The importance of properly trimming and curing your cannabis is just as important as growing it. March and Ash gives you 7 quick tips to improve your methods for curing your cannabis from your latest harvest. Written by Randy Villarba
So you’ve spent the last two to three months growing cannabis plants in your outdoor garden or indoor grow and all the trichome ladened flowers have you excited to reap the benefits of your harvest. As meticulous as most professional and home cultivators can be, one aspect tends to be overlooked: the skill and art of trimming and curing weed.
As the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat and the same is true for trimming and curing cannabis. Although there are varying methods for the trimming and curing process, we’ll take a look at 7 quick tips to improve your methods for curing flower from your latest harvest.
After cutting down your cannabis plant, you cure the nugs by hang drying it. Some cultivators have been known to trim individual colas and hang branch by branch accordingly. This could be beneficial if the top colas of the plant are maturing faster than the bottom half.
Hanging the whole plant is also a common practice for both commercial and home grows. Even though you have cut it down, the cannabis plant is still alive. This allows the flower to absorb the remaining lifeblood of the plant as it slowly dies.
“Leaving all the leaves on a plant when you can’t control the dry room conditions is an excellent way to maintain humidity levels,” explains Drew Wolfgang, Manager at March and Ash.
“The moisture wicking from all the leaves allows the plant to die slowly on the branch. Keeping the closet or dry room humid maximizes the last bit of life in its branches and drives its essence to the flower.”
It is important to put as much planning into designing your dry room as you did into your grow space. Commercial cultivation facilities have prime setups to cure their cannabis. They create a room that has the controls of a high tech data center
Dry rooms can control humidity and ambient temperatures at the press of a button with the right equipment. They have the ability to pump in fresh air to keep the environment clean. Be sure to also set up your dry room with green lights to allow the plant to cure in a dark environment to limit light exposure.
If these climate control techniques are not an option, you could always hang them on a clothesline in a spare room or garage. Even airing out a dark closet or attic with daily inspection of the drying plants will more than suffice to help the curing process. At residential or personal grows, those factors can also be controlled by using store-bought fans, carbon filters, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
It is recommended to cure your plants in a climate controlled environment by creating an ideal room temperature. Failing to keep humidity levels and temperatures under control can potentially dry your plants out too quickly.
Leaving the fan and water leaves intact as well as full plant curing helps keep the environment humid. However, buying a commercial fan, humidifier and dehumidifier at your hardware store are affordable options to keep your curing environment stable.
If the plants seem to be drying a little too fast, there are tricks to add moisture. Some home cultivators have discovered that bringing your plants in the bathroom and running a hot shower can reintroduce moisture into the cannabis plant. After all, the plant is still barely alive as it is curing.
The periods of time spent in the cannabis curing process varies depending on the grower, their environment and amount of cannabis. Some operations rush the cure before it matures. This is why some flower may smell more like lawn clippings than its individual terpene profiles.
Rushing the process for packaging is often the culprit of a bad cure. It is best practice to factor in ample time for the plant to cure slowly and properly. The timeframes on how long it takes to cure can vary depending on the strain or storage conditions. This step can be often overlooked by cultivators.
When done correctly, a slow cure process can elevate the quality of your harvest. Waiting until the nugs easily snap off the branch instead of clipping them early allows the flower to maintain proper moisture and water content.
Once off the branch, the long cure process continues as you store it. A good practice is to mason jar or turkey bag your flower. This allows the moisture to keep wicking naturally from your nugs. It is also extremely important to “burp” or air out the bag or jar of flower daily.
If you do not allow excess moisture to escape, your flower can rot or promote growth of anaerobic bacteria. Repeating the burping process is paramount until the flower starts to smell right.
Just like buying cannabis at the dispensary, you should always trust your nose. Your nose always knows. As you continue to burp and air out your harvest, you will notice its odor start to change.
The fresh cut lawn smell will eventually give way to the unique nose of the cannabis strain. The smell of the terpenes will start showing themselves as the nugs continue to cure.
After repeating the burping and airing out process, the waiting game seems to go on like Groundhog Day. While the flower can be smokable, it may not burn cleanly or evenly if there is too much moisture.
A visual inspection and smell of its aroma is a quick way to try and tell if your cannabis is ready, but this isn’t a fool proof method. It is important to also smoke your cannabis to tell if it has been properly cured.
Is the smoke smooth or harsh? Does the flower ash black or does it burn with a proper terp ring in a joint? Does it leave a clean white ash in a bowl?
If the answer is no, then your cannabis needs more time to cure. If the answer is yes, then congratulations on your final product. Time to think about long-term storage to improve the shelf life of your latest harvest. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It’s time to burn.
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