Harvest timing

Dear Ed,
How do I prepare the plant for picking? Should I withhold water, causing the plant to go limp? When are the plants ready? What time of day should I pick?

Santa Cruz, CA

The buds are ready for picking when most of the stigmas have dried and turned color and the ovaries behind the stigmas have swelled into false seed pods. At the same time the bulbous tops of the glands extending from the tissue have swelled so much that they look like tiny balloons ready to burst.

THC has several properties. It physically protects the growing and maturing seed from some insects and other herbivores and its effects deter other animals. In addition, THC seems to protect the plant from the sun’s damaging UV rays. During the daylight hours THC is degraded somewhat. During the evening the THC is replenished, so buds harvested at night or in the morning should be slightly more potent.

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