Growing Gardens When to Harvest

When to Harvest

When to Harvest Your Cannabis Crop

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 isnít 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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Guest | Oct 21, 2012
Amber trichromes all the way!! Im an evening smoker, too busy in the day and sativa or early harvested indica make me feel to active and creative when at that time i need to feel relaxed and sleepy. I do smoke sativa hybrids for inspiration and creativity on weekends. But Indica with amber trichs suit my anxiety disorder.
Guest | Jul 24, 2012
I really liked the article. I'm a patient that is growing my first two clones outdoors. I plan on harvesting before any trichromes turn amber. I want at least half clear. I have a decent magnifying glass w/ 12x magnification. I'm hoping I get more of the cerebral effect for depression. Plus I'm not a big fan of the sedated effect. Although I do agree it is just as awesome.
Guest | May 19, 2012
what about when a female herms in late flowering. Yellow male flowers poking out here and there. Some plants are beginning to produce a few seeds. My question is should i harvest a week or two early to avoid seed formation or what til done and deal with seeds?
advancegrower | May 15, 2012
Very helpful I think if practice you'll have success. Happy Growing!!
lindzzz | Sep 13, 2011
One of my friends just recently pulled the plants early as well. I felt so bad for them, over half of the hairs were white. I think that it was a combination of the two reasons that gbennett lists.
| Jun 22, 2011
very informative. i know to many people that pull plants way to early. its a shame to see all that time effort and bud to be ruined over somebody being impatient or by having the lack of knowledge.
sbsdewb | Apr 23, 2011
this is a great and extremely informative read. If you have any questions or wonders that sums it up.
CannaConnoisseur | Apr 17, 2011
Never personally had that problem, but try posting this in the forums under Plant Care or something similar, again man I wish I knew what to tell you but I've never encountered that issue.
lindzzz | Apr 17, 2011
This is so informative, I have gotten indicas that were more of a head high and the reason could have been that they were harvested too early. I think that patience is always a virtue when it comes to growing cannabis, and given the proper amount of time you can obtain some truly great medicine.
SkillitHits247 | Apr 16, 2011
This is a great read! I have a Jack Herrer that has gone through some stress and is taking a long time to get close to harvest; she is in the 13-14wk in flowering but it looks like it is still in the 5-6wk of flowering right where you start to see the trichromes and calyxes are starting to get swollen, and she is sooo bushy, I just don't know whether to keep her going or just cut her down because she is taking up a lot of space in my garden and just taking too long to finish flowering... Any suggestions from some other growers experienced with this kind of problem?