5 Tips for a Successful Cannabis Flowering Season and Harvest!


Let’s Nip Harvest in the Bud!

A glorious cola of Gamechanger, freshly harvested from the plant. An early finishing, high producing, resistant strain that was a treat to grow! I trimmed off a majority of the leaves here before drying, just to show the shape for camera.
Generally, I prefer to leave more of the leaf on, removing only the larger, remaining fan leaves prior to drying

I know you are on the edge of your seats, dying to hear tips 4 & 5 right!?! I am dying to share them with you!!

I have spent years figuring out what works best for me, to maintain the parameters necessary to properly dry, cure & store my cannabis flowers, for different uses, for many months to come. Hopefully at least until the next harvest right?!

Although the healthful benefits of gardening & growing your own cannabis are miraculous alone, the main drive behind all of this hard work is to supply your own, bomb-ass cannabis for months beyond harvest, to save money on buying your cannabis, to know where your clean, organic medicine comes from & to create healing remedies suited just for you or your loved ones. We want these flowers, once harvested, to maintain the high quality, medicinal components we desire for as long as possible until use.

Oh, the aromas of the Pennywise – a 1:1 CBD strain with strong citrus & pine aromas! The terpenes are what we smell. Within the same glands that create cannabinoids like THC & CBD, terpenes are the aromatic oils with genetically distinctive flavors such as citrus, fruit or pine, among so many other descriptors. These strong smelling oils develop with one main purpose – to naturally repel pests & bring in pollinators! The terpenes also interact with the cannabinoids & play a role in the overall medicinal effects of the strain.

Once harvested, the medicinal components, the oils, within the flower continue to age – like wine does over years while in a bottle – evolving, evolving & evolving…until ultimately degrading. Our goal is to slow this natural degradation as much as possible, to ensure the freshest, brightest, most vibrant medicine for as long as possible. And, like a fine wine, there are moments within this slow aging process, that done just right, allows your cannabis to hit peaks of utmost perfection.

Everyone who enjoys cannabis in one form or another has a personal idea of when their flower is “best” to enjoy. Some will say after aging for only 4 weeks, some will say after two months… or like me, some may find their sweetest spot is within the fourth – sixth month of curing. Again, like wine, everyone has an opinion of what they like best & why, not one of them being wrong. 

Think of your flower being a living human being… starting out young, energetic & lively at harvest…then maturing & becoming more balanced while curing…evolving yet, becoming even smoother, softer with more wisdom over time…until finally much older, more relaxed & needing lots of naps! 

Your flower ages in a similar way, it’s physical effects also evolving in a similar way. 

Planning for the harvest of cannabis flowers, for me, begins as soon as I see the flowers begin to form. 8-12 weeks can sneak up on you super fast & you do not want to be caught unprepared. Not being prepared can mean the difference between having potent cannabis flowers to enjoy for many months to come… or not. I have witnessed so much tragedy at this final precipice, even for those who thought they were ready to roll. I’ll just put it out there, straight up – shit happens, shit breaks, the weather can turn to shit… get what you need in place NOW, have a back up plan & then make a back up plan for your back up plan!!

The trichomes are the tiny crystals that cover the flower & leaf surface during bloom. These mushroom shaped oil glands extending from the flower surface, swell with the oils – the cannabinoids, terpenes & flavonoids – that make the cannabis potent & unique.

For those growing your own cannabis for the very first time, you got this!! It’s time to think outside the box & get creative depending on the space & bank roll you have to work with. You may have noticed me say that I am ALL about inexpensive & easy!! My methods have encapsulated this for me. However, for the optimal results at harvest, there are a few things to consider & you may need to make a few investments. Planning ahead now will have you prepared for whatever may come & sitting high on amazing flower for months to follow! 

So, let’s dig in to steps 4 & 5…

  • Drying Room
  • Curing & Storage

For me, not only does the maturity of the trichomes play a role in when I harvest, but the weather & my schedule are important, real life factors as well! I mark on my calendar when each strain begins to flower. Then, I note on that same calendar where the 8-12 week points are, for each strain. If the flowering period of the strain is unknown, I mark both the 8 & 12 week mark, giving me a window to be ready for. 

View the trichomes with magnification & harvest your flower when they have gone from clear & glassy to milky white & opaque, & only about 25% have morphed to amber. Amber is the color signaling the height of maturity & transition to natural degradation or decline. The more amber the trichomes, the more sedative or relaxing the essential oils become.

By AT THE LATEST, at the 2 week count down to my first 8 week mark, I make sure my harvest & drying space are ready to roll!! Yes, “set up drying room & get suppplies” is definitely on the calendar!

WHY do we dry our cannabis flowers at harvest? 

Drying & curing your flowers allows the cannabinoids & terpenes to fully mature, mesh properly & come to the fore-front. As a living thing, the internal nuances of the plant don’t stop the second you cut it down, but continue to evolve slowly, still gaining potency. The non-psychoactive cannabinoids continue to convert to THCA for 3-5 days & the cells are still converting carbohydrates back to simple sugars. 

Chlorophyll is the green proteins in a plant that use the sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into plant energy during photosynthesis. Chlorophyll allows the plant leaves to act as energy deriving solar panels. Any residual chlorophyll in the flower when consumed will give way to a super harsh, burning taste and/or a funky grassy/hay aroma. No bueno.

If the cannabis flower is dried too quickly, the chlorophyll will not have enough time to sufficiently break down. If also drying in temperatures too warm, you will lose potent terpenes, as they will evaporate between 70-85 degrees!

Drying & curing your cannabis flower right, will allow any grassy, hay-like aroma & harsh taste to dissipate, giving way to the glorious, danky, gassy, floral, lemon (or whatever genetic terpene profile your strain naturally exhibits) & smooth as smooth can be smoke. 

Even if you may not be vaporizing your flower, you will want it to be in its most terpene rich, mature, potent state to work with. Your oils will be better, your edibles better, your topicals better… everything will be better. 

Allowing the moisture, chlorophyll & the residual minerals & sugars to dissipate, will enhance the naturally occurring medicinal compounds, aromas & flavors of your strain. 

And once your flowers are properly dried? They are ready to be stored in a way that contributes to the overall cure, without worry of mold, for up to 1-2 years without loss of potency! Yeee! That’s what all of these months of hard work have been for right?!

Watching your cannabis flowers for signs of harvest readiness can feel a bit stressful – at first. Don’t worry, the oil laden trichomes don’t all turn amber overnight! The process of maturity takes days – weeks, so take a deep breath, watch your timeline, your weather & monitor your trichomes under a magnification loupe. Once the trichomes are fully opaque & clouded white, you are good to harvest from this point forward. The physical effects when harvesting at full white opacity will generally be a more uplifting, energetic, youthful display of the strain genetics. As more trichomes mature & reach an amber color, the effects begin to lean toward the relaxing & sedative, which may be just what you’re looking for.
Wait even longer, until the trichomes have darkened & the majority are amber & the effects may have you stuck to the couch & enjoying a great night sleep. Again, this may be what you are looking for! It’s about what works for YOU.

The Drying Room

The first year I harvested cannabis, I thought I was prepared. In all honesty, I supremely, totally, completely lucked the fuck out. There’s really no other way to express how completely. 

Growing in Northern California, the weather tends to stay warm, hot & dry until late September – early October, when anything can happen. Anything meaning cold, rain, storms, hail, wind… we’ve had it all at once. After keeping track for a few years, the broad fluctuation is so common I now expect it. I am READY for it.  

During this particular year it became rainy & cool at the end of September & into the first few weeks in October. So cool in fact, we sat by warm fire pits while harvesting each day! Friends with bigger farms were rallying the troops, trying to beat the powdery mildew coming in fast. At least I had the wits to watch the weather, so I knew it was coming & was prepared to harvest… but my preparation & plan was to hang everything to dry in a garage! An unstable, usually sweltering hot, dusty, dirty garage. I had seen what friends had done & hadn’t done enough of my own research – DOH! Many of us have been there & I hope to save you from making my same mistake. 

Ahhh, the old, dirty garage of the first harvest almost gone awry. The original hanging lines still exist, now supporting drying gourds & luffa!

I had strung up strong wires about 10 ft. up in the headspace of the garage to hang dry my cannabis. This was a concrete floor, non-insulated space with multiple access doors. The rain caused moisture to gather in the concrete floors & kept the air heavy with humidity. Nothing dries out well in overly humid weather. Add tons of freshly cut, moist greenery to the space & the humidity was HEAVY. The possibility of mold became a real, last minute fear. 

So what did I do?! 

I managed to save my harvest during the drying phase by adding multiple oscillating fans to my space to keep the air moving. I spaced the drying branches a little further from one another, with more air space between them, on the line. I trimmed off more of the leaves than I was going to initially, prior to hanging, to help the heavy buds dry a little more quickly & uniformly with less moisture being retained. 

I added a small space heater. Let’s just say, it was a stressful extension cord scramble on the fly!! Luckily, I was able to use found objects such as fans & a space heater without spending a butt load of money, because I sure as heck didn’t have any extra at the time… & it worked! (Thank you little, tiny, baby Jesus!) My harvest ultimately dried slowly & perfectly. 

It could have so easily gone so wrong & I could have lost my entire crop to mold. I’ve seen it happen to others, year after year & it is just devestating.

The cool weather stayed & even colder weather crept in, actually making the very same garage a great environment for storage of the dry branches in a cold, dark corner, inside dark, stacking bins.

But can you imagine, if instead of being cool – which posed it’s own issues – what if it had been a few weeks of 100+ degree, dry, hot days at that harvest?! It could have easily been so! I would have had a completely different problem! I had no way to cool the space. No way to slow the drying & nowhere else prepared to hang the branches! My entire harvest likely would have fried up within a day & disintegrated, ruined before I even had a chance to enjoy the fruit of my labors.

The idea of how close I came to losing it all, either way, blew my mind. And the following season, you bet I had done my homework & had a proper drying space ready!

What you’ll need: 

  • A clean space, free of dust, pets & debris
  • A sealed, safe space, secure from children
  • Complete darkness
  • Stable temperature of 65-70 degrees F
  • Stable humidity 60%
  • Fans for air circulation
  • Dehumidifier
  • Air conditioning
  • Heater
  • Line, wire or 6″ trellis netting
  • Time: 7-14 days from cut to dry
  • A thermometer/hygrometer
  • Carbon air filter
  • Labels & log

Now, given your location, your weather at the time of harvest & what space you have to work with, what you need will be very specific to your environment. You may not need everything listed & you can get creative! The idea is to create the most optimal, consistent environment possible, however you manage it. With so many important variables, you will want to figure it out NOW. 

You may already have some of the items needed to create your space, but do they work? Has your dehumidifier been sitting in the garage for 10 years & not been used since it was put there? You don’t want to find out what works & what doesn’t the day of harvest! Think about this… the whole world near you will harvest their outdoor crop at around the same time & the stores won’t necessarily have what you need. Plan ahead for it all! Every part you need, get it now, make sure it all works & create a backup plan – whether that’s having extra cash on hand for something unexpected or an entire back up space. 

Here is what worked for me & why:

I moved the drying space from an outdoor garage to inside a home. The home had the secure, safe space & stays 70 degrees max all summer with air conditioning.

My first year drying indoors I used an empty bedroom, closed off from the rest of the house, the main living quarters & safe from any children. You will not want your kids smelling of cannabis when they go off to school or anywhere else! (I actually have a really funny story about that!) The world isn’t that cool with it yet. So, it needs to be sealed off & safe from kids. I don’t want any animals in mine either, not a fan of pet hair on the buds. 

If the potent smell of your drying cannabis is an issue for you, you can purchase a carbon filter, ducting, & a duct fan to scrub the air & vent it out of your space. This entails some contractor type, putting a hole in the wall type work, which may be easy for the handy, but luckily, I didn’t have to do all that. My location is private, the smell only temporary. But do know this – if it is your first time harvesting & you plan on drying in or near your living quarters, the aroma does indeed permeate & you will smell like weed everywhere you go for a few weeks. I personally enjoy random people telling me how great I smell with a smiling wink, (I’ve made new friends this way!) but it may not go over well for you at the office. 

In setting up my room, I lined the floor with thick, black contractor’s plastic (for easy clean up later) & wedged a few 2 X 4’s in from floor to ceiling, creating a temporary wall-like frame. Try to add something as a barrier, such as a piece of fabric, between the wood & painted ceiling or you could tear off some ceiling paint when taking this down – lesson learned.

Within this wood frame I stapled snugly, my favorite 6” square trellis netting with which to hang the individual branches. I LOVE using the netting, for I can hang stacked rows without taking up major square footage!

By using the trellis netting, I am able to hang multiple rows of branches in one area. The room was kept dark, cool with local A/C, & multiple 6″ oscillating fans were placed high & low in the area to keep the air softly moving. At the end of each row, a sticky label marked the strain & harvest date, so I know how many days the row has been drying.

The window was closed & blacked out with thick drapes for complete darkness, the A/C was on 69 degrees.

I added a few 6” clip on oscillating fans to maintain soft air movement in all directions, high & low. I added a $10, basic analog thermometer/hygrometer to monitor the temperature & humidity. Actually, I have a few of these & keep them in my drying area, storage area & also in my jar cabinet. 

A simple, inexpensive thermometer & hygrometer will help keep your environment in check!

Again, I am super thrifty, so using the A/C that was already running to cool the home worked. Also, I could use the A/C to drop the temperature a few degrees, say from 69 down to 66, & bring down the humidity quickly if I needed to. If you are drying in a space without insulation, that is not temperature controlled & doesn’t stay cool, you will want to consider purchasing an A/C unit. Whether a wall unit or heavy duty unit, the investment can mean the difference between your flower making it post harvest or not. 

Another very important item, that can be quite costly & hard to find in a desperate moments notice, is a good dehumidifier. If you are not able to decrease the moisture in your space enough, mold or mildew can ruin your flowers. Because I was able to use my A/C to lower the temperature & hence lower the humidity, I found I did not need one for my size space. However, the less stable the temperature is in the space you are using & in considering the quantity of wet flower your are drying, you may want to purchase one adequate for your square footage. If you have never purchased a quality dehumidifier before, a little homework goes a long way! Some work best in conjunction with the room temperature, the room temperature pivotal in how much moisture can be removed from the airRead that again. I can’t tell you how many smaller dehumidifiers sold are brought back to be returned because they “don’t work & aren’t taking enough moisture out”, when really, it was environment & user mis-understanding. Also, when you just harvest & first fill a room with wet flower, the humidity will climb higher than preferred – at first. I’ve noticed an initial 2-3 day plateau, until it begins to drop. With the right temperature & air movement in place, the humidity should decrease, slowly but steadily, beginning within the first 2-3 days as the flower begins to dry. As long as this is happening & you can feel the flowers are subtly drier with each passing day, you’ll be good. If the humidity stays up there & your flowers are 2 days in & hanging fresh as the day they were harvested, adjustments must be made to the environment to get things moving in the right direction – whether that means lowering the overall temperature, adding some air flow, or integrating a dehumidifier.

I am all about a slow & steady dry, it generally taking 10-14 days to get to stem snapping dryness while still maintaining a subtle, soft smoosh when squeezing the light & evenly crisp flowers. I know it’s hard to wait & some people want to rush that first sample… but I implore you, patience will win at this stage in your game! Just remember, slow & steady wins the race my friend. If your flower dries too hot or too fast, you’ll end up with sad, hay scented crumbles instead of dank, aromatic, potent buds.

Dried branches ready for storage or trimming. I prefer to leave on some leaf, protecting the flowers & trichomes during storage until ready to trim.

When harvesting my flowers from the plant I leave them on branches about 1 foot long, cutting it in such a way an angle is left at one end of the branch to hang it by on the trellis. Or, I hang it from a strong end nug. If a smaller plant, I’ll just cut & hang the entire plant as is! I choose to leave the leaves on through cure until I trim. I find that leaving the leaves intact slows the cure just right for me & I enjoy how the branches store & cure this way until I am ready to trim them. The remaining leaves form a “cocoon” around the flowers, protecting the trichomes & oils while maintaining a lovely moisture balance. If you are working within a space that you just can’t get cool enough, dry enough, or has too much stagnant air, I would remove as many of the leaves as possible to ensure the flowers are able to dry more efficiently. The more wet plant matter, the longer it will take to dry!

Something else to consider… you may wish to harvest your plants in sections, removing the top, more mature branches first while leaving the lowers to mature for a bit longer. Be aware, if you add moist, wet greenery to a room of almost completely dry flowers, the moisture in the room will soar back up for a couple days, adding moisture back into the flowers that were already mostly dry, setting them back a few days. Because I can keep my room cool, with enough air flow, this has not posed an issue for me in a negative way. A few days longer on a slow but steady dry allows more time for internal plant processes to come to an end & the chlorophyl & carbohydrates to fully dissipate. However, if you are having trouble removing moisture already & face the possibility of mold, you will want to hold off on adding any fresh cut to the room until after you’ve pulled the already dry flowers out.  

I label each row, using sticker labels, as I hang the branches with the strain type & harvest date. I also keep a small notepad in the room, logging the temperature & humidity 2-3 times per day, noting the changes as the cannabis cures. The more you know, the more you know! If this is your first time, keeping a log is so important! It will help you best manage these processes and make smart improvements for next time.

In the last couple years, I’ve made a few key changes for the better. I have moved my drying area to another, more secure part of a home, building a room within a room for even better A/C control (better vent spacing) & more electrical outlets. This has proven to be my best set up yet! I have removed all fans even, as I was finding certain areas drying too quickly for my taste. Keeping with the 60/60 rule (60ish degrees & 60% humidity) by controlling the A/C has kept the entire environment consistent for an even, slow but steady dry. I have even figured out how to masterfully & super cleanly, take everything down post harvest, tucking it away for easy use again the following year. Me saving money again of course! Take good care of your equipment & it will serve you for a long time to come!

Creating a room within a room! Lining the floor, walls & countertops with thick plastic keeps things clean & completely sealed from the rest of the space.
Adding a zipper enclosure keeps what should be in the room IN & what should stay out, OUT. No pet, dust, or plant debris exchange. The aroma? That can sneak through no matter what. If you have an issue with the smell, look into a carbon filter for your space.
My 6″ square trellis in action! Too bad I didn’t catch a shot when this room was filled with drying branches! The open A/C vents within the enclosed space kept the temperature & humidity on point & the numerous outlets kept fans in motion at all times.

Once the cannabis has reached desired dryness – the stems almost snap (but aren’t brittle) & the flower is evenly crisp on the outside, while still maintaining a delightful, danky smoosh factor – the branches can be removed from the drying area & either bucked down & trimmed into glass jars – OR – stored as is on the branch, inside bins, in a cool, dark, humidity controlled place until it is trimmed.

Curing & Storage

What you’ll need:

  • A dark & secure space
  • Dark storage bins with lids
  • Cool temperature 65 F (Or cooler)
  • Controlled humidity 60%
  • Thermometer/hygrometer
  • 1 quart, glass, wide mouth canning jars
  • Trim Bin – 2 layer with screen
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Comfortable shears
  • Rubbing alcohol

Cannabis flowers begin to cure when they are harvested & start to dry, but the real cure in my eyes happens while they sit in a cool, dark, place with optimal humidity for a bit of time. 2-4 weeks in a sealed glass jar is a minimal, appreciated rule, but I prefer 1-6 months. Think of wine, again, if you’re a wine lover. Or of keeping fine cigars if you are familiar! 

As with wine, the intricate flavors & aromas, even the characteristics of where the plant is grown (the terroir) are more apparent, full bodied & most enjoyable across the palate after some proper aging. And as with wine, where & how it is stored is very important to maintain these characteristics over time.

I love using the thick, dark storage bins – that come in numerous sizes – with matching lids. If the lids can be black, even better! Always label your bins & keep them stored in a safe, cool, dark, humidity controlled place for the best, long term storage of your flowers.

After my cannabis branches & flowers have dried, I gently lay them as is, inside thick, black storage bins, stacking the branches gently until the bin is ¾ full. I use the coordinating, fastening lids & label each bin (strain name, harvest date, bin date) & stack them conveniently, in a very cool, dark, humidity controlled place until I am ready to trim. 

Where I live, I really luck out with my weather patterns post harvest. By the time my flower is dry, our climate has cooled for Fall & my outdoor, locked storage area is dark & very cool, generally 60 degrees at the warmest, getting even cooler – down to 50 – through February. Between 60-70 is optimal for storing your flower, but I appreciate the extra cool temps through the winter. It seems to slow the natural aging process even more, preserving the flower even longer. 

I store my bins with a temperature/humidity gauge to manage environment stability & often add a few Boveda (humidity) packs to the bins to balance the humidity inside.

I line the bottom of the bin with a piece of clean cardboard & stack the dry branches carefully for storage until I am ready to trim. I find the stems & remaining leaf protect the structure of the flowers & the trichomes during storage & adding a few humidity packs keep the humidity in check – not too moist & not too dry! – but just right.

I check the bins every day, especially in the first few weeks, to let in some fresh air & to make sure there aren’t any issues with any retained moisture. I’ll feel in, around & under the branches carefully, making sure things are staying dry down below. If too much moisture is remaining in the flowers at the time they are put into bins, it can cause mold! 

The flowers can cure in these bins for a few months if I prefer, given the cold climate, dark environment & well managed humidity, but it is nice to have an assortment trimmed & ready for immediate use, or for my most favorite – donations & gifts!!  Giving cannabis is truly one of my most favorite things to do!!

HAPPY HOLIDAZE!!! A little Sour Grape (Sour Diesel X Grandad Purple) made for the best gifts!

The holidays are my favorite time of year for gifting cannabis! I love sneaking it into a white elephant gift at a Christmas party! Everyone fights over it! Give it as a tip, to someone who works with you, to a neighbor, or someone you know who is ill & in need. It feels SO GOOD! It’s also an amazing time for cannabis education, for the questions begin & a beautiful, open conversation starts.

Dang, just gave myself goosebumps!!

So, you now have this mass of amazing flower, dry & ready to be trimmed. Suddenly, you realize just how much you have & the process can be daunting. How to get it all done?!

Some of us don’t have the time to manage it all ourselves. Some are physically unable to do it. Hiring someone to trim is more legitimately available now than it ever was… but who do you call?? Not every person has the connections. And, trimmers have received a bad rap in the past. Who can you trust? What are the legalities? Do they come to you? Where can you go? Is it even legal for you to drive it somewhere to be processed?? (Not likely, check your local regulations.) How much does it cost?

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Hire Someone
  • Trim Party with Friends & Family
  • Trimming Machine
  • Trim Yourself

This is where it gets, well, sticky. (haha)

To hire some help, I’d start first with trusted people you already know. Got a retired Mom kicking it a home, looking for something to do? A neighbor friend out on disability looking to make an extra buck? Have an – at least – 21 year old buddy wanting to make some extra holiday funds? Have a few stay at home Mom friends who could use some adult convo for a few hours & some extra cash?? Start there!! You may not have to look any further.

You can try your local grow shop & ask for legit recommendations. I had many trimmers come through the shop I worked for, letting us know they were available, dropping their numbers for us to pass along & legit trimming services are on the rise. Generally, trimmers will come to your location, so you’ll want to be wary & vet the service with caution. Payment of $125 per pound is a common average in my area & some will appreciate trade in product. Make sure you have a warm, clean environment, drinking water, coffee, a clean bathroom, some music, extra shears, trim bins & some rubbing alcohol on hand, unless they supply their own. 

Having a trim party with friends is my favorite, for by now it’s winter, it’s cold, & what else is there to do but hang out inside, laugh & trim?! I have a friend who loves to listen to movies while he trims. I love helping him out, sitting inside on a cold, gloomy day, away from my kids… It’s relaxing for me! Great conversation, maybe a glass of wine… I’m in, let’s trim! Get your girlfriends together & hash out life while you hash out the trimming & send them off with some cannabis when they’re finished – it’s a win-win-win!!

Trimming your cannabis can take some time, but can be very relaxing.
Make sure you are comfortable & have the right tools, you will enjoy it so much more!

Another option is getting yourself a trim machine. This is a more costly option, but there are many different sizes & they do make trimming large quantities much faster. In my area, a decent machine runs $3,000 – $10,000+. Just make sure & do your homework & ensure the brand’s customer service suits you. A brand with close proximity to you for assistance & parts is ideal. Machines work best for tighter, more solid flower, with intense structural integrity. If the flower is fluffy, or too brittle, it may get tumbled straight to smithereens. A machine may not remove all of the leaves, some finding they have to follow up with a hand trim anyway. Some people, myself included, appreciate a hand trim over machine because it’s more gentle, maintaining the oil laden trichomes & structure of the flowers. It really depends on your needs, your time, money & what is most important to you in the final outcome. A couple brands I will recommend for my area – Twister & GreenBroz. Both have great, innovative machines & even more important – excellent customer care!! Between easy to order repair parts, training & personal assistance, these companies ROCK!

A TWISTER trimming machine. They come in a few different sizes, are easy to take apart, clean & order parts for.

I personally prefer a hand trim, for I like to treat my flower gently & trim with intention. And when I trim, I like to get comfy. I use a double layer Trim Bin with a screen, to catch any kief (oil laden trichomes) that fall while I trim & nice, rounded out arm spaces. I can sit at a table, on the couch, outdoors, wherever. Some music, a movie to listen to or a great podcast & I am set. Add a beer or a glass of wine & I may as well be on vacation!

I recall making fun of the first Trim Bin I saw… I mean, how bougie were we getting?! In all seriousness though, I finally bought one & kicked myself for waiting so long, it was the BEST purchase ever! I have never been more comfortable while trimming & I love saving my kief for other uses!!
A Trim Bin is a small investment that will make you very, very happy.

I prefer sharp, straight, spring shears – Hydrofarm work great – with a small jar of rubbing alcohol for cleaning the tips. I use more than one pair of shears so I can easily rotate them. My hands will get tired from the repetitive motion, so they need to be really light & easy. Many love the Chikamasa scissors, but my hands get oddly claustrophobic with something around the outside of my fingers. The type of snips used are very particular to everyone, be sure to get a pair comfortable for you & you’ll enjoy trimming so much more!

I like to wear an apron to keep my clothes clean & use nitrile gloves to keep the sticky off my finger tips. 

I trim away any excess leaf, carefully working around the flower. If trimming just for myself, I leave a little crystally leaf without worry. Others may appreciate a super tight trim, displaying just the perfection of the flower itself. Trimming can be quite the art & does take some practice to become quick & adept. 

Before & After.
A sparkling, trimmed nug of Phat Planet, an amazing strain cultivated by a wonderful friend, seed maker & talented grower, Baller Billy Seeds.
Find him on IG @ballerbillyseeds!!

After I manicure my flowers, I put them into 1 quart, wide mouth glass canning jars, labeled with the strain name, harvest date & jar date. I add a small Boveda, 62% humidity pack to each jar & store them in a very cool, dark, locked cabinet. Ideal temperature & darkness are key as both sunlight & heat will quickly degrade the oils & the flowers.

A jar of Gelato trimmed, labeled & ready for storage. After trimming a specific strain, I pull the kief from the lower portion of the Trim Bin & put it into a small, sealed glass jar & into the refrigerator for later use.

I have found no need to burp my jars, for by the time I trim, they have already cured long enough in my bins there is no worry of excess moisture. If you are trimming immediately after the initial drying & placing the flowers directly into glass jars, you will want to burp them daily for a couple weeks, making sure there is no condensation forming on the inside of the jar, or the smell of ammonia, indicating too much retained moisture!

Quick note on the Boveda humidity packs…. I’ve used them for the past few years & they are amazing! I have read internet reviews from others, stating the Boveda zapped all the flavor & aroma from their flowers. I have not found this to be true for me. If anything, they have helped my flowers maintain the most wonderful, dry softness, keeping them fresh & aromatic! I still have cannabis saved from last year’s harvest, still in impeccable condition having been stored with such care. As long as your cannabis is stored in sealed jars, in a dark, very cool area, with optimal humidity, they can last for over a year, staying as potent as ever. 

For all of my growers out there, I wish you a most successful, abundant & super dank harvest! I say, no matter what happens, you always end up with something good, right?! Don’t let any challenges harsh your gig, don’t ever give up & where there is a will there is ALWAYS a way. The lessons you have learned this season will make you an even better grower for the next!

If you have any questions, or special harvest hacks of your own, please share them with me! If this article has helped you, please kindly leave me a review! Your feedback is so appreciated. Thank you so much for your support of The Garden Love!!

Happy harvest my friend,


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!! Get it my friends!!


The Garden Love

The first sunflower of the season! Sunflowers are easy to grow in a sunny, warm location. The more room they have for their roots, the bigger they can grow!
Leave the seed heads on as they dry to feed the birds.
“Armenian Cucumber” – or “Yard Long Cucumber” – the first veggies of the season! In purchasing the start, it was labeled “Japanese Cucumber”…so often in the garden we get surprises! Turned out to have the most non-bitter, crisp, fresh flavor & the family loves them!

I almost talked myself out of this. I actually killed a whole day wondering in my head, “what in the actual F do you think YOU are doing gardener girl!!??” In truth, I have no actual idea at all what I am doing. I have no idea how this blog thing even works! I just have to dive in – or “DIG IN” in my case (hahaha) – and make it happen. So here it goes, raw, messy & misshapen, so perfectly imperfect. Please stick with me, ’cause I know me, I’ve got some wacky ideas & it’s going get really fun up in here.

My 6th season growing outdoor cannabis & it continues to feel so rewarding, helping others grow healthy, organic, natural medicine. Every year there is weather, unforeseen surprises, new concepts to be learned, systems to be tweaked & new experiments.

Before I just bust right in on how to easily grow the best tomatoes or my simple tips for re-blooming Orchids (yes, you can!) I’ll share a little about me & my why. Basically, I just HAVE to grow things. I can’t help it. I’ve never had something fill me with more joy than growing plants. And I figure, when you find something in life that you just HAVE to do, no matter what, no matter where you are, no matter how much money do or don’t have…you need to go ALL IN. I truly believe that enjoying what you do, every day, is the epitome of EVERYTHING because after all, your day-to-day is your whole dang life!! I know, deep already right?!

There are many reasons why I want to share The Garden Love with you. One, this is about WAY more than just gardening. It’s about connecting with the earth, it’s about really listening. Its about leaving this earth better than it was when you entered it. It’s about growing each day a better YOU. It’s about legacy, tradition, family & community. For me, I want most to help others grow & enjoy the gifts of growing for themselves. Whether it’s your first plant, your first vegetable garden, or your 60th year in farming… I love growing with you. The healing, peace & “oneness” that comes from this simple exchange of time between people & nature as it is meant to be…. just freaking rocks me.

Gardening always feels like a wide-open, glorious, never ending stretch of possibilities with so many benefits! There is nothing like nurturing a plant, watching it grow & come to fruit or flower. I love my plants like they are my children. (Sometimes more, plants don’t talk back. haha) If you have never grown a plant & swear you can’t, this is for you! Garden lovers, plant lovers, fans of being outdoors or bringing the outdoors in, this is for YOU! Do you prefer natural health & growing your own organic food, herbs & remedies! This is for you!! Cannabis growers in the hiiizzzouse!??!! Can I get hands in the air!?! My people! THIS IS DEFINITELY FOR YOU!

For the past 6 years I have really dug in deep. I have made mistakes & have learned many lessons the good old fashioned way, through trial & error. I’ve committed…. plant murder! Yes, I have loved plants to death. I have battled pests, fungus, disease & seeded hay. (haha, funny story) I’ve been a volunteer for my local county Master Gardener program & worked at a specialty hydroponic & garden supply store, absorbing every oz. of information & weed* I could. (*Just seeing if you were paying attention!) I have to say the wins have far outweighed the losses. I have grown fresh food for my family, neighbors & friends! This alone has been a magical feeling! I’ve grown herbs to cook & heal with! I have helped others grow their own medical remedies & I don’t think anything compares to that. I’ve visited & worked with others in gardens that just blow me away – the talent & passion for our earth just so undeniable, so fervent, I hope some rubs off on me just being in their presence. But what has truly been having me feeling ALL THE FEELS is helping others grow, in their very own space, whatever that may look like. I flip when people send me photos of their plants, excited & filled with pride on how far they have come. When they tell me they’ve eaten their first tomato – that they grew themselves! – & it was the best they had ever had. When they share they just harvested their first cannabis flower for their ailing mother & she finally has natural relief she can afford…. ALL THE FEELS right there.

With the awareness of natural medicine on the high rise & the promise of living one’s best life free from pain – without dangerous, addicting pharmaceuticals – I am proud to be a steward of Mother Nature & her gifts.

Recently, I hit a killer roadblock & enjoyed a big ole CTJ moment. (come to Jesus) I found myself trying to carve out more & more time each day to repeat answers to common questions that kept sliding into my email & DM’s. Being a Mom of two rowdy boys, working & managing my gardens, I was struggling to make the time to best help others & I was failing. I felt anxious, stuck & crummy, feeling like I was serving my fellow gardeners really half assed. And then, it happened. A beautiful, moment of utter selflessness I will NEVER forget.


Wait! What?? Whoa, we missed something… let’s back up. In the past 6 months I had been working for my husband, managing the office for his construction business. It was working out super & I have to admit, I am crazy good at office work except for one small problem… that I am not at all an office person. I hate it. How I put it is, “I’m like a plant. I need sun & air to grow. Sitting in a boring office…I wither & DIE.” I had done great for six months, but the pull to the garden was getting stronger & I was feeling so trapped. I suppose my anxious disconnect was showing as hard as I tried for it not to. I’m sure the constant nudging to my husband that it was time to train my replacement was a sign as well. Well, one morning, out of the blue, a simple work discussion turned into a big fight about nothing related to nothing, feelings escalated & in the heat of it – BOOM! I was FIRED! I felt bad…for a little while. I mean, you’re supposed to feel bad when you get fired right?? But I realized I only felt bad because I DIDN’T feel bad. Instead, I felt freaking GREAT!!! Like the pinhole of light at the end of my current, dark tunnel had just burst wide open & I could see gardens for miles!! He had set me FREE. It was the coolest thing he’s ever done for me at his own expense. He set me free to do ME & I love him ever more for that.

So, here I am, fired from my job (lol) & typing away with no idea how to post on this blog page, but I will get there. I am to the moon excited & I have so much to share with you!! Get your garden gloves on, it’s time to get down & dirty!

Welcome friends, to The Garden Love!

Please leave me a comment & tell me about your plants! Don’t have a plant yet?! Tell me what you’re dreaming of. We will find one perfectly suited, just for you. XO

5 Tips for a Successful Cannabis Flowering Season

Let’s Nip Harvest In the Bud!!

Part One

I realized I had quite a bit to share, oh, 7 pages in. So, we’ll make this a two parter. This is juicy information yo! I have found what has granted me awesome results year after year, while growing with integrity for the plant & the earth, while also being physically possible for me & light on my bank account!

Look at these lovely baby cannabis flowers! Now is the time to be extra vigilant, for the entire idea is keep these flowers as healthy & safe as possible through harvest.

As soon as the calendar flips from July to August, in my area in Northern California, the outdoor grown cannabis begins to bloom. The long days begin to shorten, signaling that it is time to flower. Cannabis is a photoperiod plant. Meaning, they are able to sense changes in the night length, in this case, night becoming longer. When growing cannabis indoors, we would manually make this shift, changing the light cycle from the vegetative schedule of 18/6 to a flowering schedule of 12/12. (12 hours of light & 12 hours of night)

I’ve noticed a pattern strike new growers in the second half of the season that makes me sad. Not planning properly for flowering & harvest. It reminds me of having a baby. You spend 9 months pregnant, reading books about being pregnant, friends sharing stories about pregnancy, all of hte pregnancy info is flowing. And then you have the baby. And suddenly, you feel like Make sure you are planning & preparing for how you will finish off the season ahead of time. Not having a plan is the worst plan of all. It’s time to be proactive vs. reactive.

5 things that will ensure harvest success:

  • Support – No Broken Branches!
  • Nutrients – Bloom Targeted Plant Food
  • IPM – Prohibit Pests, Disease & Fungus Until Harvest
  • Drying Space – Safely & Slowly Dry Harvested Flowers
  • Storage & Curing – Storing & Aging Your Buds for Optimal Results – Like Fine Wine!

Support Your Girls

At this time your plants may have gotten pretty dang big. Maybe waaay larger than you thought they would. (I know, feel the pride, you deserve it, they are HUUUGE, pat yourself on the back!) For those of you who started seeds in February or earlier, I hope you have an orchard ladder! Because I’m a petite gal & grow in semi-urban/rural environments, I need to not only keep my plants at a respectful height, but be able to see all over each plant without killing myself on a wobbly ladder. I need to be able to make necessary health checks, keep an eye out for pests & watch those flowers closely to omit any caterpillars or bud rot. (My lovely husband fell off a small ladder while helping me trellis overly tall girls a couple years ago & broke his arm, it happens!) Toward the end of every season we will have a storm, with wind &/or rain & I don’t want to lose a bud laden branch or an entire plant to the weather. Getting that far in the season & finding sticky, broken branches caked with the mud they fell into really makes me want to cry. So, I save my ladies by making sure they are supported.

6″ square trellis netting is my absolute favorite! Notice the individual branches lovingly cradled within each square of mesh. They aren’t going ANYWHERE & that is what I want.

Adding support to your plants & their branches can be done in different ways. Back in the day, we caged them with bamboo tied with green tape, some support structures on large gals getting pretty labor intense. I think bamboo is a great option, for staking up smaller, independent plants, independent branches or plants in containers.

This grow used individual bamboo stakes to support each plant within their pots. For smaller plants, especially in an enclosed environment such as this without worry of rain or wind, this simple method can work great.

I’ve seen cattle fencing wrapped around each plant, & although a great, super sturdy option, it was way too heavy & too pricey for me. I also had nowhere to store it all for the next year. My favorite option so far has been trellis netting. I find it clean, simple, inexpensive & easy to use! Other reasons I love it: 

  • Supports branches laden with buds from breaking with weight
  • Can support entire plants during high winds or rainy weather
  • Can help train tall plant limbs below fence lines
  • Help keep plants more manageable to care for at your height
  • Can adjust the spacing of the limbs within the netting, opening up the canopy for more sunlight & air flow
  • No mold or mildew issues
  • Recyclable at the end of season
Check out all these happy “Pennywise” buds poking from their trellis! I prefer a sturdy & snug trellis, anchored by poles mounted close the the plant.

I prefer the 6” square netting in lightweight, plastic mesh. It comes in a variety of sizes & I can cut it to fit my needs. You can find it at your local garden center or online by different manufacturers. Often, we need to get inventive for our situation. I have never seen an outdoor grow, no matter if one plant or 50, that ever had the same situation as another. Not everyone works in rows or with raised beds…we work with the space we are granted & make it work for us. You could be growing in a sunlit corner on a back deck or in pots on your patio. You could have a plant or three tucked into different corners of your yard. The best support for your girls may take some imagination & maybe a combination of options, but should definitely be a top priority.

My two favorite ways to use trellis center around initial plant placement. I prefer raised beds or directly in ground, but also work with pots over open ground (I do not have the depth available to build soil) in short, easy to manage rows.

These super lanky “Gelato” ladies really benefited from the support. This specific plant has already lost a few lower branches due to lack of initial, internal support. I generally like to start with tomato cages to anchor the weight where the branches extend from the plant, adding strength at the base of each branch as it grows.
We lost a few here, but no more!
By wrapping the trellis around the poles we create a light, flexible “cage”. The entire plant is supported & I can still squeeze my arms inside & get inside up under the canopy.

When growing in raised beds, I insert 4 super tall posts attached to steel stakes into the ground around the plant in a square, the poles as close to touching the plant as possible. Using a staple gun or zip ties & the help of my husband, we wrap the trellis snugly around the poles, around the plant, creating a “cage”. This allows me to get my trellis super close to the plant & gently pull the branches through the squares at the sides, giving them individual support & a place to rest. I attach the trellis high enough on the posts that I can still easily climb up under it & reach the base of my plant. High enough on the posts that it reaches close to the top of the plant. I also like to attach a piece of netting at the top, coming down in a snug square over each corner post, to secure the top & center branches.

A row of “Key Lime Pie” in the back & one of my all time favorite strains, “Gamechanger” in the front. Man, that Gamechanger was an early harvest beast!! Without support the heavy branches would surely have snapped. I started with trellis early enough to layer it horizontally as the plants grew. I could adjust the branch spacing to allow for air flow & extra sunlight through the canopy. I loved just sitting underneath in the cool green.
“Gelato” branches gently pulled through the trellis squares to rest. When the top branches get too tall, I can actually, very gingerly, bend them over and tuck them under the netting. They bend through & continue to twist & grow upwards toward the sun while allowing more sunlight into the top of the canopy & maintaining a manageable height.

My second favorite method is planting in rows. In regard to trellising, it makes the application super easy. Using the same tall poles attached to steel stakes, we pound them into the ground intermittently down the row, as close to the plants as possible & evenly spaced, with two poles at each end. We can then attach the trellis at one end, unraveling & wrapping the trellis down one side of the row, around the poles at the end, all the way down the other side until closing the loop at the end we started on. One, long “cage”. If you really plan ahead, starting when they are still babies, you can attach the netting in a horizontal layer, allowing the plant to grow up through it, cradling the branches with each individual layer added throughout growth.

A friend’s well done greenhouse grow will multiple, horizontal layers of trellis in place as the plants grow up through it.

If you do not have posts & steel stakes or the ground to set them, you can simply – very gingerly – drape a net over the top of your plant, over each top branch, allowing it to hang down the sides. You can then weave the side branches up into the squares, the plant inadvertently helping support itself. To give it a bit of extra strength, if you can, create a bamboo “tee-pee” inside the plant, anchoring the stalk with three bamboo stakes tied with green tape. Voila! Regardless of how it looks or how it goes together, having some support, in any way, is better than having none!

Any support is better than no support! Without a pole & stake to anchor the sides, we draped the trellis loosely, right over the plant, allowing some of the branches to self-support. My Type-A goes cray cray over this, for I like snug, even squares! But, I know it’s not about looks, it’s ALL about function & saving those branches!.
I love this photo, for the operators at this grow just did EVERYTHING. They really weren’t taking any chances! There are bamboo stakes on every branch, wire cage surrounding each plant AND trellis netting across the greenhouse.

Nutrition – Feeding for Bloom

Flower is underway & the clock is ticking! Calendaring the start date of flower for each strain you are growing is very important. This allows you to prepare for the potential harvest date, giving you 8-12 weeks until flower maturity. Within this next 8-12 weeks we want to make sure our plants have the nutrients they need to stay as healthy & resilient as possible, producing the best versions of the flower they are genetically geared to produce! Now, I organically amend my soil on a regular basis throughout the season & know it contains plenty of nutrients. I could just use water & roll with it, but I want to ensure I’m giving my girls the opportunity to be the absolute best they can be. It makes ME feel good! I also know that large cannabis plants get hungry, especially in pots, & lacking magnesium in bloom is common so I want to set my ladies up for success. Knowing this, I top dress at the start of flower with a natural, organic, dry fertilizer with a lower Nitrogen count & mix in some langbeinite, a “naturally mined crystalline mineral providing the water-soluble sulfate form of potassium, magnesium and sulfurs.” I love Vermicrop Organics “VermiBloom” 3-10-5 Fruit & Flower alongside Down to Earth’s water soluble langbeinite. I then add a nice 1” layer of quality compost. Compost helps naturally balance the soil PH, helps retain water & adds nutrients as it breaks down. Lastly, I sprinkle a generous amount of 100% Insect Frass (poop) 2-2-2 that helps keep pests at bay. I add this around the base of my plants as a natural insect deterrent that also adds nutrients.I LOVE a multitasker!! When using dry nutrients such as these, applied in this fashion, they need to be added with enough time in advance of when you want your plants to receive the nutrients. Dry amendments take time to break down & become available to the plant. I’ve noticed it can take about two weeks (longer for others depending on the ingredients in the blend & brand!), because I can generally see the rush of health in the plant when it kicks in. So wild! Given the wait time after application, planning WHEN you add nutrients in this manner is very important for maximum benefit. If I am flowering an 8 week strain, I anticipate my girls will be getting the good stuff by week 2, right when they really need it, through the end of flower. In addition to these nutrients, I water with a liquid compost tea every two weeks. The compost tea adds a small amount of nutrients easily absorbed by the plant immediately, while helping break down the organic matter & fertilizer in the soil, making it available to the plants. I love organic amendments for I prefer to feed my soil & use it again & again. My soil really seems to get even better year after year! Another super cool reason to roll organic!? NO NEED TO FLUSH! When using synthetic nutrients, one must flush – feed ONLY with water – for the last couple weeks. I can honestly tell when synthetic nutes are used & not adequately flushed (even then I feel I can still tell). The flavor & aroma are altered, showing what I call the mouth puckering “hairspray effect”. The soil doesn’t love it either, as synthetics can leave salt residues in the soil that can burn your plants. Chemicals, just yuck.

IPM – Integrated Pest Management

Wait, what?!?

“IPM is a process to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people & the environment…an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, & use of resistant (plant) varieties. Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, & treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and nontarget organisms, and the environment.”

– UC California Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Basically, IPM is using natural prevention & environmental methods safe for the humans, pets & wildlife within the habitat, prior to jumping in bed with environmentally damaging pesticides. Even when using a pesticide is the last resort, it should be chosen with utmost care, all things considered.

See the little, white “balloons” floating off the leaf surface?! These are Green Lacewing eggs! Lacewings are beneficial insects that eat the ‘bad guys”. Be sure to learn the beneficials in addition to learning about your common pests. Support the beneficials to maintain a natural balance in the ecosystem without pesticides.

I have been growing in my specific environments for years & I have learned the hard way which pests & disease are problematic to me & why. A “pest” can take many forms depending on where you are located… from deer & voles to aphids or the dreaded russet mite. (Just writing it makes my skin crawl!) There are many factors that affect what you may be up against – your weather (temperature, humidity), the surrounding vegetation, air flow & overall health of the plant play key roles. Learning your environment & microclimates can take some time, close attention & research to see the patterns. Planning for pest & disease control is key when looking to harvest a healthy crop & – I’ll say it again – we need to be proactive instead of reactive. When faced with what may feel like an infestation, & we all as gardeners have been there, resist the urge to react with drastic sprays & instead take a deep breath. There are other options worth trying first & our goal is to grow healthful medicine. As we head into flower, the fact that we are “in flower” presents it own limitations when dealing with pests. Spraying the buds? That can get real dicey & I look to avoid it, with one exception I’ll share in a minute.

Keep the bugs off the nugs! My suggestions for preventive & proactive IPM:

  • Get a jewelers loupe. If you don’t yet have one, get one now, it will be your best friend. A tiny, inexpensive magnifying glass. I get mine at Growbiz, it even has a tiny light. I keep mine on a lanyard & it goes into the gardens with me at all times. I have to wear reader glasses (that’s like double magnification lol!)  so I put them on & look through my loupe, in the sun, for my best visibility. If I find a leaf with damage, I’ll usually pluck it from the plant to best observe it. If just checking the plant randomly, the loupe allows me to view undersides of leaves without removing them, although I may really have to crawl around. 
I usually buy a few of these at the start of every season. They are cheap & mandatory for me. You can see the resin on the loupe from where my fingers touch it, it is used so often when hands on in the garden.
  • Pay close, close attention EVERY DAY. It’s one of the reasons I still love hand watering even with drip lines installed… I get to spend the one on one time looking closely through my plants! By looking closely, I mean get up in that big mama!! Look under the leaves, crawl on the ground underneath if you have to! If you see tiny yellow spotting on your leaves, something is eating it. Most bothersome insect pests (to cannabis) thrive on the undersides of leaves & suck the life juices from the leaf leaving a “stippling”, a yellow, spotted appearance. Mites, thrips & whiteflies cause this type of damage. If you see this, pull out your loupe, check the undersides of the leaf & try to find the culprit. Other signs are tiny black dots near the damage – insect poop! (Yes, they poop where they eat, yo.) If you notice a shiny, snail like slime called “honeydew”, aphids are notorious for excreting this & it will cause black mold to form on leaves or groups of ants to hoard it. If you see a team of ants heading somewhere on your plant, follow them! They will likely lead you to something. Another pain in the butt for me during flower is caterpillars. Oh, they get me in my area! When in the midst of flowering, moths like to lay their eggs on the sweet tips of the flowers, which equals caterpillars eating your buds & causing rotten spots!! (I always imagine them really stoned & looking like the Alice in Wonderland version lol!) Ah, I joke, but there is nothing more horrible than admiring a huge, stunning cola for weeks only to one day see a big, brown, gooey rotten spot where the caterpillar has eaten out the inside, creating a nasty little rotten poop cave & ruining the entire cola. Booo all over that!! Pay close attention, all over, all the time!
Stippling damage on cannabis leaves. This is a tell tale sign of thrips, sucking the juices from your leaves. Investigate carefully & get to know your enemy!
This photo has a few things happening all at once! We have adult aphids on the left. The tiny, oval, glossy black eggs? Aphid eggs. And right there in the center, suspended in the air on a tiny thread, a little, white Green Lacewing egg. Green Lacewings are beneficial & seeing these eggs is a GOOD SIGN.
  • Know your enemy! It can be tough to determine exactly what you are looking at when finding a culprit under your loupe glass. This is where the research comes in. Yep, you are also a freaking scientist! For common pests of cannabis check out www.growweedeasy.com. I have loved this site’s straightforward & easy to understand information for years. For more scientific information about the pests themselves, their life cycles & environmental controls, check out http://ipm.ucanr.edu/index.html. If anything, Google “common cannabis pests” & get a good idea of who they are & what they look like. Knowing exactly what you are up against will help you determine what natural measures are necessary to manage the specific pest. Knowing your enemy will help you adjust the environment accordingly & in preparation. For example, a few years ago I found a few spider mites on a plant at the end of a row. I felt like it was a zombie infestation & could barely even sleep, wanting nothing but to blast them all to hell…but I maintained control! I researched spider mites & learned that they love hot, dusty, dry conditions, so I adjusted the environment to make it more uncomfortable for them. I’d mist under the plant & up under the lower leaves EVERY morning, sometimes again later in the day, to rinse the undersides of the leaves & keep the humidity up. That really stalled them out. I also purchased some beneficial mites, specifically those that thrive in my hot weather conditions & love eating spider mites. Within a week I was in the clear. It was so cool & I didn’t have to kill off every living organism in sight to make it happen. Whew! Needless to say, I now mist up under my plants almost everyday when it is dry, hot & dusty & it keeps the little zombies at bay all season.
  • Stock up on BT! Caterpillars – my one exception to spraying in flower explained. 

First off, what is BT? BT, or bacillus thuringiensis, is a naturally occurring toxin used as an organic pesticide that ONLY affects caterpillars. It’s an organic spray with a quick break down period. 

Bt is a microbe naturally found in soil. It makes proteins that are toxic to immature insects (larvae). Bt makes toxins that target insect larvae when eaten. In the caterpillar’s gut, the toxins are activated. The activated toxin breaks down their gut, and the insects die of infection and starvation. Death can occur within a few hours or weeks.The different types of Bt create toxins that can only be activated by the target insect…”

– National Pesticide Information Center

Covering your plants with insect netting is an option to keep the moths from laying eggs on your flowers, but it doesn’t work well for me. You can spend hours each morning & evening picking them off – which I do, but sometimes I miss seeing the camouflaged little stinks. BT is inexpensive, super effective & has a quick break down period of a week or less. It can be sprayed often with no ill effects on the environment or the buds when sprayed at the right time of day, when they can easily dry out, at the right time in the flowering period. I find that spraying every two weeks is sufficient for me (3 times in the season) & I hold off on using anything at all during the last few weeks, going back to the pick off method to avoid overly wetting really dense buds, especially if the weather has become cool & moist. I do throw out a few flowers each year from caterpillar damage, but the loss is so minimal when prepared.

  • Get to know your weather patterns during this phase of the season. If you have lived in the area you are growing in for many years, you likely have a good idea what changes occur within August to the end of October. Really think about it – When does it get cooler? When does it get rainy, or does it get really humid? Do areas of your garden lose sunshine with the transition of the season, leaving an area now cast longer in shade? If you are new to gardening your area, your specific climate & microclimates may pose some surprising challenges if you don’t plan ahead. Do some research to see what is typical weather for you during the weeks of flower. Depending on the strains you are growing, some may be harvested earlier while others will need to wait, making those late plants more susceptible to fall weather induced problems. One thing I do every year is keep a log. A journal, a calendar, whatever works best for you. I tend to do both. On my calendar I note when flowering begins & the anticipated harvest dates for each strain. These dates are not finite, especially given the lack of some information out there & obscure strains, but they give me an idea of what to prepare for. (Yep, you are also a meteorolgist!) I log the weather patterns from previous years & what I noticed, such as; When was it over 100 degrees? What insects were present during the season? Was there anything specific that posed an issue & why? How can it be avoided next year? Through my research, I can step ahead of disease, fungus or specific pests the weather caters to.
I make notes in my calendar at the beginning of every year, transferring what I have learned from the previous years. I am an old school pencil & paper girl, but your phone notes, your computer, a journal… every type of documentation works & you’ll be so glad you did it.

What I know from taking notes:

  • I know that in August the days begin to get shorter. Slowly we will ease into September, with earlier dusk & nightfall which delays moisture evaporation in areas that would otherwise dry out quickly.
  • I know that it tends to stay warm well through October, but more humid at times.
  • I know that the caterpillars become an issue every single year when flowering begins, causing rotten “poop caves” in the buds.
  • I know that we always have a storm. We have days when temperatures drop significantly. I have multiple years noted with rain & high winds within the first week or two in October! Better have support!
  • I know that aphids tend to pop up in September & October. Some really like cooler temperatures & higher humidity. Be diligent in checking under leaves & up inside the canopy of each plant.
  • I know that earlier sunsets cause some plants to be cast in more shade later in the day than usual. This, in addition to cooler temperatures, moisture in the air & terrible air circulation can cause powdery mildew to blossom. Time to trim up & clean out the inner/ lower canopy of each plant & add an outdoor fan in the area that needs better circulation. (I use an old, rotating stand fan with an extension cord, yes outside, no joke.)
  • I know that any plant infected with botrytis (bud rot) will begin to show with added moisture in the environment.

To be continued….

Part 2 coming up next!

I know you are on the edge of your seat!!! In the short meantime, make sure your girls are supported, you have a nutrient plan in place (if needed) & your IPM awareness is ON! And, if you have any questions thus far or helpful hints to share, please hit me up at jennybee698@icloud.com or drop a comment here. Comments, feedback & topic suggestions are SOOO appreciated! Thank you for your support of The Garden Love!! 💚

*If you find that adjusting cultural controls & trying natural methods are just not getting the job done, you’ve tried everything to no avail & you’re ready for a heavy hitter lest you lose your entire crop, check the California Department of Agriculture for what is OK & what is NOT OK to use on cannabis. https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/cannabis/questions.htm Confirm the exact pest you are treating for & be aware that some pesticides, while eradicating one pest, can alter your environment allowing another to thrive creating another problem! 

Roadie says, “HIGH!”