Medical cannabis is legal in 37 states nationwide, with more on track to join the list in the coming years. In most places, medical cannabis patients can grow their own medical cannabis at home, and many take advantage of the outdoor cannabis growing season. The season has just one harvest, but when it’s done right, it can be very plentiful.
In contrast, indoor cannabis crops take an average of three to four months to grow from seed to harvest, meaning patients who grow indoors can have three to four harvests a year. Outdoor growing has its own advantages, though, and for those who partake, harvest time comes just once a year: Croptober.
Why Is October the Harvest Month?
Croptober refers to October being the time of year when most sun-grown cannabis plants are ready for harvest. The flowering cycle of outdoor cannabis is triggered by a change in the length of the days. When days begin to shorten, cannabis plants begin to flower.
Additionally, the full moon is believed to help increase resin production in cannabis plants. This is one reason for harvesting during the full moon in October. The main reason the full moon is used to harvest not just cannabis but other crops is for its light. Before the days of tractors, combines, harvesting equipment fitted with headlights, and fields with generators and electricity, farmers used the full moonlight to harvest crops well into the night.
Last but not least, October is the harvest month for cannabis crops because, in most places, October is when the first freeze happens. Cannabis plants do not like freezing temperatures. Some cultivators actually wait until the first freeze and then harvest their plants. They do this on the principle that the plant will send all available resources (resin) to the buds to help them survive.
Tips for Harvesting Cannabis
Whenever you decide to harvest, whether it be indoors or outdoors, here are some tips you can keep in mind to get the best results possible.
Pre-harvest prep will make harvest time a whole lot easier. It also stands to help you improve the overall quality of your bud in those last few crucial days before it’s time to chop your crop.
- Flush your plants.
- Water them heavily daily to help flush out nutrients that may be in the buds from cultivation.
- Remove all excess leaves from your plants, leaving only a small amount of leaves on your buds to help with freshness and flavor during the drying process.
Harvest time is here, and it’s finally time to chop that crop of cannabis you’ve been carefully cultivating.
- Cut your cannabis plants toward the bottom of the stem, leaving a small nub behind.
- Now is a good time to remove any excess big leaves you may have missed during your pre-harvest prep.
- When you chop them down, split the stems and hang them upside down to dry.
You’ve spent weeks flowering your cannabis crop to perfection. Now, you have bushy buds covered in trichomes with that dank aroma emanating from them. It’s time to dry your cannabis—but be careful. This is part of the process where many people mess up.
- Don’t rush the drying process or let your plants become overly dry. Nothing is worse than growing a beautiful crop of cannabis only to have it get all funky and moldy a few days after you chop it down.
- Dry your plants in a cool, dark place with low humidity and good airflow.
- Keep fans from blowing directly on your plants, as this can cause them to lose flavor and potency by drying them too fast. It takes about eight to 10 days for most plants to dry before it’s time to trim them and prepare them to be cured.
- If you can put a dehumidifier in the room where you are drying your cannabis plants, you can better avoid issues like molding. You can tell your buds are ready to be trimmed and cured when the branches on your plants snap instead of bend. A good snap means it’s time to trim and cure your cannabis crop.
Curing cannabis takes time to perfect. There’s a lot that can go wrong during this process. There’s also a lot that can go right. Curing cannabis is an art, and all artists are a little bit different. However, there are some golden rules for curing cannabis that everyone should follow to prevent spoiling their harvest.
- Cure your cannabis in airtight glass jars.
- Keep them out of direct sunlight, preferably storing the jars in a cool, dark place.
- Open the jars once daily for 5 to 30 minutes to let them exchange air and help prevent mold.
- After about 14 to 28 days, your freshly harvested cannabis will be ready to consume. Some people run their cure time for several months.
That’s the 411 on the Croptober cannabis harvest! If you integrate these practices, you will end up with flourishing cannabis plants. Do you have any tried-and-true pointers for harvesting cannabis? Drop them in the comments.