Your first time harvesting cannabis may seem a bit intimidating, but it does not have to be at all. The actual process is surprisingly simple and does not vary too much from growing certain vegetables, there are just a few extra precautions to make sure your buds turn out perfect.
Speaking of buds, are you worried about them growing prematurely or being too small? No need to worry! You would be surprised how little work it takes to plump up or fatten your buds before the harvest. High-end growing equipment is always an option that is well worth the cost, but you can easily do this without it, and we are going to show you how.
Why Fatten Up Buds?
Nobody wants to try to crush and roll up these badly-textured buds that are not much bigger than the seeds. Whether you buy them or grow them yourself, you always want your buds to be nice and full like the perfect pair of lips.
Imagine this scenario, if you will: You are in the budding stage of your first harvest ever and you are greeted to your first homegrown batch of the aromatic plant you know and love. You have a fully grown plant (or plants), it looks great and it is just chock full of fresh buds.
Sounds great, right? It would…if the buds weren’t so small.
Growing full-sized buds or swelling them up is the only way to ensure you get the maximum potency and performance, perfect texture, health and nourishment of the buds for them to last in storage, and most important of all, getting your time and money’s worth.
When is it Too Late?
The most obvious time of when it is too late to fatten up your buds is when you are harvesting them. Unfortunately, the damage is already done: The same way that you can’t grow fruits or vegetables any bigger once they are picked, or age wine any further once it is in the bottle.
How to Fatten Up Buds
Whether this is your first harvest or your first one this month, you are fortunate enough to have easy access to everything you need to fatten up your buds-to-be. Again, this is essentially done for you with more elaborate or expensive equipment, but it is not required by any means. Fattening your buds before your harvest can be both extremely simple and cost effective.
Step 1: Light ‘Em Up (Not Like That)
Do not get too excited just yet: Your buds are not ready for the smoke sesh if they are not fully matured. ‘Lighting,’ in this context, refers to actually lighting your plants or buds with adequate sunlight so that they can grow properly: Light encourages plant growth which, in turn, will naturally make your buds grow in size.
Keep in mind: This does not mean leaving your plants out in the dry heat, this is how they die. Water them regularly and keep them fed with quality nutrients as the buds get plenty of sunlight.
Step 2: Feed Them Bone Meal
Speaking of key nutrients, the one that should be at the top of your list for fattening buds is bone meal. Right before your plants start to bud, simply add the recommended dose weekly, continue to water, and the calcium and phosphorus will start to do their magic.
These are the elements that enrich your plants and encourage flowering, so adding that on a regular basis will give you nothing but perfect, nutrient-enriched buds.
Step 3: Adjust the Temperature
As we mentioned, dry heat is the enemy to most plants (and pretty much living things in general), so what you really need to pay attention to with your plants and buds is temperature. Nobody wants their plants to dry up and die or freeze before they even start to bud.
Once the flowering starts, an ideal temperature of around 72॰ F is perfect (65 to 80॰ to be exact, but this is like finding the sweet spot). It obviously drops in temperature at night, so you want to keep your plants from dropping more than 10 degrees when the sun goes down: This will prevent irregularities in the plants and make sure they all grow the way they need to.
Step 4: CO2
The last item on your list is possibly the most important: Optimizing for CO2. The universal compound combining one part Carbon to two parts Oxygen is the key to boosting your plants growth so that the buds start to flower. As much as it boosts flowering and yielding by upwards of 30%, the real advantage is that growing cannabis plants naturally absorb all of the CO2.
Okay, maybe not all but quite a bit. The proper absorption of CO2 is how your plants ‘breathe’ and produce chemical energy from light energy, a.k.a photosynthesis. Cannabis plants actually absorb so much carbon dioxide that injecting it is optional, so long as your plants grow in a CO2-rich environment with tight space and plenty of sunlight. Your buds will not only grow faster, but also fuller, healthier and beautifully potent and fragrant.
Best Time To Harvest
One of the advantages to indoor growing is being able to grow and harvest all year round, but your outdoor garden will work perfectly if you harvest your buds between September and November: perfect temperature and lighting.
Can you Harvest Buds Early?
Harvesting, or anything relating to the cultivation of cannabis, is not an exception to the notion of “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. If you are completely out of your stash and have no other options, it can be hard to resist smoking your new, budding plants. But trust us, this is not the way to go.
It cannot be stressed enough that you cannot harvest your buds too early. Doing so will cause a bunch, if not most, of your buds being destroyed or under-grown in the process, not to mention a severe loss in potency since the trichomes and sugars would not be fully developed.