Hey ya’ll, I just read this article on Quora. Taka a gander and tell me what you think. It is contrary to everything I have read but this guy seems like a pro.
Cannabis Industry Northern CaliforniaJul 4
This is a good question to ponder for a cultivator.
This is my musing after 15 years of growing in every which way.
I see you have other answers on here that say it will effect yield but that no one has quantified that for you. I suspect that is most likely because they don’t know how much weight is lost. You didn’t say how early and the harvest date is relative to what you choose anyway so how early are we saying here? Two weeks early? A month early? We should clarify that too and say something like “ a month earlier than I did it last time “. Well how long did you go with that cultivar last time? For example I’ve been growing an oldy but a goldy Northern Lights for the last two years. I’ve done a few runs and have had different harvest times. This last time I just let a room go to see what would happen. I grew it out for close to six months seed to finish just to see how much more weight I would get and where that crossover point is of diminishing returns. So are you doing a month earlier of that or something else? You are the one that picks the harvest date.
Last year I bought a mass spectrometer. With this device I can test for thc potency. We have to send everything metrc certified off to a lab anyway but now I have the ability to base my harvest day off potency. I can go in everyday and grab a nug, grind it up, plug it in this machine and track day by day my THC percentages. When those numbers start stabilizing or even dropping I know I’m at the highest number I’m going to get and chop. The plant tells me when it’s ready and here’s a shocker for you - every plant is different. Sometimes every branch on the same plant is different. In the same room some plants will peak out faster than others wether its from seed or clone. So how you would even know what is early in terms of potency without one of these devices I don’t know. All you are really doing is guessing at ripeness based on not perfectly scientific farming methods especially if it’s a new genetic you are working with that you have never tested. If you don’t have those data points then how would you know right?
In general with my buds the process of development goes something like this toward the end: The buds first fatten up in size. They get physically bigger. Then the last couple of weeks are spent densing up. That’s when the buds start to harden and when you squeeze them they feel solid. Density is probably the biggest factor for overall weight. There is a lot of variation in how dense you can get them to be. If you use synthetics or growth hormones that level of density is going to be different than an organic grower at times depending on growth conditions(light plays a big role in density too as well as temps) There are a lot of factors all playing in conjunction with each other to get you that yield, terpene profile, thc/cbd percentage, color, etc. The true cultivator is the artist that plays with growth parameters and harvest dates to really coax out of that girl what they consider is the most beautul,fragrant,effective product. That’s where the artistry comes in.
I’ve had to chop early a few times mostly because I have done this too long now to be bothered by fighting mold. I know commercial ops that chop early all the time for sales quotas. I don’t think any of us worry to much about yield. For commercial ops thc percentage is very important so they are more concerned with that number. The higher it is the more money they make due to an uneducated market. If you are a homegrower then what do you care about that? THC is not the end all be all in deciding quality or even creating the overall effect you feel. All levels of THC are enjoyable and sometimes lower numbers are even more enjoyable.
Is the product still going to be super delightful? Hell yes. In all my years of growing I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone tell me “uh uh that weed is not for me. It was harvested wayyyyyy too early” Is it still going to get you high? Most definitely. Will the high be different? Yes it very well could be. Are you going to like it? You may or you may not just like wine lovers may or may not love everything they sip on but that’s what makes you an informed cultivator. You have to try everything and appreciate everything for what it is.There is so much beautiful nuance to each cannabis harvest. Keeping track of all those data points is part of the fun of it. Having the actual experience to have an informed opinion on what you like is what separates you from a beginner. So go out there and try a few different harvest dates with the same cultivar. Keep a journal. Observe the differences. Have fun and glwg!