Indoor and outdoor harvesting are basically the same thing except that you have to bring your harvest inside in the case of outdoor growers. If the plants are on private land where you can just pull the plants out of the ground and bring them in your house, then you shouldn’t have any trouble. Guerrilla farmers, however, will probably have to hike in to retrieve their plants and then hike back out unnoticed. Of course, this is generally not that easy to do and may require the help of a friend depending on the size of the plants and the overall size of the crop.
If at all possible, try doing this during the night or in the early morning to avoid any people potentially seeing you. Even if you conceal the plants in bags, any onlookers will reach some obvious conclusions. In any event, taking a few leaves and shoots before the actual harvest time is one of the more prudent decisions you can make. This essentially ensures that you’ll at least get something for all your efforts in the event that your plants get ripped off or noticed by law enforcement. For indoor growers, it’s always good to sample a little bit of the smoke beforehand. The leaves and shoots during vegetative growth will actually be rather potent and will provide you with some good smoke in general. The right time to harvest the plants won’t always be apparent. You don’t want to harvest too early and you certainly don’t want to harvest too late. In either case, the THC and other cannabinoids on the plant won’t be nearly as concentrated as you might like. Obviously, if you want sinsemilla buds, the male plants must be harvested early so they don’t pollinate the female flowers. If you pull male flowers early, you won’t really be losing that much in terms of potency or yield. For the most part, male plants don’t produce the highest quality smoke anyway. Still, if you want to avoid pollination, you should get them out as soon as you determine the sex.
If you do want to pollinate your female seeds, then you should just leave the males in the soil so that they can flower and produce pollen. This will keep you from having to pluck out the males prematurely and it will also ensure that you will have seeds for next year’s crop. When it comes to pollinated female plants, you won’t want to pull them before the seeds have had enough time to mature. Many growers start to notice the telltale signs of high THC production and increased flower and bud growth and they might think it’s a good idea to pull out their female plants. But, if you pull the plants out too early, the seeds might just be inert and won’t germinate next season. You can investigate the seeds by opening up their sheaths or bracts and seeing if they have achieved the marbling brown color associated with maturity.
Of course, sinsemilla plants don’t have to rely on seed maturation for them to be viable for harvesting. But, in general, these plants have a longer flowering period. In fact, they might bloom for 4 to 5 weeks with new growth happening almost instantaneously. The new growth will be sort of a boon to your overall yield, but you should wait until there is a noticeable decline in flower production. This will generally happen in the fourth or fifth week of blooming. When you notice the decline, don’t start to harvest immediately. Wait about a week after the decline starts to really start harvesting your sinsemilla plants. This is when the THC will be at its highest and the smoke will be the most potent. If you leave the plants in to grow more, they might slowly get a bit larger and produce a few extra buds. But, the THC won’t be as potent because it will finally start to degrade. To actually harvest the plants, all you’ll have to do is gently pull them up out of the soil. To facilitate this process, you might want to wet the soil beforehand. Avoid bending or cracking the plants as you pull them up as it makes them harder to deal with. If your plants are in pots, then you can simply pull them out or even dump the pot and all the soil out.
When you finally harvest the plants, the first thing you should do is strip the fan leaves off the plant. This is because they are less potent than the colas and they often don’t cure as well as the other parts of the plant. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be used, however. In fact, fan leaves are known to have a somewhat high concentration of THC, especially after they have just been pulled. Once you’ve done that, you can start grading and manicuring the plants. Grading simply involves separating the plants by their particular sex, strain, and anatomical part of the plant. For instance, you might place all sativa-dominant, female, top colas in the same area. Most growers like to hang their plants upside down from a wire, if only because it’s considerably easier than doing anything else. Manicuring involves taking any excess leaves from around the colas so that the plants will dry quite easily.
After all the plants are graded and manicured neatly, you can start curing them if you want to. Curing is a process that is meant to bring out the best flavors and tones in the grass, but sometimes it can actually decrease the amount of THC substantially if you do it wrong. Sinsemilla buds often don’t require curing because they are potent enough as is.
The most common way to cure a plant is by air curing. It involves hanging the plants upside in an unventilated room. You want the temperatures to relatively hot, so if you can place the plants in the sun, then the curing process should go off without a hitch. The plants will start to lose color and become pale at which point you should open the ventilator or window to slow down the curing process. The entire length of curing might take you around six weeks to complete. If you are having relatively overcast or wet days or the room isn’t getting up near 90*F, then you could be at risk of getting mold on your plants. This is something you desperately don’t want to have happen and you might want to introduce a heater of some kind to get the temperature up as high as it can go.
Flue curing expedites the process of curing by adding an external force that works to heat the plants faster. You can place the plants in a water-tight box that you then place into a pool of water (generally, a fish tank). Then, heat that pool of water to about 90*F consistently. When the plants start to lose their green color, turn the heat up to about 100*F. When all the green is sapped out of the plants, turn the heat up again to 115*F. This process will also dry the plants, but make sure to turn the heat down as they start to dry, otherwise they might end up being brittle. This process generally only takes about a week to complete.
Sweat curing is a method used primarily in Colombia to get the plants to cure within about 5 days. It generally involves stacked branches and colas about 1.5 feet high and 2 square feet minimum. The microbial action works like a fermentation process in the same way that compost starts to heat up. The plants will start to lose color little by little. You should take out the plants that have lost the most color each day. To avoid any mold or rot, place paper towels, cotton sheets, or rags in between each of the plants. The rags will absorb any excess moisture and facilitate the curing process.