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5 Often Overlooked Process When It Comes to Harvesting Herb

Gardening Tips

A common misconception of Herb cultivation, especially among first-time growers, is that harvesting is simple, and requires little supervision. Unfortunately, underestimating the final steps of a grow operation can be a very pricey mistake when it comes down to the quality of your final product.
  1. Trichome Color - Before Flushing.

Knowing exactly when to start chopping down the plant is also an important skill set to possess.  A precision harvest is essential for effective cultivation. Growers must not only be cautious not to chop the plant down that are not yet at the peak of their growth, but also, they must be watchful of chopping plants too late at a time when the plant starts to lose its potency.

There are different methods to determine the ripeness of the flower. The simplest way is to examine the pustules that cover the plant’s buds. At the start of flowering, the pustules look white and pale. Then as it matures, it turns to orange and then again to a dark red or brown. These color changes signify the maturation of the flowers; however, the color and period may be different across the variety of strains of Herb.

Therefore, a better, yet slightly more complicated, approach for determining a method for determining maturity is through trichome examination. The trichomes are the tiny structures on the flower and trim leaves of your plant. Trichomes are the actual glands that contain the potency and other psychoactive chemicals, and they are very delicate and easily ruptured.

As your plant matures the trichomes will go through three observable transformations:

  •        Trichomes swells up and heads flatten or ‘mushroom’ shape
  •        Trichomes change in color from clear to cloudy
  •        Trichomes begin to turn amber or brown

As a general rule, the longer you leave you to plant, the heavier the effects. Herb with clear trichome still does the effect but will be lighter compared to when the trichomes are amber in color. The longer you leave it, the heavier the effects.

Trichome Colors

  1. Flushing - Before Chopping.

Many growers and harvesters like to prepare their Herb by “flushing” out unwanted nutrients from the plants to purify the plant. Two weeks before harvesting, flush the plant with a heavy dose of water until the nutrients break down. This will dissolve the salts inside the plant. Add more water after waiting for a few minutes. This will then flush the broken down nutrients from the plant.

In the stage when you flush your plants, you’ll notice that the leaves will transform color, from dark green to light green to yellow. Now, Taste tests your flush by breaking off a leaf from the plant and tasting the juices from the stem.  If it tastes harsh and sour, which means there’s still plenty of sugar and nutrients in the plant. If they taste clear, like water, your plant is ready.

Flushing Herb Plant

  1. Trimming - After Chopping Down The Plant.

After chopping down the plant, it is time to clean up the plant.  By remove all the larger leaves and trim off the leaf tips that are all around the flowers a week before harvesting, as soon as the leaves begin to turn pale in color. Then, start by trimming off the leaves not associated with flowers, followed by the ones that are associated with them. Carefully snip away from the leaves and stem. Be sure to be cautious during this process as not to damage the flower

Trimming Herb Plant

  1. Drying - After Trimming

The following step is to gradually and persistently dry out the plant. After the plants are trimmed and harvested, hang them upside down and make sure to allow plenty of air circulation. Hanging time is around 5 to 12 days depending on the density and quantity of the plant. The temperature should also be cool and dry, at around 21°C.  Another good indicator is bending the stem.   If it snaps rather than folding, then it's ready for curing.

Drying Herb Plant

  1. Curing Final Product

Now is the time to trim your Herb before the final cure. To give your flowers their final touch up, use a sterilized sharp pair of scissors for the removing the remaining leaves that are shielding the flowers. Separate the individual flowers from the stems and store them in a sanitized glass jar, plastic tubs or bags will do. For the first week or two that the flowers are in the jars, open them up twice a day and allow some air circulation for around 15 - 20 minutes. This allows for a full air exchange and removes any remaining moisture that is trapped in the curing container. Your final product is now ready. Different strains of the plant may cure at different rates of time and you figure out that, if correctly reserved, your Herb gets better and more flavorful.  A Good curing practice can ensure the quality of your final product and is the finishing touch to all your hard work.

Curing Herb Plant


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