How Long From Seed To Harvest Weed

Cultivation Cultivators grow all of the cannabis plants that are harvested, sold as flower, and made into products. Their operations look like other agricultural operations in California. When Is the Best Time to Harvest Cannabis? Harvesting cannabis plants at the optimal time ensure the highest quality buds and potency. But how do you know? Our guide helps you to have an exceptional harvest.

Cultivation

Cultivators grow all of the cannabis plants that are harvested, sold as flower, and made into products. Their operations look like other agricultural operations in California. Cannabis cultivation is a multi-step process that includes:

  • Preparing the soil and growing medium
  • Planting seeds or clones
  • Irrigating, fertilizing, and managing pests
  • Harvesting plants
  • Drying, curing and trimming plants

Cultivation licenses

If you want to grow cannabis and sell it in California, you will need a cultivation license. The type of cultivation license you need depends on:

  • The size of your canopy (the area where you grow mature plants)
  • What kind of lighting is used

There are different licenses if you:

  • Grow seedlings and immature plants only for use by other businesses or sale to consumers (nursery license)
  • Dry, cure and trim cannabis after harvest; package cannabis; or make pre-rolls for other licensees (processor license)

Use of pesticides

You can use pesticides on cannabis plants if they meet guidelines set by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). DPR has resources about:

  • What pesticides are okay to use
  • What pesticides cannot be used
  • Pest management practices
  • Pesticide safety

Pesticide use is enforced by DPR and county agricultural commissioners. Contact your county agricultural commissioner if you have questions about pesticides.

Water permits

Cannabis cultivators have a responsibility to protect the environment and be responsible stewards of the land. That’s why it’s important to understand how your operations may impact the environment.

All agricultural operations in California are required to get permits and follow rules set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Water Boards. These rules help protect water quality and conserve water resources.

CDFW and Water Board rules prevent:

  • Degradation of water quality
  • Excessive water diversions that can injure or kill fish or dry up small streams
  • Sediment and debris being washed into waterways
  • Changes to land that can harm streams and wildlife, like erosion or grading
  • Damage to native fish and wildlife habitats
  • Impacts to threatened or endangered species

Cannabis cultivators must have:

  • A Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement with CDFW or written confirmation that one is not needed
  • Any permits required by the Water Board’s Cannabis Policy

CDFW has profiles of cannabis cultivators who use best practices and tips for managing your cultivation site in a wildlife-friendly way.

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Appellations of Origin

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is developing an appellations program for cannabis. Appellations are special names reserved for cannabis:

  • Grown in a certain geographical area
  • Grown using certain production standards

Appellations are used for other products, too. For example, the wine industry uses appellations to tell consumers which region the grapes were grown and wine was made.

The cannabis appellations program will:

  • Help consumers understand where cannabis was grown
  • Promote regional products and local businesses
  • Prevent misrepresentation of the origin of a product

CDFA is working on regulations for the cannabis appellations program. Once they are adopted, CDFA will begin accepting applications to create an Appellation of Origin.

How Long From Seed To Harvest Weed

Article written by

Dipak Hemraj Head of Research and Education

Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture and economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.

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The Grower’s Guide to Knowing How and When to Harvest Your Cannabis

Harvesting cannabis plants at the optimal time ensures the highest quality buds and potency.

With restrictive laws governing cannabis consumption and cultivation loosening across the country, there are many novice cultivators playing farmer for the first time. If you are one of the newbies wondering if now is the optimal time to harvest your cannabis, put the gardening shears down and take a deep breath. The last thing you want to do is improvise in the field and risk losing your precious bounty to beginner’s bad luck.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the end of your beloved pot plant’s life cycle —the harvesting signals you need to look for, the tools you’ll need on hand, and the basic anatomy of the cannabis cultivar.

Cannabis Plant Anatomy

It’s important to know what you’re growing before you begin producing it. With that in mind, this section deconstructs the cannabis plant to demonstrate what you’re looking at and how it factors into your final product.

Cannabis consists of the same basic anatomy of all plants: a seed that produces roots on the bottom and a stem on the top, with the stem growing from the soil and eventually producing leaves, branches, and flowers. Of course, the magic of THC separates the cannabis plant from other shrubs and flowers. Let’s check out the basic anatomy, define the terminology, and examine each segment’s role at harvest time.

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Stem

The stem keeps the plant upright, supporting its weight while housing the vascular system that ferries nutrients and moisture from roots to leaves. The stem also carries starches and sugars created during photosynthesis around the plant or into storage via the phloem cells, which can be harvested for hemp fibers. The stem contains little to no cannabinoids (THC and CBD).

Fan Leaves

The gloriously iconic fan leaf has become the universal symbol for marijuana. Shaped like an open hand with multiple parts and separated into three to 13 serrated leaflets, the leaves are removed at harvest. Fan leaves contain only trace amounts of cannabinoids.

Petioles

This is the stem of the fan leaf, connecting it to the larger branch. Petioles contain more cannabinoids than fan leaves, making them a useful additive for tinctures, extracts, and concentrates when gathered in large quantities.

Stigma and Pistil

As in the anatomy of many plants, the pistil houses the cannabis flower’s reproductive organs, and the stigmas are the vibrant strands found on the pistil. Stigmas collect pollen from the male cannabis plants and change color throughout the maturation process, beginning with a white haze and eventually darkening to yellow, orange, brown, and red. While crucial to the growing process, stigmas and pistils have little impact on potency.

Bract and Calyx

The female cannabis plant’s reproductive parts reside inside the bracts, which are green, tear-shaped leaves. The bract is covered in resin glands that produce higher concentrations of cannabinoids than any other part of the cannabis plant. Tucked inside the bract and hidden from view is the calyx, a translucent layer covering the ovule on the flower’s base.

Trichomes

This is where all the action happens. Tiny, hair-like structures located on the surface of the buds, stalks, stems, and leaves of the cannabis plant, trichomes form a blanket of frosty, crystal resin that oozes the aromatic oils called terpenes, as well as the all-important THC and CBD cannabinoids. Though their practical purpose involves protecting the plant against microbial organisms, aphids, and insects, everything you work for in the field hinges on trichomes and their potent, sugar-like resin.

Cola

This refers to the cluster of buds that grow tightly together. The primary cola forms at the very top of the cannabis plant and is sometimes called the “apical bud.” However, many smaller colas will likely be found on the budding sites of the lower branches.

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Female vs. Male Cannabis Plants

A quick note: Cannabis plants are dioecious , meaning they can be male or female. The buds that make up your personal stash are the flowers from the female plant. Only the female cannabis plant produces the resin-secreting flowers that deliver the high we want.

When Is The Right Time To Harvest Cannabis

This is it! It’s the beginning of the end for your beloved pot plant’s life cycle. You’ve watched your cannabis survive all of the peaks and valleys of cultivation, and it’s finally the optimal time to harvest your precious bounty. However, now is not the time for rash decisions and improvisation! Here, you’ll learn pro tips for the right time to harvest, how to do it, and the tools of the trade you’ll need to get the job done right.

There are two basic methods to determining if you’ve reached peak harvest time: The pistil method or the trichome method .

The Pistil Method .

As a pot plant approaches maturity from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, the pistils will stick straight out from the flower’s body in a pure, white coloring. You’ll know your plant is ready to harvest when you witness with the naked eye at least half the pistils change to a darker hue and curl back toward the flower.

The Trichome Method .

For this method, you’ll need either a jeweler’s loupe, a magnifying glass, a digital microscope, or even the camera on your smartphone (which can be incredibly high-powered these days). If the trichomes resemble clear, glass-like mushrooms, you’ll know it’s not quite time to harvest. But when at least 50 percent of the trichomes turn cloudy, it’s finally time to reap what you’ve sowed.

As for a timespan of when to harvest, that depends on the cannabis strain. Different strains boast varying flowering and harvest times. As a general rule of thumb, indicas are ready for harvesting at about eight weeks, while sativas hit harvest time at ten weeks. Meanwhile, autoflowers can take anywhere between seven to 10 weeks.

What do trichomes look like when ready to harvest? Other signs to look for at harvest time include dense soil and leaves that have turned yellow and crisp. When the soil is dense, it means your plant isn’t consuming as much water as usual. And when the leaves begin to yellow and become crispy, it means the plant is ripening and could be ready for harvest. But before you pull any buds, make sure to check the trichomes and pistils in conjunction with checking the soil and leaves.