Unlike many flowering plants in one’s garden, cannabis is an annual plant. Growers see flowers from late summer into the fall months, and the natural growing season starts when the marijuana seeds you’ve bought online get germinated in a safe protected area. In very little time, the seeds sprout, branches and leaves appear, and the plant begins to grow tall and bushy. Following the summer solstice, the flowering phase begins. Allow the plants to grow until Autumn when the flowers ripen. At that time, cut them down, dry, and trim them.
Outdoor cannabis cultivation typically leads to an abundance of fresh flowers following the yearly harvest. When this substance grows outdoors in a commercial setting, consumers find they can obtain it quickly, easily, and at an affordable price throughout the late fall and winter. In fact, this product floods markets in those states that allow for the sale of cannabis legally. As a result, vendors see dramatic shifts in supply and demand.
Furthermore, some buyers opt to obtain their products from homegrown or black-market sources. On the other hand, winter and early spring are the times when sun-grown cannabis becomes readily available, and these stockpiles typically don’t diminish until midyear. At that time, prices begin to climb, again due to supply and demand.
Environmental factors and their impact on the growing season vary by where growers plant the crop. Growers in the northern hemisphere plant seeds anywhere from March to May, which allows for the harvesting of flowers from September to November. In contrast, growers in the southern hemisphere plant their seeds during the months when growers in the north are harvesting flowers and harvest their crop from March to May. Individuals growing cannabis near the equator find they have the best of both worlds, as they are able to grow and harvest cannabis outdoors all year long.
Cannabis plants rely on lighting conditions to move through the various phases of development. For example, as the days get shorter, the plant moves from the vegetative stage of development to the flowering stage. However, latitude plays a role in exactly when this change takes place. The same strain cultivated in Colorado and Canada will flower at different times. The plant growing in Colorado flowers in early July while the one in Canada won’t flower until August. Growers in Hawaii, however, will find they can grow the same strain and have it flower at any time.
Additional environmental factors impact cannabis maturation and influence the growing season for a given location. This includes altitude, rainfall, and temperature, among others. In those areas where the weather is mild, plants typically finish sooner. Plants exposed to extreme temperatures at either end of the spectrum, however, tend to experience delayed flowering and ripening.
Another factor that has a significant impact on the growing season is the genetics of the selected strain. Cannabis varieties thrive in their native environment, and breeders work to create new strains that grow easily in the local area. Indica weed seeds typically give rise to shorter plants that flower faster than Sativas. Nevertheless, equatorial Sativas provide the longest flowering time, and often don’t survive long enough to mature if grown in an area too far north or too far south.
Choose a strain best suited for a cool coastal area. While it may develop in a warm inland region, prepare for it to finish early. Old-school stains along with landraces require more work on the part of the grower. Those with limited time should look into modern genetics as they provide a higher yield in less time.
The founder of the original iconic Blueberry strain, DJ Short, states he prefers to harvest this Indica strain during the third week in October. He grows his crop in Oregon and believes that is the best time for harvesting Blueberry. However, he allows most Sativas to remain in the ground for a few more weeks, not harvesting those until late November or December.
Shine On Farms tends to hold off even longer when it comes to harvesting the crops on their off-grid farm. Nestled in the hills of northern California’s Anderson Valley, this grower allows their super silver haze to finish flowering even after their friends and neighbors have harvested their crop and the wintery weather has arrived. This strain handles the changing weather conditions with ease.
Environmental factors aren’t the only thing affecting the cannabis growing seasons. Farmers must analyze cultivation techniques, strategies, and preferences to determine which to use based on their experiences and their goals. For instance, many growers feel the best time to plant cannabis is when the moon is waxing. They then wait until it is waning to harvest the crop.
In contrast, guerilla growers typically choose to wait later in the season before planting their crops. This allows them to grow smaller plants easily concealed from law enforcement, a well-designed strategy on their part. Regulations exist regarding the growing of cannabis, such as how many plants a grower may have, and this has also led to changes in the way growers operate. Certain growers granted the right to establish a cannabis operation plant early so the plants will grow to a larger size.
Growers must also know when to harvest the crop once the flowers ripen. Harvesting flowers early ensures the high produced is lighter and more cerebral. On the other hand, harvesting flowers late allows them to provide a body effect that is more narcotic. Nevertheless, growers must consider the risk of pests, frost or storm damage, mold, and mildew if they are waiting to harvest the plants.
The “guru of ganja,” Ed Rosenthal waits until the trichomes change to an amber or milky color before harvesting his crop. He does point out that most people choose to harvest their crops a week earlier, but says cannabis available for sale in Dutch coffee shops tends to be immature, leading to a “racing and buzzy” high. However, he states this is a matter of personal preference.
Casey O’Neill, a Mendocino farmer and activist, explains the methodologies available for cannabis harvesting are as numerous as farmers. Crops typically ripen simultaneously, leaving the grower to find ways to harvest them all. This process is arduous and takes a great deal of time. For this reason, he recommends starting the harvesting process early to finish on time. He feels this is better than starting on time and going past the predetermined deadline.
He goes on to explain he prefers amber trichomes that are fewer in number and ones that are clear because they provide an “ephemeral lightness” without supplying the sedative effect similar to that seen with opioids which the amber trichomes produce. In addition, he states the Indica-dominant strains he prefers (like our Granddaddy Purps or Critical Mass strains) tend to be too heavy for most individuals if allowed to ripen longer.
Growers must likewise recognize the impact decisions made during harvesting, drying, and curing play a role in the availability of cannabis. After harvesting a crop of i49 seeds, growers must dry the plants to remove chlorophyll while reducing the water content. To achieve this goal, the plants hang in a climate-controlled space for a period of 10 to 14 days. Some growers feel five or six days is enough and others believe the plants must hang for two weeks at a minimum.
Franco, of Green House Seed Co, explains novices likely won’t be able to determine how long the cannabis dried, but a connoisseur will know this information immediately. Rapidly dried flowers tend to have a harsh or bitter taste while those that have not fully dried fail to burn.
Cannabis for connoisseurs needs curing once the drying process finishes, although many commercial growers skip this step. Kevin Jodrey serves as Wonderland Nursery’s cultivation director in Humboldt County. Jodrey prefers the flowers to be cut, hung to dry, trimmed, and then stabilized before being sold. However, this process takes six to eight weeks and many growers hope for a quick drop once the drying and trimming process is complete. This allows the process to finish in as little as ten days from the cutting of the flowers to the sale of the cannabis.
The drying and curing process affects the flavor and effect of cannabis, and the results can be good or bad. The process of preserving and developing the terpene and cannabinoid profile of the product is very delicate. Growers must control the temperature and humidity while adjusting these factors for the density and terpene content of the flowers. When purchasing premium weed seeds bound for greatness, one should do everything in his or her power to help that plant become the best that it can be.
When these steps are carried out, the end result is a smooth and nuanced smoking experience. Cured cannabis provides a high that is deeper and allows for more introspection. Men and women often use it as an inner-vision and meditation tool, according to Franco. The drying and curing process, if carried out correctly, allows the flower to become more refined and complex. It gains in depth and adds to the variation of the bouquet.
Individuals should consider turning to boutique farms when they want cannabis of this caliber. These farms often choose flowers around April, although some strains like super lemon haze and sour diesel require more time to ripen. This includes most kush weed cannabis strains, which are allowed to flower until July.
Craft cannabis develops from meticulous handling techniques, hand-trimming methods, and proper storage. Small family farms frequently struggle to trim their crop at one time and must trim continually for a period of months. Once cut, store the flowers in black ultraviolet glass jars for a period of up to a year without losing their freshness, so long as the jars remain in a cool, dry place. For this reason, the quality of the buds may vary based on when they arrive at the local dispensary even though the harvest occurred at the same time each year.
Fortunately, the seasons don’t inhibit modern growers. Greenhouses allow for multiple growing seasons when light is periodically blocked out. This simulates longer nights, which cannabis plants need. “Light dep,” as many choose to call these flowers, should ripen with the help of the late June and July sun for the best quality.
Innovation and electricity also allow growers to maintain an ongoing supply of cannabis all year long, and hydroponics indoor grow systems make it possible to harvest cannabis monthly. As a result, growers never run out of supply.
People need to begin looking at cannabis much as they do fresh produce. Once you know where to find the produce in season, you get a superior product. The same is true of seasonal sun-grown cannabis, so start finding your supply chain now.