabis plants that aren’t light-sensitive, called autoflower varieties, that will automatically flower on their own at a particular point of their maturity independent of how much light they’re getting. These plants tend to have much shorter life cycles, which is appealing to some gardeners.
Folks in cooler climates often elect to start plants indoors to keep them safe and warm, waiting to plant outdoors until they’re somewhere between 6 inches and a foot tall and strong enough to handle the environment outside. Even in warm climates, many growers like to start their plants indoors to give them a leg up since seedlings are susceptible to pests, disease, and mold.
You will really see your flowers grow and the aroma develop. You can start thinking about flushing your plants to remove the excess nutrients and salts. You can do a 24-hour flushing process without nutrients. After 24 hours, you can continue the normal feeding schedule.
You may need to start watering your plants more often due to their fast growth. Make sure to prune off any leaves and small branches on the bottom third of the plant to improve air circulation and focus the growth on the top buds that get the most light.
This will also be the last week you should prune your crop. Since pruning can stress out a plant, you want to prune before the flowering begins to avoid lowering your yield and quality of buds.
For plants that are getting too tall, you can install a trellis netting to create an even canopy for better light distribution. Make sure to work the overgrown branches through the trellis net to maintain an even canopy.
Growing cannabis from the comfort of your home is easier than ever. There are also smart grow apps that track nutrients, watering, and more if you’re more tech-inclined.
After your plants have been fully germinated or the clones have taken root, you can begin the vegetative stage. During this stage, your plants will be focused on growing their stems. Generally, the vegetative stage can take up to four weeks.
Before switching from your vegetative to your flowering stage, give your plants 24 to 36 hours of full darkness and then begin the 12-12 light cycle. Avoid any light leaks during this time. If any light enters during this period of darkness, it can prevent the triggering of the flowering.
By this point, your plant will have grown considerably compared to the growth that happened during the vegetative stage. Cannabis buds will begin to take shape. The plant will require the most amount of water. You can keep your soil damp but avoid overwatering.