Posted on

when to harvest weed growing outdoors

When to harvest weed growing outdoors

Gloves are also great to keep your hands resin-free. If you don’t like trimming with gloves on, you can rub coconut or olive oil on your hands to prevent resin buildup.

It’s been months since that little weed sprout first popped out of the ground, or you put that delicate clone into some soil. You’ve watched your plants grow and mature, getting bigger and developing buds, and can’t wait to get those buds off the plant and light up.

The best way to tell if your marijuana plants are ready to harvest, both indoors and outdoors, is to look at:

As cannabis buds pack on weight and the season changes from summer to fall, there will be fluctuations in the weather. Depending on your climate, there might be cold snaps or rainstorms.

Clothes that can get dirty and sticky

But not so fast—harvesting isn’t just cutting down plants and trimming buds; you’ll also need to dry and cure buds before you can smoke them.

Similar to a cold snap, rain itself isn’t a huge problem, but the duration and severity of the storm is. If it’s going to warm up and dry out quickly, you can leave almost ripe cannabis to weather the storm. If the rain will be there to stay, mold awaits—cut your losses and harvest before things get soggy.

You can also just trim onto a flat table and put your finished buds in a bowl.

Learn more on harvesting weed

During their change from clear to opaque to amber, trichomes reach their maximum THC content. After that, they begin to break down due to exposure to oxygen and UV rays.

You may also want to invest in a larger pair of shears for cutting branches. Save the scissors for the more precise work.

When to harvest weed growing outdoors

For photoperiod plants, timing is everything. Photoperiod cannabis plants take their cue from Mother Nature (or more specifically the number of uninterrupted hours of darkness) to start flowering. As fall sets in and hours of darkness hit twelve per night, the plant will be triggered into its flowering stage.

Phases of growth and timing for outdoor growers

If you aren’t working with exclusively female plants, you’ll need to get rid of the males before they have a chance to pollinate the females (and wreck your harvest). “Even feminized seeds can have up to 10% males in the mix so it’s important to inspect your plants every day as they start to show their sex. Also important to note is that a stressed female plant can produce male branches or ‘hermaphrodites’, so even if you know she’s a girl, you have to check daily,” advised Sara Rotman, a veteran grower and founder of Wellfounded Botanicals.

Image lightbox

If you’re growing from seed, the first step in the life of your cannabis plant is germination. Once the seed has sprouted, it will immediately grow two little round leaves, called cotyledon leaves, that will be responsible for delivering energy to the seedling until it starts to grow the more familiar fan leaves we all know and love.

When to harvest weed growing outdoors

It’s a lot of upfront cost and effort, however, you shouldn’t have to use any other inputs over the course of the growth cycle. Do not plant a seed or clone directly into super soil. Start with just organic soil, and then transplant into super soil after the root base is strong.

Water is a very important component for outdoor cannabis cultivation. At first, when a cannabis plant is small, it does not require much water. However, as the cannabis plant grows and approaches harvest, it can require multiple gallons of water every day, especially on summer days when the temperature is really hot. Using a moisture meter device, which can be found at virtually every garden supply store, is a great idea to let you know when you need to water your plants.


Growing marijuana outdoors has many advantages compared to cultivating marijuana plants indoors, not the least of which is the lack of need for artificial lighting. With that being said, there are also some additional factors and hurdles that need to be considered and strategies developed to help mitigate any issues for outdoor plants.

Give strong consideration to creating a ‘super soil’ for use in your garden. The term ‘super soil’ was first coined by legendary cannabis cultivator Subcool. Sadly, Subcool has passed away since first blessing the cultivation community with his soil recipe. He may be gone, yet his legacy will endure forever via his popular recipe.

Water & Nutrients

Also, containers can be moved as needed, which is necessary to do from time to time. They are also easier when it comes to monitoring moisture. Fiber pots are recommended because they allow the root base to ‘breath’ better compared to plastic pots. The plants will be grown under the sun, so the bigger the container, the better.