When to Harvest
Growers differ on how they determine peak trichome/resin gland ripeness-the ideal time for harvest. E.Z. Gene cuts his plants down when the red and white hairs are about an even 50-50%. "Papers" prefers to use a magnifying loupe to check for fully formed resin-gland heads. "I harvest when trichomes are at their biggest but still clear, before they turn opaque or amber," he explains. "It makes for more of an 'up' high. Plants harvested later tend to give me couch-lock, with all the CBDs [cannabidiol] overpowering the THC."
Like the story of the turtle and the hare, growing great marijuana is not a race won by sprinting. Resist the temptation to cut down your plants too early or rush through the harvesting process. It's always disappointing to see immature quick-dried buds or nuggets that are wet and have a moldy smell and appearance. Drying and curing connoisseur-quality cannabis should never be hurried.
How to Harvest
Prepare your trimming room with a clean table, plenty of small scissors and some comfortable chairs. Anyone you have helping out must be a trusted friend. Make sure they understand the importance of keeping quiet about your operation. Your security, as well as theirs, depends on resisting any urge to brag about the work being done. It'll take one experienced trimmer about 2-4 hours per pound, so choose helpers wisely (if you need them at all).
Use sharp pruning clippers to cut the plant at its base. Trim plants whole or cut them into easier-to-manage branches. The goal is to remove the fan leaves and trim any secondary leaves that stick out from the buds and don't have many resin glands on them. The closer to the flowers you trim, the less leaf you'll be smoking later, so take your time. Use these leaf trimmings to make dry or water-extracted hash and cannabis butter.