Being able to tell when your marijuana garden is at optimum harvest time is an all-important and crucial step in the regimen of any grower. There are many factors to consider however, such as indica vs. sativa and indoor vs. outdoor. In general indicas will take about 8 weeks before they reach maturity, while sativa can range anywhere from generally 8 to 14 weeks to mature.
Indoor indicas have a window of optimum harvest time that is typically around 2 weeks long. At the end of this window, the potency, flavor and overall quality of the bud begins to diminish as the crop over-ripens. Indoor sativas have a much longer and more inconsistent window, that can be anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Harvesting at the beginning of a window will provide a predominantly cerebral effect, while waiting until the end of that window will cause the high to be more of a narcotic body high.
Outdoors, indicas are generally ready between the beginning of October and the beginning of November, while sativa strains can take until the middle of November or even into December in the right climate.
One sure way to tell when your crop is at its peak harvest time is to invest in a quality magnifying glass or other digital microscope. As cannabis matures, the trichromes begin to turn from a clear, see-through color to cloudy and milky, and finally amber. The clear trichromes contain THC that is inferior in potency. The milky trichromes provide a cerebral effect, while the amber ones give a body stone. To achieve an effect that most closely resembles the strain -and isn’t influenced by early or late harvest - most gardeners like to harvest when the trichromes are about 50% milky or cloudy and 50% amber.
Another way to tell is to look at the pistils. At optimum harvest, most strains will have mostly brown/reddish pistils that have turned from white. For an indica, this will typically occur after the 7th week of flowering.
When bud is ripe, the calyxes also will swell immensely, becoming quite robust in sometimes as little as 4 to 5 days. When the calyxes stop swelling, the bud will be around optimum harvest time.
Remember that timing your harvest is critical in achieving the best customized effect based on your medicinal needs. Good luck and happy growing.
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