Finally you can grow cannabis legally at home! If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t fret! All you need is the right guidance to become a master cultivator. But do remember that only up to four plants can be grown legally at home in Canada, so refrain from dreaming of a garden. Make sure to get high quality seeds or clones from a legal source for optimum results.
Things become a little more challenging when the plants start to flower. This is when the growth slows and the buds appear, giving out that pungent aroma that’s typical of cannabis. You know that cannabis flowers are ready to be harvested when the scent intensifies, the fine hairy trichomes develop and change colour. Proper timing is crucial to the process. Harvesting too early will result in flowers that do not produce much psychoactive effects while harvesting too late may cause the plants to self-pollinate and rot.
The easiest way to know the right time to harvest is by keeping an eye on the cannabis buds. The tiny trichomes change colour as they mature from clear to cloudy and opaque. When you see flecks of golden amber on the upper buds, you know they are ripe. The uppermost buds mature earlier than the ones below. Don’t wait for all the trichomes to turn yellow or the potency of THC will decrease into a soothing, relaxing CBN that may put you to sleep.
Mature cannabis leaves turn yellow in colour. If you don’t use fertilizers, they can start falling off. Mature leaves also start drying and curling as it starts pulling less water during the final phase. That’s the time you know your cannabis plant is ready to harvest. Sometimes, pests could be responsible for the curling and drying leaves. If the pistils and stigmas are brown or the trichomes are flecked with amber, get ready to harvest. Medicinal cannabis growers prefer higher levels of CBN so the weed is left to mature for longer but be careful about late harvests. Some strains may self-pollinate and turn intersex.
Cannabis cultivators fall into two categories:
Auto-flowering: Auto-flowering cannabis rapidly start flowering after they reach a vegetative state. Autoflowering strains take about 10 weeks after the seedling stage to harvest the buds.
Photoperiodic: This strain of cannabis require a specific duration of regulated light intensity to sprout flowers from a vegetative state. This method affects bud dormancy, branching and potency.
Mohyuddin Mirza, botany specialist at Phoenix Life Sciences International and cannabis production consultant told Weedmaps News “(Photoperiodic) cannabis plants, like other plants, are totally dependent on what happens when changes are made to the light duration and light intensity. Photoperiod also affects other aspects of plant development, such as bud dormancy and branching. It regulates cannabis through internal signals that are expressed in the architecture, or structure of the plant. In photoperiodic cannabis varieties, intense flowering and branching of the inflorescence is triggered by a reduction in daylight hours.”
“Once a cannabis plant has reached a certain stage of vegetative growth, change in photoperiod from long days (18 hours of light/6 hours of darkness) to short days, (12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness), initiates flowering. This applies to both Cannabis sativa and indica strains,” he explained.
However, new research believes differently. Dr. Ben Rimon at the Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center of Israel, researched on cannabis inflorescence and published his findings in Frontiers in Plant Science on April 2, 2019.
He said that “The most significant finding is that a short photoperiod orchestrates intense branching, producing inflorescence structure, with floral initiation that occurs independently of short photoperiod.” The flower initiation is not a result of short photoperiodic conditions, but more likely influenced by the age of the plant, the mother plant’s development, and internal signals. In short, it means that the flowering initiation is not dependent on short photoperiod as earlier believed.
The process of drying and curing are greatly responsible for improving the flavour of the flowers. It breaks down chlorophyll resulting in a smoother taste that makes it especially effective for medicinal use. Drying and curing reduces anxiety and may even increase cannabinoid potency and shelf-life so you can enjoy your home-grown cannabis for months.