What is meant by flushing, drying and curing?

If you smoke cannabis, you may have noticed there are times when your flowers break down easily and are suitable for rolling; and when you roll it up, first light it, it tastes like the plant smells. It burns easily, it doesn’t go out and the ash from your smoke is gray — all of these are good signs.

On the other hand, you might find it necessary to cut up your buds with a grinder or scissors. Because it’s so sticky it won’t come apart, and when you roll it and light it, it doesn’t taste like it smells. As you smoke it, you may find you need to keep relighting it. And the ash is black. What’s up with that?

As with all my posts, this is just my experience, and what I’m about to suggest is strictly my personal attitude towards dealing with the cannabis plant. I’m open to discussing other methods and grateful for this medium that allows us to discuss diverse ideas.

This is part one of a three-part series on what i find to be best practices for flushing, harvesting and curing.

Flushing

Before harvest, I like to take a fresh green sun leaf off of the plant and chew on the stem. It should taste like water that is sweet, with the flavor and smell of the plant when the flowers are cured. If there is any other taste, there are nutrients or amendments that it took up into its flesh and are still present in the plant.

This is one reason why we only use water once the plant is in the ground. At harvest the plant is full of sugars from photosynthesis. If you remember high school biology class, photosynthesis is the process of making sugar from sunlight and the plant offers these sugars to microorganisms in the soil in exchange for the food those microorganisms can give the plants.

Ideally, three or four weeks before harvest you have stopped using additional nutrients in the soil. Depending on how nutrient-saturated the soil is and how well it drains, the plant will use the surplus nutrients that are in the soil during that time. I expect our plants to start yellowing at the end of the life cycle because they have used up the nitrogen that is in the root zone food web system.

If someone is using nutrients or amendments that are long lasting, such as worm castings or feather meal, persistent nutrients are hard to flush out of the soil. Ideally, even a month from harvest you would stop using nutrients. So on the day of harvest, when she tells you she is ready to leave the garden, she is free from other tastes.

It’s important that there is no extra taste in the plant’s juice or stem when you chew on it. Those tastes don’t go away with the water when the plant dries. Those nutrients will be present and affect the flavor and taste.

It’s common for people to feed up until the last couple of days before harvest and buy a jug of some preparation that is supposed to “clean out” the surplus nutrients in the plants. I have found this doesn’t work. And if it does, where does all the waste nutrients that you leached out go to? And why did you buy and apply the now surplus nutrients in the first place that you are now trying to flush out of your plants?

I know farmers are conservative by nature so do an experiment: try this suggestion with a few of your plants and see if you notice any difference in finished weight and in taste.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series.