The harvest season is the most taxing as well as the most thrilling time of the outdoor plant growth cycle. This season can either make or break an entire year’s operation. To ensure your harvest is snag-free and also successful, here are some of the key things you should make sure are ticked off your ‘before-harvest’ checklist.
- Ensure that your drying area has been prepared and is ready for use
It is important to sanitize and clean the drying area to be used. This will help prevent post-harvest contamination as well as ensure that your processing operation runs smoothly. Additionally, humidifiers and fans to be used should be cleaned and also checked out to make sure they are operating at optimal levels. If you do not have enough fans/humidifiers, then I suggest you purchase more. Using a humidity monitor in the drying area would help as well in ensuring that the rooms’ relative humidity remains at about 50%. This will be helpful in the first days after harvest.
- Choose the method of harvest, how the buds will be dried and separated from the plants and determine the amount of space that will be needed
Many farmers usually make the mistake of underestimating the size of the space they’ll need for drying their marijuana. This affects the drying time, which usually compromises the quality of the finished product as well.
Here are a few options to choose from:
- Harvest and break down the plants into individual branches then hang them up.
- Remove the buds when they’re wet then dry the flowers on screens.
- Alternatively, one can harvest then hang the whole plants up to dry and handle the sorting at a later time.
This will also help prevent post-harvest contamination.
- Search the plants for botrytis(fungus) and other fungal issues regularly
As the harvest season nears, the weather may get cooler and, or, wetter. This is dependent on your location. Infected buds that are still on the plants need to be removed every day or else the fungus will spread rapidly.
Even after harvest, you should continue checking the drying buds/plants because mold can grow in the drying area, which may destroy your harvest.
- Observe the weather and prepare for an early harvest because of non-stop rains or temperatures below 25ºF
Freezing cold weather will destroy your crop. So, it would be better to harvest early than lose everything. Crops that have been harvested early can make concentrates of high quality. The only downside of this is that you’ll earn less. However, you should not panic and start harvesting if it happens to rain a little or if the temperature remains between 26º to 28º F in the night. The plants can withstand that, it’s freezing weather and ongoing rains that are the problem.
Additionally, you should hire enough employees to help harvest and process the plants, especially if you decide to screen dry the plants and remove the leaves before the drying process begins.
Established companies like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) have probably fine-tuned their harvesting systems to a science, and startups would do well to devote as much attention to this phase of cannabis cultivation.
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