Flowering to Harvest
Here in Canada individuals with a prescription for medical Cannabis can also apply for a permit to grow their own medicine through the ‘Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations’ program. Now that Cannabis is legal for recreational purposes, some provinces and municipalities will allow individuals to grow four plants per household, sparking a recent interest in growing Cannabis at home for personal use.
As I shared before, consider having any electrical work done by a professional for safety and potential legal reasons. The security of the grow-op location and storage of the product should also be a priority. Most importantly, be sure you have an insurance policy that will cover damage done by a ‘legal’ grow operation; there are some so check around.
Once the Cannabis plants have reached two months, or two feet tall it is time to switch them to the final growth phase. The plants should be showing their sex at this time. Female plants will show sacks with feather-like stigmas shooting out. Remove and discard any male plants to avoid cross-pollination.
Read the previous article for instructions on how to get started. These next steps are for the flowering, or ‘bud’ phase through to harvesting using the deep-water culture method.
Switch the lights cycle to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. This will indicate to the plants that the season is shorter and it is time to produce flowers.
*Currently using HID lamps, one is a 400-watt metal halide bulb and one is a 1000-watt high-pressure sodium bulb.
Begin giving the plants blooming fertilizer, both A & B as directed by the manufacturer. The deep-water culture system being used has a 60-litre reservoir which is filled with tap water. Add fertilizer as directed and adjust the PH level to a maximum of 6.2. After draining the buckets completely empty the prepared water from the reservoir into the buckets. Once empty refill the reservoir with more tap water for the next watering. Because of the high levels of fertilizer being given to the plants, alternate feeding with PH ONLY water for one night to clean any unused minerals from buckets. Continue to rotate between fertilized water and PH only water to flush any buildup of minerals that the plants have not used.
Once the plants have reached the last two weeks discontinue all fertilizer and use PH ONLY water until harvest; this flushes any remaining minerals out of the plants.
The best indicators the plants are ready for harvest is the look and smell. As per the Marijuana Horticulture bible, the resin glands (or trichomes) change to an amber colour. Harvest the plants before the trichomes have lost the round tops to avoid degradation. Use a magnifying glass to observe. The pistils (or hairs) will also be turning an orange or reddish colour. Finally, the smell can indicate the plants are ready. The aroma goes from a fresh green scent, like cut grass, to the recognizable skunk smell.
Prepare your work area and line two large, shallow bins with parchment paper. Use food-safe gloves for convenience. You will also need clean scissors.
Time to harvest! Begin trimming branches off the plant and discard all dead leaves. Remove the large fan leaves and place them in the first shallow bin. This is called the ‘B’ shake. Using scissors cut all the smaller leaves off the bud (or flower) and place trimmings in the second shallow bin. This is called the ‘A’ shake. Turn the shake regularly while drying to prevent mold. Handle the buds as little as possible to preserve the trichomes. Hang the branch with the bud still attached on a line or place in drying rack until dry to the touch.
After the Cannabis flowers are dry to the touch, cut the individual buds off the branch and into a brown paper bag for a couple more days to redistribute moisture evenly. Once the material is fully dry, weigh your product before storing. Use clean glass jars to store product once cured and use humidity packs to control moisture. Store the dried shake in glass jars also.
Enjoy the benefits of growing your own Cannabis responsibility and stay lifted!