Toiling in the Nug Mines

First tent grow and harvest is over; now it's drying time!

· 5 min read
Toiling in the Nug Mines

At the end of an exhausting weekend of harvesting and trimming, I'm proud of what we've accomplished. I took one final photo of the plants the day before the harvest, here:

From left to right: Laszlo (Bubba Kush), Colin (Blue Cheese OG), Nandor (Pink Lemonade)

Harvesting

It's fairly common to "flush" cannabis plants starting a week or two before harvest - this involves overflowing the pots with plain water instead of the usual nutrient-filled water to flush out nutrients from the soil. The claim is that flushing improves the taste but at least one study conducted by a cannabis grower suggests that flushing is unnecessary. In the case of these three plants, I switched to plain water in the last couple days on the idea that there would be no significant growth within two days to justify wasting additional nutrients before harvest.

As was pointed out by a fellow grower based on the above photo, Laszlo was showing signs of nitrogen toxicity in his leaves. This shouldn't have much effect on the final result but it's worth noting for future grows of that seed. Otherwise, I'm proud to say this ended up being a very healthy collection of plants.

My trimming workstation over the weekend, this shot from Sunday.

My family (all adults) generously assisted me in the trimming process - while they may choose to reap the rewards of my hobby growing, there was no obligation upon them to assist but I am grateful for their help. It significantly reduced the amount of time taken, and provided quality time together, primarily spent listening and singing along to music. I briefly worked alone on Sunday morning, during which time I watched an excellent documentary on the women pioneers of synthesized music: Sisters with Transistors.

I didn't take a lot of photos of the trimming process itself as my hands were gloved and very sticky throughout most of it, but I photographed the yield from two of the three plants:

Yield from Colin Robinson (Blue Cheese OG) - some very large buds in the lot
Yield from Nandor (Pink Lemonade)

We started harvesting and trimming around midday on Saturday, succeeded in completing Colin Robinson (Blue Cheese OG) by evening, then started on Laszlo (Bubba Kush) which we had to pause on and continue Sunday morning. I didn't think to get photos of the yield from Laszlo as it was split across multiple days. By late morning on Sunday we were able to start harvesting Nandor (Pink Lemonade) and it took us until the evening to complete.

While they'll certainly shrink in the drying process, Colin Robinson provided by far the largest buds.

The top bud on Colin Robinson (Blue Cheese OG) on my 2 inch grinder, for scale.

The Blue Cheese OG wins as the largest buds of the harvest (and possibly the greatest yield), the Bubba Kush wins as the most dense buds of the harvest, and the Pink Lemonade wins as the most resinous, stickiest buds of the harvest.

Drying

I think both with my original Pink Lemonade harvested back in August, and my Blueberry Muffin harvested last week, I had far too quick a dry which affected the flavour profoundly - my drying environment was just open space in the basement which rarely gets to greater than 35% humidity in this dry Alberta climate. There were, of course, other things wrong with that Pink Lemonade grow (notably, my inconsistency with watering and fertilizer use), but the Blueberry Muffin also dried much too quickly. This time around I'm making an attempt to slow the dry as much as possible.

Early Saturday, with the plants still in the tent, I tested out the addition of a digital humidifier I had lying around to see if it could successfully maintain humidity levels over the day. Success! I was able to keep the humidity in the tent at or below 50% with the humidifier going through very little water.

After harvesting Colin Robinson, I removed the remaining two plants from the grow tent and set it up as a drying tent. I turned off the fans inside the tent, but left on the air intake and outtake fans at a slightly lower speed to ensure the air in the tent doesn't remain stagnant.

Photo of the converted drying tent after harvesting both Colin Robinson (Blue Cheese OG) and Laszlo (Bubba Kush)

The goal is for the harvest to take at least 1 week to dry. If I can make it to 1 week I'll be very pleased, but any amount of time longer than 3 days will count as a success. Of course, I need to be ever-watchful for mold and fungus. I'm not so concerned about the buds, which are well separated on the drying mesh, but the trimmings are in foil trays and will need to be shifted around daily to prevent mold growth.

Chart of grows to date in order of harvest. Drying days incomplete for the most recent three, as indicated by the lighter shade of yellow. Darker shades of all colours indicate a previous grow.

Over this grow I've meticulously tracked timings and it'll be interesting to reflect on the data in relation to quality at the end. For my original Pink Lemonade grow, the high was solid but the taste and smell were definitely sub-par. Looking back at the timelines, it took a long time to grow in its vegetative state (due to poor fertilization), and I let it go far too long in its flowering state before harvest followed by a very rapid dry. Controlling for all the above it'll be very interesting to compare my current Pink Lemonade grow.

The Blueberry Muffin wasn't the healthiest of my plants this time around, for sure. I strongly suspect it required a nutrient my hydroponic fertilizers were not providing in sufficient quantity. While its flavour might even out, it was and is intensely grassy smelling compared to the other cultivars, and barely has any intoxicating effect (I've vaped a bit of it already to see). Considering the seeds are award-winning, I'm very confident my grow went wrong. It'll be interesting to try to grow it alone at some point in the future and see if I can perfect it.

All that remains of the four plants

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