This article wraps up our series on How to Grow Cannabis Indoors in Oklahoma. In this blog series, we take the beginner grower through the basics of growing.
We began with the process of Propagation – starting your plants from Seeds or clones. We then covered the Vegetative Cycle, and discussed various tips for training your plants in veg to maximize yield. And most recently we covered the Flowering Cycle, which is where cannabis plants show their true beauty.
But you can’t smoke a plant that’s still alive, so you’ve got to get it from living plant to a cured, finished product. Follow this steps and you will be good to go!
The Harvest process of indoor cannabis farmers
The entire process of harvesting, drying, curing, and trimming and then storing could and should be an article series all on its own. And in the future, we will publish a more in depth series on this finishing process. For now, this article will give the beginner grower an overview.
A Note on the Importance of the Harvest Process
So you’ve made it this far, you’ve taken your plant from a tiny little seedling that you weren’t even sure would make it, to a giant flowering cola-king monster. But now you need to harvest this beast so you can end up with buckets of excellent, smokable cannabis.
At this point, you must realize that you are only 50% of the way there. Yes, you’ve spent the last 16 weeks cloning, growing, feeding, training, trellising, watering, inspecting, defoliating… whew.. the list goes on. You have spent months tending to your plants!
And yet, all of this progress can be destroyed by a bad harvest process. We must stress to you the importance of the harvest process. The liberties you take with regard to cutting corners will be reflected in the end result, regardless of how magnificent your beautifully raging flowering plant looks and is at this stage. It can all be ruined with a bad cure, a bad dry, or bad harvesting procedures.
Chopping down your Cannabis Plants on the day of harvest
When it is time to harvest, you merely chop the bottom of the plant, at the stalk, and remove your plant from the stem that is stuck in the dirt. You can use a saw or heavy clippers. Here’s a pro tip: use a pipe cutter. You can buy one at your local hardware store.
You will want to have a separate space for drying your plants. This space should be clean, cool, dry and keep the lights off. After you’ve disconnected your plant from the stem and pot it came from, you will need to carry it to your drying space.
Drying your plants in your in-door dry room
Once you have chopped your plants down, you will then take your plants and hang them upside down. There are many ways you can do this. You can hang the whole plant, or you can remove branches and hang each individually.
You can use wire hangers, and hang the branches therein, or you can hang the whole plant by tying the bottom stalk to something on your ceiling. In commercial grow spaces, rooms are specifically designed for this process.
At Smokey Okies, we have an entire harvest department that has multiple dry rooms, all with their own separate environmental controls. We are set up so that if we have a problem arise in one room, we have multiple spare rooms ready to go.
You will want to make sure that your dry room is environmentally controlled. It is a best practice to dry your plants in a cool, dark, and dry space. The temperature should be in 60’s and the humidity should start at around 70% and be incrementally reduced over 10 to 14 days down to around 55%.
In a future article, we will go into detail about these metrics, because there are many ways of doing this, some better than others. There is a lot going on, but if you are brand new, this should provide an adequate framework for now.
Shucking, Bucking, and Trimming: the final stages of the Cannabis Harvest activities
When your plants are fully dry and ready to be trimmed….. well, now the real labor starts. You do have some helpers ready, right?
If you hung whole plants, you will need to break off branches for trimming. You will then need to shuck your plants, which means you pull the buds off the stem, or you pull the stem out from the center of your buds (bucking). There are machines that do this, and they work by sucking the stem through a hole, but the buds do not fit so they fall straight down (into a bucket or whatever you have underneath).
To do this by hand, grab the bottom of the stem in one hand, and then with the other hand, grip the stem below a bud group and move it up. It should disjoin and then carry on up the stem until you run into the next bud group, and just keep it moving. Do it quick and fast, and shuck those buds off.
Did I mention you need to wear gloves? Oh yes, the stick icky goodness of cannabis is on full display with this activity. Wear gloves or else your hands will be covered in adhesive (ever wondered where the name Gorilla Glue came from? The famous strain name refers to the glue that covers your hands during trimming!).
Once your buds have been shucked off the plant, you should have a bucket full of hairy, messy buds.
Most commercial facilities will run these chunks through a machine to get the large leaf and plant material off. They will then proceed to either fine trimming by machine, or hand-trimming to a manicured finish.
Storing Your Cannabis in a cool, dry location, in glass jars
Once you have trimmed your bud, you will want to store it in glass containers, in a dark, dry, and cool space. Store you bud correctly, and it will age gracefully. Store your bud incorrectly, and it will age poorly.
Once you have trimmed and jarred your bud, sit back and admire your accomplishments. Regardless of yield, you should have a lot of weed for a personal smoke session. Enough to get you through until the next harvest. Blaze up and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
About Smokey Okies Cannabis
We are a family owned and operated cannabis cultivator in Oklahoma. We supply premium medical cannabis to dispensaries around the state. For commercial inquiries, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.