Once you have identified buds that are fully mature, it’s time to start harvesting. Be sure to have your work area and drying space set up ahead of time. Even harvesting a small garden can quickly take over an entire garage and create a huge mess. Things are going to get sticky, smelly and probably loud. Prep your area accordingly. If you are working indoors spread tarps, drop cloths or cover the floor with ram board to help protect the house. Have your tools purchased in advance, especially if you grow in an area like northern California where cannabis is a huge industry. The tools you require will quickly sell out once everyone else begins to harvest. Being properly equipped makes all the difference.
Nothing is more annoying than trying to harvest without a good sharp pair of pruners. You’ll need a pair or two out in the garden (they have a way of disappearing) and if you have helpers running machines or hanging the buds to dry, they will need a pair or three. Helpers pruners seem to disappear at a much quicker rate. Both Fiskar and Corona make high quality prooners. Avoid the super cheap off-brands. They are usually pretty disappointing. At harvest I like to keep both a pair of the corona bypass pruners and straight snips on my belt.
Whether it be wet or dry manicuring, cleaning out mold, or big leafing your buds, Fiskars are the go to snips of the cannabis industry. Hydrofarm makes an acceptable knock off version but I will always be a Fiskar loyalist. In addition to the standard micro snip, they also make a titanium bladed version that will resist corrosion and stays sharper longer.
You’ll quickly discover that everything manages to get sticky during harvest. Fingers, tools, door knobs, refrigerator doors and wash room faucets will all have a thick layer of black goo before you’re done. While many natural cleaners will work to some degree, nothing works as well for cleaning up the mess as Denatured Alcohol. A gallon will go a long way and can be poured into a mister bottle for dispensing. Spray, wipe, cleaned! Any remaining alcohol will evaporate in seconds.
Sticky fingers will slow you down and stopping to clean up every few minutes disrupts your momentum. Disposable gloves work great for keeping the sticky resin off your fingers. While latex gloves work, the resin adheres to them pretty quickly. Vinyl Gloves seem to last much longer and don’t load up with resin nearly as quick. Buy several boxes per person. You’ll be amazed how many you go through.
If you’re in the thick of it your clothing will quickly soak up a ton of resin. Not only will your clothing stink to high hell but it will also quickly become uncomfortably sticky.That much resin against your skin can also cause some pretty serious skin allergies. Cover up with a Disposable Suit so your clothing doesn’t get ruined. If you have to drive to get lunch or head home after work, your car will thank you also. One disposable suit should last each person an entire harvest. They make cleaning up a breeze and they look sexy.
If you are working with trimming machines Safety Goggles are a must. Nothing will disrupt work as quickly as a piece of leaf shot into your eyeball. As if leaf alone isn’t bad enough, the resin really does a number on your cornea. Even if nothing is flying through the air, goggles will keep you from unconsciously rubbing your eyes with your resin covered fingers.
Fans are a must while harvesting. Keeping the air moving in your drying area will decrease the chances of mold, speed up the drying process, and reduce humidity in the room. Fans also make a stuffy manicuring area much more pleasant to work in. You don’t need to spend a fortune, a few cheap Box Fans will go a long way.
All too often the weather becomes a bit uncooperative during harvest. When drying cannabis you need warm dry air. An inexpensive dehumidifier will help create the perfect environment by drying out the air and warming up the room. They work so well you will need to monitor the buds more closely or they can become too dry.
Whether you are picking, hauling, drying, curing or storing buds, Plastic Totes are cheap, durable and work great. Most models are stackable and can be used for a million other things after harvest. I probably buy 50 totes each year and I still never seem to have enough. Make sure you have at least a few. I linked to an example on amazon so you could see what I am talking about. You can probably find them for about half that price at Home Depot.
For those with small harvests these Collapsible Drying Racks work great. They take only seconds to set up and you can hang them from any stud or rafter. When not in use they collapse to a size that can be easily stored.
Table Top Trimming Machines
For those of you with larger harvests a Table Top Trimming Machine will help speed along your harvest. While no machine will give as tight of a manicure as a pair of Fiskars, they do quickly remove the extra leaf. This will speed up the drying process and decrease your chances of mold. I have used machines by Trimpro and Hedgehog that cost around $1400. I linked to the least expensive model I could find on Amazon. While the prices have come down a lot in the last few years, I can’t vouch for this ones quality.
Whether you are dividing up shares, staying in compliance with local medical cannabis regulations, or exercising your entrepreneurial streak, odds are you will want to have some idea how much cannabis you grew. Kitchen Scales are a must have tool and they don’t cost a fortune. Remember that possession of a scale indicates intent to sell so keep it in the kitchen with your measuring cups when it’s not in use.
Once your buds are dried, cured and tightly trimmed you need to package them for long term storage. While many use turkey bags to reduce the odor they don’t work well for long term storage. For the best results a Vacuum Sealer can’t be beet. The plastic is thick and allows nearly zero moisture and air exchange so your buds stay just as fresh as when you packaged them. Make sure you suck out as much air as possible and let the buds compack just a bit. This will keep them from rubbing back and forth against each other and crumbling if you aren’t gentle.
13 Harvest Tools You’ll Feel Lucky to Have,