AFTER TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS…
After losing a hose on my hydroponic setup and having the plants nearly die, the plants made quite a recovery! I chopped them down yesterday at the end of week 10 of ﬂower. They got a full 70 days of LED glory! First, I remove all the shade leaves and the larger sugar leaves. (Sugar leaves are the leaves which are not fully protruding from the bud. They are named for the fact that they usually have trichomes covering them at the end nearest to the bud. Trichomes are the name for the crystals that cover the buds.)
At this stage, I prefer to leave them attached to the branches if it is feasible. After that, I set my buds in a drying rack. Next, I leave them in the drying rack until they have no obvious moisture left to them. This usually takes about a week in my coastal Southern California climate. Your time will vary depending on the level of humidity in your space. When drying the buds, I recommend using the air so that you don’t dry them too quickly. If the air in your drying area is over 50% humidity, this may not be an option for you. In that case, I recommend drying in a space with a programmable dehumidiﬁer that is set to 50% humidity and closely monitoring the situation. There are professional products to help speed along drying times, but the ones that I have found to do so effectively are very expensive humidor like devices. For me, it’s not worth it, but your results may vary. Once the buds appear to have little give to them when squeezed, it is time to put them into glass jars. You can also break any stems that are still attached to buds to test their readiness for the jars. If the stem snaps clean and easily, they are ready. Before you put the buds into the jars, trimming is necessary. To trim, you will use scissors to cut off the leaves protruding from the buds. You will follow the natural contours of the buds, but you want to make sure you get all the leaves and achieve a uniform non-textured surface.
I use half gallon size Ball jars. Regular plastic is not suitable for curing because it is not an oxygen barrier. That’s why you can often easily smell cannabis through a plastic bag. I have heard that there are advanced polymers that can be used for this purpose, but as of the time of writing, there is nothing I can recommend other than glass. To check the humidity, you’ll want to buy a cheap hygrometer or two. I have a few that were designed for small cigar box sized humidors, and they work very well. Take all the buds off the stems and place them in the jars, sealing them in with the hygrometers. A couple hours after they are sealed, check the hygrometers. If they are over 65% humidity, you will want to burp the jar. In this case, burp means to open the jar to let some of the humidity out and some fresh air in. If the humidity goes over 70%, you might want to consider giving the buds an extra day to dry on the rack. You don’t want the buds to get below 55% humidity. This is because there are bacteria that exists naturally within the buds that eats chlorophyll. (Chlorophyll is the natural chemical in the plant that it uses to produce its energy, FYI.) The sun hits the chlorophyll in the leaves, and the plant uses that light to turn its nutrients into usable forms. Think of it sort of like how we digest our food and use it to build muscle, bone, etc. Unfortunately, once the plant is chopped down, the only thing chlorophyll does is give it a grassy smell and taste. We want the chlorophyll gone, and the bacteria that eats the chlorophyll dies if the humidity in the bud gets too low. This is why your buds will smell and taste grassy unless they are properly cured. CURING PROPERLY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR GROW.
f your cure is not done properly, the taste will be grassy or moldy. Too much humidity in the jars, and mold will happen. Too little, and the bacteria that eat the chlorophyll will die, and the cannabis will be stuck with a grassy/green taste. If you hold it for 2-5 weeks in jars between 55% and 65% humidity while burping the jars every few days, the only aromas and ﬂavors that remain will be those of the terpenes. Those are the substance in the plant which give it its smell. They can be citrusy, piney, or the familiar skunky smells, but there are many more. Once you achieve the desired smell, you are ﬁnished, and you can enjoy the delicious tasting fruits of your labor!