Cannabis takes months to flower to maturity, with lots of time and money poured into your investment. Skipping out on a proper flush could mean ruining your entire crop, flushing money and time down the drain. A properly ripened flower opposed to a no among other things. The head of the trichome will be a ike night and day and knowing these tricks to ripen and flush your cannabis is essential to good, craft grown product.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO FLUSH
The Stigma is the pistol part of the cannabis flower that’s main purpose is to collect the pollen from the male plant when released. It grows out from the Calyx which is what makes up cannabis flowers as we know them. The Calyxes are designed to protect the plants reproductive system, however, in most cannabis growers cases other then breeders, you won’t need to protect any seeds.
Your Stigma’s or pistols will be white or soft yellow to start and over time they will turn a shade of red depending on strain. When your plant(s) pistols reach an overall amount of 50% of the plant(s) coverage it is time to start the flushing phase for 2 – 3 weeks depending on strain.
THE FLUSHING PHASE
Flushing should not be overlooked. It is an important part of the growing phase where it will bulk and ripen while packing on THC when done properly. Initiating flush when your plant is at the 50% mark and flushing for 14 – 28 days depending on strain will ripen your flowers fully, giving the most robust flavors and highest THC that particular strain is capable of while packing on weight. The Calyxes we explained earlier will swell and harden, your pistols will mostly all turn red and the leaves will start to cannibalize themselves, turning yellow. Commonly 14 days is enough for most strains, it is only the sativa dominant strains that sometimes need longer but watching your hairs or Stigmas is the best way from the naked eye to know when to harvest as every strain and phenotype is slightly different.
GOING A STEP FURTHER
When it is just about time to harvest you can look a little deeper in to things and look directly at the trichomes of the plant with a 5x microscope or a good phone camera. The trichomes are small factories, creating different cannabinoids and terpens amongst other things. The head of the trichome will be a clear ball most its life and toward the end of its life it will go through a milky white stage, then amber and finally a darker shade of red as it begins keeling over and dying (we don’t want that!).
I personally prefer to harvest my cannabis when the trichome is a milky white with some starting to turn amber. It will be a high potency at this point with no dying trichomes. Without too much of the couch lock that comes with the amber trichomes (and indicas strains).
The flushing phase is not the same as your normal water feeds. You will want to feed the plants more then normal, as clean of water as possible with zero nutrients (obviously) and no pH up or down. It is not necessary to adjust your pH when flushing, but if you want to I suggest lowering it with lemon juice or the squeeze lemon juice from the grocery store.
Feed your plants 2x – 3x the amount of water as normal. Do not let your run-off water sit in your trays or tables and if in recirculating hydroponics flush out your system much more frequently the normal. This will allow your expelled nutrients built up in your root base or medium to wash off. Of course, recirculating hydroponics run off will reach low PPM quicker then a system with a medium but it is still just as important to flush for the 14 – 28 day period to allow the plant to go through the ripening process, cannibalizing its leaves, using up stored nutrients and packing on THC.
Feed your plants 2x – 3x the amount of water as normal. Do not let your run-off water sit in your trays or tables and if in recirculating hydroponics flush out your system much more frequently the normal. This will allow your expelled nutrients built up in your root base or medium to wash off. Of course, recirculating hydroponics run off will reach low PPM quicker then a system with a medium but it is still just as important to flush for the 14 – 28 day period to allow the plant to go through the ripening process, cannibalizing its leaves, using up stored nutrients and packing on the THC.
As soon as you see that your stigmas are at the 50% mark you need to either lower your light intensity down 50% or turn half of them off. This mimics the sun being further from the plants at the end of summer because of the earths axis and allows your buds to harden up properly becoming more dense. You will also need to cut c02 off at this point or your flowers will become loose and airy. Your temperature should also be dropped as well down about 6 – 8 degrees from your normal. All of this will help the plants flowers harden up during ripening.
ADVANCED RIPENING TECHNIQUES
Advanced ripening techniques to bring colors out and majorly increase trichome and terpen production allowing you to grow some of the highest grade craft quality cannabis around.