Months and months of hard work can be ruined if you fail to properly dry and cure your crop. While it might seem that once you cut, you’re done, the truth is that the most critical times in the production cycle have just begun. Once the plant is severed from its roots, the decaying process begins. How you handle your plant during the next days and weeks will determine how your finished product turns out. Knowing how to dry bud properly is crucial in these final stages.
Choosing Between a Wet or Dry Trim
There are many different techniques on drying and curing but, in the end, there are best practices that should be adhered to in order to maximize your results. Immediately after harvest, one decision you will have to make is whether or not you will employ a wet or dry trim. This decision will impact how you dry and cure your cannabis. If you are doing a wet trim, you can pretty much skip the drying process which will take place after all your nugs are shaped. If you are doing a dry trim, you will absolutely need to prepare your cannabis and allow it to lose a certain percentage of water before you get started.
The Purpose of Hooking and Defanning
For the purposes of this article, we will discuss the post-harvest prepping for a dry trim. Once a plant has been cut down, the first stage of processing is hooking and defanning. Hooking is the breaking down of the whole plant into segments that can easily be hung using hooks left behind from the angle you cut the stalk. After the plant is hooked, it can then be defanned. Defanning is the removal of large fan leaves that helps to expose the sugar leaf closest to the bud. This process leaves you with fairly uniform, single stalks lined with buds ready to be hung and dried.
How to Dry Bud Efficiently Through Maintaining Temperature
Once you are ready to hang your prepped stalks, the key is ensuring that your dry room conditions are perfect. Temperature and humidity levels must be kept within range or else the result could be catastrophic. Drying marijuana under the wrong conditions can lead to excessive moisture and mold or an extremely dry and damaged product. The best way to think about it is that you want to maintain the same temperatures in the garden as in your dry room. Temperatures should remain at 65-76 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity should stay at around 45-55%. After about a week or so, you should find that your stems should snap instead of bend. Then you know you are ready for the next step.
Benefits of Stalk Drying
Understanding how to dry bud on the stalk has its benefits as many of the compounds and essential oils found in the stem migrate outward and into the buds as the drying process moves forward. The proof of this lies in the fact that the stems are far more brittle after drying has occurred while the buds retain the moisture and oils necessary for a good finished product. Most people don’t realize how important the post-harvest process is, yet it ultimately determines the quality of your finished product. After drying, you will move onto trimming and curing, which we will cover later in this series on cannabis post-production.