If you’re not giving your plants extra nutrients in their water (for example if you’re growing in super soil) than there’s no need to flush before harvest because you’ve already been giving your plants plain water from the beginning. Your micro-herd is taking care of getting the nutrients to your plants without going overboard, and by this point in the grow you will have used up a lot of the extra nutrients. In regular soil it’s common to flush for 1-2 weeks before harvest because there’s still some amount of nutrients contained in the soil. In coco or hydro there are no extra nutrients as a buffer, so it’s recommended you flush for only a few days to a week.
Giving a really long flush in a soilless medium can cause leaves to turn yellow and die too early. This hurts yields and can make buds look less attractive if the sugar leaves turn yellow too. These products are formulated to help remove extra minerals or salts when flushing the plant, which may reduce the chance that these minerals end up altering the smell or flavor of your buds. They’re meant to be used if you’ve been giving your plants extra nutrients in their water; they aren’t necessary when the plant has been getting all its nutrients from the soil. If you’ve got an active microbial colony in your soil, these might do more harm than good, but they’re a great choice for growers in soilless mediums like coco or hydro where the plant is getting all its nutrition from liquid nutrients. The most important thing about harvesting cannabis is to… Harvest at the right time. Smells (terpenes) build up throughout the flowering stage. If you harvest too early you will have far lower levels of terpenes, and your buds won’t be nearly as fragrant as they would be if they had been allowed to develop to maturity. Trim buds on their stems so you can hang them upside down to dry. Compared to some other methods, drying on stems makes it easier to get it exactly right.
Although not 100% necessary, drying this way gives buds a lot more of a water buffer and makes it much easier to dry buds slowly. Drying buds slowly during the first few days after harvest is crucial to producing cannabis that smells like it did in flowering. Bad or rough handling can destroy terpenes and reduce the overall aroma of your buds. Of course you need to touch buds at times, but avoid touching them when you don’t need to. (This is tough one for me but I still try!) 7.) Dry & Cure – ( CRUCIAL – don’t skip this!) Dry buds slowly! Drying buds too quickly can give them a “green” or minty sort of taste and smell that doesn’t go away even after curing. It’s normal for buds to smell sort of like grass or hay immediately after drying, but if you dried them slowly the smell will come back after a few days into the curing process. A good general range for drying is between 60-75°F. However, even though keeping the temperature lower helps prevent terpenes from burning off, the range between 60-70°F is perfect for mold. Because of those factors I recommend keeping your drying temperature around 70°F if possible. In the space where buds are drying you’d like about 50% RH. Humidity that is 40% and lower tends to dry out buds too fast. Humidity that is 60% or higher makes it much more likely you’ll get mold, and buds often take a very long time to dry. When buds feel completely dry and pop off their stems without leaving strings behind, they are done drying and ready to put in jars. At this point the small stems on the branches will snap, but the bigger ones may still bend without snapping (bending means there is still water contained inside). Curing Your Buds in Jars – Read the Full Curing Tutorial. The curing process may seem unnecessary if you’ve never done it before, but it is going to significantly improve the taste, smell and overall smoothness of your buds. You simply cannot skip the curing process and get cannabis that lives up to its potential. There are chemical processes that happen in the buds themselves during the curing process that drastically changes their scent. These processes also increase the perceived potency of buds and many find the mental/body effects of buds to be much stronger and/or more pleasant after buds have been cured. Place your newly dried and separated buds in quart-sized mason jars as this is the beginning of the “curing” process. If you’ve dried your buds slowly and put them in the jars at the right time, the overall humidity in the jar is going to rise over time as the moisture from inside the buds works its way to the outside. If buds ever feel moist or are sticking together in the jar, it means there’s too much water contained inside and the jar should be left open for a few minutes to an hour to help dry things out. If this happens to you, check on buds frequently until the humidity has stabilized. If you’re interested in closely monitoring your humidity during the curing process, I like the Caliber IV hygrometer, which is small enough to fit in your curing jars and can be found online for cheap. A hygrometer is more of a luxury than a necessity, though it will take out a lot of the guesswork.
In this pic, the Caliber IV hygrometers display both the temperature and the relative humidity in each curing jar. At first, open the jars daily to let in air and check on buds. If using a hygrometer you want to keep the RH around 60-65% in the jars. For those who don’t want to monitor the humidity closely you can get specialized “humidipacks” that are designed for curing cannabis. These automatically maintain the humidity around 62%, which is perfect for curing! Boveda 62 humidipacks automatically maintain the humidity in jars around 62% RH for you during the curing process. Open jars less often after 1-2 weeks of checking daily. As long as buds have stabilized and never feel wet when you check on them, you can start opening the jars less often. You leave jars closed for a few days at first, then a week, etc. Buds are considered “done” curing after 2-4 weeks , though many growers agree that bud quality and smell will continue to improve for several months of curing.
Again, it’s normal for buds to smell like hay at first. When you first put buds in the jars, they’re going to smell a little “green” like grass or hay. They will have lost a lot of their “cannabis” smell that was assaulting your nose in the flowering stage 🙂 This is completely normal and your cannabis smell will come back over the first several days to weeks of curing. Watch out for the smell of ammonia or an unpleasant “funk.” Whenever you open your jars and take a little whiff, watch out for the smell of ammonia or a bad “funky” kind of scent.