End of the blooming period
The last weeks of the flowering phase
After weeks of increasing tension and enthusiasm, the long-awaited moment of the harvest has finally come. Your plants should look magnificent now. You probably have a hard time waiting to smoke your first homegrown joint but have a little more patience. You only have to wait a little while now and then your time and energy will be greatly rewarded. As soon the light cycle is on 12/12 hours dark/light the buds are starting to form and swell. The plants have grown a lot in the first weeks of the flowering period and underwent a real transformation, after which the formation of the buds began. More and more white hairs were growing and the separate little buds steadily grew inwards to form one big bud. After about five weeks of flowering, there will now be hard, crystal-rich buds on your plants. How much weight do buds gain in the last weeks of flowering depends on the strain. Also the flowering stage time lapse differs per strain or genetics. They should still be beautifully green and the buds should still be growing, even though the major part of their development has already been completed. Production of THC is now at full speed. The leaves around the buds will become increasingly sticky because of the many THC-rich resin glands that are growing.
Now the harvest is getting closer, it's time to remove the leaves around the buds and the bigger leaves that contain THC. This can also be done later on, but if you do it now, you save time and more light will fall on the lower buds, which allows them to grow a bit more at the last moment. You can dry these leaves to make kief, hash, hash oil or ice hash from it.
Because blooming plants need more phosphorus and potassium, you can give them PK 13/14 as an additional stimulant for their growth and flowering. It will make the buds harder and more compact. You can also administer additional products such as blooming stimulators, blooming boosters, and enzymes. If you are a beginning grower, these products are probably superfluous because they are only of use if everything went well during the growth period. There's a fair chance that you will have made some mistakes if you are a beginning grower. If you are an experienced grower, these products will enhance your harvest.
In the last two weeks, the buds will mainly mature and grow no more in size. The white trichomes (small resin-secreting stalks/hairs) on the buds will now slowly turn brown.
Because there are still a lot of nutrients in the medium (the precise amount depends on the medium you used) and because the leaves also contain a fair amount of nutrients, you can stop administering them in the last 1.5 to 2 weeks (depending on the medium you use). Depending on the cannabis strain you grow and the climate of the growing area, the maturing takes some time to complete.
Try to make sure that the humidity stays below 50% in the last few weeks of the flowering period. If the humidity is too high, this can lead to stone hard buds, which might develop mold in the last weeks of their growth phase.
If you have discovered mold in a bud, it is as good as lost. Once 80% of the hairs have turned brown, it's time to prepare for the harvest. The ideal temerature during the flowering phase is between 20° and 29° Celsius. You can influence the type of high you get from smoking your cannabis by harvesting the buds a bit sooner or later. The longer you wait, the stronger the 'stone' of the cannabis will be. If you harvest a bit sooner, you get more of a 'high' effect. The harvesting time, therefore, depends on your personal preference.
A bud that died or has been infected by mold will also develop brown hairs. You can start harvesting when 80% of the hairs are brown. If most of the buds have brown hairs but a couple of the lower buds still have white hairs, you can still start harvesting. In order to try out the different highs, you can also harvest in phased intervals.
Flushing means rinsing the medium in which the cannabis plants are. Growers then flush with water only. By rinsing you remove all nutrients, bacteria and micro life from the medium. Many growers flush in the last cultures of flowering to improve the taste. The plants break down the chlorophyll and convert it into energy. The buds are not growing in size during flush. The plant yellows and dies. That is actually a shame since you deny the plant the necessary nutrients in a crucial phase. Growers that flush too early therefore miss out on yield and quality. Those who do not flush should cure at least 3 weeks.