10/3/18: The Harvest (Part 3): More Tough Decisions

We are now three weeks into 2018’s cannabis harvest!  It’s been a difficult harvest so far; my Blueberry Muffins flowered early, my Sherbets never seemed to fully mature, and bud rot is quickly spreading through my prized Blackberry Fire plant.  I’ve had to make a lot of tough choices in the last few weeks as to when to trim; if I cut too early than I will have immature trichomes, wait too long and I will lose everything to bud rot.  I made the second of what is usually three cuts last week, leaving the small-to-medium size buds another week to mature.  Rain was on the forecast and the already humid air has helped the spreading bud rot wreck havoc on my garden; I expected to come home to a wasteland of rotten plants, what I got was somewhat unexpected…

Lollipops, Beautiful Lollipops!

The rain never came!  Yes, there is still a lingering humidity in the air and yes, the bud rot is still spreading but for the most part, the buds are staying strong!  I expected a disaster, instead I was rewarded with a garden of lollipops.

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an example of a “lollipop” bud

Lollipop buds are mature, medium-to-large buds that are spread apart across a branch and have had most of their fan fallen off.  I usually focus on colas (large structures made of several buds growing closely together) for my first cut and then lollipops for my second and third cuts.  They are the easiest type of bud to hand-trim and because I harvest them later than colas, their trichomes will usually be a bit more mature than the colas I take down on my first pass.

Long story short; the colas and large buds I cut down in the first two weeks will be used for processing (tincture, oils, etc) while these lollipop buds are gonna be for smoking.

Not So Fast!  A Look Under the Microscope…

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this bud may look mature, but a closer look tells a different story

With a newfound sense of confidence that this harvest will actually produce some quality, mature buds I decided to put one of my lollipops under the microscope to see how their trichomes are coming along.  If they are clear they are immature, if they are cloudy they are on their way, if they are amber than they have peaked; mine were mostly clear with hints of cloudiness, these trichomes are not mature.

More Tough Choices

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The Gorilla Glue (left) has been severely pruned to prevent the spread of the rot, the Blackberry Fire is now gone

I am a bit shocked that the trichomes are still clear; these plants are mostly indica-dominant and indica usually matures by now.   The bud rot is still spreading, but it seems to have slowed down a bit.  I’ve decided to harvest every bud that is in immediate risk of rotting and pruned away as many of the branches and leaves that I could to prevent the plants from holding on to too much moisture.  The Blackberry Fire plant, which has had the worst of the bud rot, is taken down completely leaving just my two Sherbet plants (which seem to have the highest tolerance of the rot) and the Gorilla Glue (which is holding up fairly well too).

A quick look at my drying rack and I conservatively estimate that I’ve harvested at least 24 ounces of cannabis so far; this is enough for 8 32-ounce bottles of my tincture recipe and enough to last me and my loved ones for the next year and allow my to add 4 bottles to my “tincture bank”.  Weighing the pros and cons of everything, I make one more difficult decision this year; I have decided to risk giving the rest of my lollipops one more week to mature.

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