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Discuss how to get the best smoke over the finish line
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Drying and curing your cannabis!
Drying and curing your cannabis plants is one of the most important stages of growing the glorious herb, but many growers will rush this stage or not do it properly. Getting this right is the difference between poor-average bud and top shelf blow your socks off ganja. The key here is patience and keeping an eye at every stage.
Drying and curing properly has many benefits. The most important being increased potency and getting the full flavour from your bud. The best genetics in the world can seem pretty standard if this final and crucial stage is not done properly.
First you will need to harvest your bud. There are many different ways of doing this. Some growers will literally cut a plant at the bottom of a main stem and hang the whole plant upside down, others will cut individual colas off and hang them, others will chop all the buds off individually and dry them on a net. The first option is messy work in my experience and I find a mix of the latter 2 to be ideal, although all work just fine.
For a guide to harvesting your plants at the right time follow this link: https://growroom420.com/phpbb/viewtopic. ... 7&p=65#p65
Drying properly doesn't take forever, which is why it boggles the mind why some growers will try to rush this. Drying cannabis will take on average 3-7 days. This may vary on small, large, airy or tight buds.
Drying your bud should always be done in a dark environment. Ideal drying temperatures are around 21c and humidity should be around 50%, these numbers are not set in stone, we all have to deal with different environments (sheds/lofts/indoors etc.) but as close to this as possible is where you want to be.
Once you have hung your dried cannabis air movement very important, wet bud in stale air is risking rot, but you don't want a fan blowing directly at the buds either as this will dry your bud to quickly. Ideally you want to use your growing set up to dry your buds in, having your extraction on supplies fresh air constantly and a oscillating fan/fans blowing away from your hanging buds will eliminate any “dead spots” in the drying area.
Now time to wait. After 3 days its time to check your buds, some smaller buds may be ready by now to begin the curing process, larger may still have a few days to go. On larger buds even though they may feel dry to the touch there may still be a lot of moisture inside.
The most important part of this stage is not to over dry. Your best friends here are humidity readers, cheap and readily available online. You will want a couple of these at least, if one is faulty it can ruin this vital stage. A good test here is to bend the smaller stems, if they snap then you are probably ready to begin curing.
Curing is the stage in which you will increase potency and get a full flavour from your bud. Ideal curing should be done at a humidity of 55-65%. I personally find the higher end of them numbers to work best, also you will lose some humidity during the curing process, so best not to start at the lower end.
How do you know if its the perfect time to cure?
Once buds feel dry but not brittle to the touch, I like to put them in a suitable size container. Smaller amounts I use plastic Tupperware boxes, larger amounts a tote or large storage box works great. Place your buds inside with some humidity meters and seal, don't fill the tub completely, the about 75% is perfect.
Leave for a couple of hours and come check the the humidity inside the box. If the humidity is above 65% then its time to put the buds back in the drying area and repeat the process 12-24 hours later. If the humidity is inside the magic 55-65% then your bud is ready to begin the curing process inside glass jars, Kilner jars are great.
Keep an eye on the humidity once inside jars as it may well creep up over a period of time, you don't want it above 65%, if it does this then you can lay the buds out for a few hours and then put back into the jars. Getting this right is so important. It can ruin months of hard work so is worth the time to check and check again. Like the tubs above you don't want to over fill your glass jars, around 75% full is perfect.
Once you have a stable humidity of 55-65% your ready to begin the cure. For the first week of curing you want to “burp” your jars a few times a day, just opening the them for a few minutes is all you need. Always smell the jars when opening, If there is a damp rot smell then its likely there is too much moisture inside some of the buds, normally larger ones. I like to chop up any huge buds before putting into jars to avoid this. After a week you can start to burp once a day, after a couple of weeks every 2-3 days is fine, and then longer as time goes on.
You should start to notice an increased smell to your curing buds, if you sample your ganja on the first few days of curing then again a few weeks in you will notice a huge difference in taste and aroma. Again, the whole time you want to keep within that magic 55-65%, as long as the above steps are followed you will get the very best from your harvested bud.
You can cure for as long as you like, I've heard of folks curing for a few years.
Over drying your bud:
This happens, even to guys that have been at it years. While not ideal it's not a unfixable problem. Bud can be cured at below 55%, but will never be as good as bud cured at 55-65%. There are products available to get you out of this should it happen.
Boveda packs are brilliant at adding moisture back into over dried bud or bud that has been curing for a long time. The 62% humidity versions get buds back to that perfect range for curing, but doing it correctly in the first place is always the better option.
For an in depth look at the science behind curing follow this link: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=48
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Thanks for that Keeno. Always good to do some reading and learn something new. Much appreciated.