Cannabis Cultivation Q&A: Here’s what you need to know about getting plants ready for the big takedown

Renowned grower Jorge Cervantes will answer readers’ questions and give advice on all things related to the cannabis plant. Got a question for Jorge? Email him at

Editor’s Note: Laws for cultivating cannabis vary from state to state and city to city — before germinating any seeds or planting any clones, take care to learn what your local laws are.

Question: How do I get ready for harvest time, and what’s the best way to take down the plants?

Answer: Harvesting your cannabis crop is the reward for all the fun you had growing it! Here is the basic information you need on how to harvest cannabis.

Remember, resin glands found on cannabis flowers and foliage are where the bulk of cannabinoids are found. Once harvested they are easily bruised by rough handling and can be damaged by bright light. Cannabinoids stay put in resin glands until they are ruptured and start to degrade. Please treat harvested plants with tender loving care.

Plan for harvest a month beforehand. Here are a few guidelines and points to keep in mind:

1. Stop spraying plants with organic and synthetic controls 30 days prior to harvest.

2. Spray plants heavily with plain water two weeks beforehand to wash away contaminants.

3. Stop fertilizing one week before harvest.

4. For plants in containers, leach grow mediums heavily with water to remove salt-based fertilizers.

5. Outdoor and organic soils have much more volume, making it more complex and difficult to leach.

6. Harvest large “fan” leaves on live plants a day or two before main harvest to speed drying. When large leaves are removed, you can concentrate on the fun part, flower buds! Toss leaves in a cardboard box or paper sack to dry. Turn leaves every few days to aerate.

7. Harvest first thing in the morning when plants are not yet warmed up; cannabinoid content is at peak level.

8. No need to do anything with the root ball, roots contain no interesting cannabinoids.

To harvest, cut the main stem of an entire plant with pruners or a saw. Or prune off single branches. Individual branches are easiest to handle.

The Cannabist
By Jorge Cervantes


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