From harvest day to bong. Here is my method:
I can't tell you the exact time to chop your plant down. Some research can tell you how long to flower your strain for best results or you can check trichome color. Either way, you will have to do a bit of trial and error to find the very best day to chop the girls down.
At day 60 my White Widow shows a mixture of trichome colors. Most of them will be milky or amber, with a small percent of clear ones scattered about. Use a jeweler's loupe/magnifying glass of 20x magnification or more. A small pocket microscope can be bought at RadioShack:
I have grown this strain long enough to know that day 60 gives the best flavor and effect.
Day 60. My single plant grow:
Time to chop it down: Even if you can take the whole plant in one single cut, I would break it up into large sections. This is so it can get lots of air while drying (branches won't be touching).
I take one cola/branch at a time. It is very important to take your time and be gentle in every step of harvesting. It's a good idea to always be gentle with your weed at any stage. Manhandling your bud will cause the trichomes to break off (you don't want that).
Using a pair of Fiskars® Softouch Micro-Tip Scissors, I take the first of many branches:
Noticed I put on rubber gloves? Get a box of them at the drug store. They are a must have item. You will not get that sap off your hands for days no matter what you wash with.
Tie some twist ties or line to the end:
I like to hang the branch over a bucket or trash-can:
Pluck off all the sun leaves and any leaf that is big enough to pull off (without hurting the bud). They can be easily removed by snapping them off while pulling up or you can use scissors:
You don't have to get them all. Just get what you can and save the rest for your "Trim-Party".
As you finish, stack them on a near by table:
Try and find a cool, dark, preferably ventilated space such as a closet, basement, or winter attic. I have no such space at my home, so I use the attic all year. It is dark and ventilated but not always cool. Works anyway.
Try and hang all the branches so they don't touch anything:
A small oscillating fan on low will help things along real nice:
Place all the leaf in a few paper bags and place them in the same space as the hanging branches. Leave bag open.
Let them hang for three days (72 hours). After three days they my feel real dry or real damp. It does not matter.
Note: You might want to stir the bag of leaves after a day or so. They tend to be real wet.
Three days later. So sad the big bud is so small now:
Let's get this party started. Lay out all your trim gear.
A trim tray (cookie sheet will work), rubber gloves, micro-tip scissors, large paper grocery bags, small brown lunch bags and a few razors (to clean the scissors). Music helps or someone to talk to. It becomes un-fun in 15 minutes (trust me).
Most the water has evaporated out of the branches.
Time to manicure and finish your trimming.
This task takes some time and a whole lot of patients.
Take a branch and start at the bottom, cutting off all leaves and bud leaf tips. After your get all the big leaves off, pretend you are giving a slight trim to the whole bud. The very tips of the bud leaves will cause the smoke to be harsh, so just do a slight trim all around.
Now clip the buds off the main stem.
Glad that's over:
Brown Bag Um:
Get a few brown grocery bags and a pack of brown lunch bags. Shred the brown lunch bags (not confetti but strips). I bought a cheap shredder to make strips from the lunch bags:
Now lay down a layer of bud at the bottom of the grocery bag (one bud thick):
Place a layer of the bag strips over the top of your bud:
Place another layer of bud on top of the strips:
Keep making layers until the grocery bag is full. Your last layer should be strips:
Place your grocery bags in a cool dry place for two days. Churn/mix the bud and strip layers gently and place back for another one or two days:
Your bud may look over dry or a little crisp when done. Over dry is much much better then moist. The texture and smell will come back while curing in the jars.
Your bud is smoke-able but harsh until cured in jars. The longer it stays in the jar, the smoother the smoke and the stronger the smell.
I like the 32oz wide mouth Ball mason jars. They can be found at every grocery store, but next to impossible to locate the isle they are on. Look hard:
Don't pack the bud in the jar. Fill them up about 80% to 90%. You can get close to an ounce of small buds in a jar (could be wrong about this fact). Less if they are bigger bud:
If the bud it a bit too long, don't squish it or bend it. Just cut it up:
After your jars are filled, take a break (you need it):
Always store your jars in a cool, dark, and safe location. Light is bad for your weed.
Try to remember to open each jar twice a week for the first month. Leave it open for a few minutes and seal it back up. I don't always do this (I forget), but it makes a difference. It's also a good idea to check for mold while opening each one.
We can never wait the month that is recommended for jar curing. But it does get much better as time passes. After a month it is killer.
Best of luck,R
Edited by Rumpleforeskin, 31 October 2009 - 11:55 PM.