Drying and Curing Instructional

  • Good morning everyone! So I spent the day installing and upgrading a new add-on for AFN that effects our vendor and breeder forums. It's the same setup that we are using on High of the Tiger, but we didn't realize it would effect members a bit differently here on how it's been received.

    The major benefit of the add-on is that it allows breeders/vendors a global calendar (that they add their own events to,) a group media gallery, group discussion area, an information/about tab, and a few other goodies that should make the experience overall a better one.

    One major caveat to point out, the new groups (where you see the overlay) unfortuantely *REQUIRE* you to join them in order to post in them. This is done by design of the software (and I understand why,) however it's been requested to see if we can circumvent this somehow. I will inquire to the developer to see if it's an option available or one that can be added to future versions. So to be clear, you MUST JOIN the group to be able to post and reply, even if your existing threads were there before. We apologize for this minor inconvenience but it's a one-time deal and then it's back to business :-)
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Cannabis Seeds

Did this help you understand drying / curing better?

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JM

Ethical Farming & Ferts Guru
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But before I begin... Yes it's very similar to the one found elsewhere on another forum* (see bottom of article for more explanation)

Here we go!

You've had a good grow, and it's time for harvest.
You've flushed like you're supposed too (depending on your system anywhere from 4-12 days maybe longer). Trim the way you prefer. I trim all the fan leaves. I like to leave the sweet leaf on (sweet leaves are the small leaves that look like they have been sprinkled with sugar) as I don't want to handle the buds too much or too long plus the sweetleaf will curl as it dries & protect those precious trichromes. Chop those ladies down. I chop the whole plant at it's base.

I recommend getting assistance in trimming.
An assistant like this makes the trimming much more bearable!



I hang/line dry until the stem is dry but still flexs/bends a bit. Now there's lots of debate as far as how long to dry for. For the most part, this rule of thumb seems to work: for every 10% in Relative Humidity (RH%) in your drying area add 1 day then add 1 more day to that total. For example, my drying area's RH% is usually about 30% so according to the "formula", dry for 3 full days (1 day for each 10%) plus 1 additional day for a total of 4 full days. Now if your RH% fluctuates high, you might need to add an additional day. This formula has worked well for me just about everywhere in the world except in those places where it's very humid (talking like 90%+ RH), such as South Pacific islands and the Northwestern United States (Seattle, etc...). Preferably you have a drying closet or box where you can regulate the humidity. The preferred RH% for drying is around 50% so according to the formula, 6 days of drying.

Now some prefer to snip off one branch at a time, trim & hang-dry each branch individually. I have to track actual number of plants so it's easier to keep the whole plant together as one for me.

Drop those lovely buds into a jar.
My preference is half-gallon Ball mason canning jars, easily found at Ace Hardware (can be ordered online with free shipping to your local Ace in the States - they run out a lot but be patient & try again in a week or two).



Fill each jar up evenly but don't over-stuff. If you hold the jar horizontal, there should be a gap roughly an inch or so - enough room to slide the hygrometer in.

What's a hygrometer?
It's used to measure relative humidity percentage. There are analog & digital ones. I prefer & recommend digital. The two I like are: the Chaney Indoor Thermometer w/Humidity and the Caliber 3 Hygrometer. Both fairly inexpensive (should be less than $20 each), both are pretty accurate.
Here's the Chaney one (sometimes it has a different brand name such as Accu-Rite but it will look just like this)



And here's the Caliber III



So now you just slide the hygrometer in (make sure it's facing out so you can view it, dumbass LOL
). Tighten that lid down and put it where you normally cure your stuff. I recommend placing in a cool dark place.

NOTE: Not every jar needs a hygrometer in it. I use just one per harvest per strain.

After a couple of hours has passed (takes a bit to get an accurate reading, give it at least 2-4 hrs). Take a look at the RH% reading.

If more than +70% - buds need to dry longer out of the jar. For me, for about every 5% over 70, equals about 10-12 hours outside of jar - but that's different depending on time of year, outside weather, etc... Typically about 12-36 hours more drying time is needed.

65-70% - getting really close to that sweet spot for curing. Keep it in the jars but burp them for a couple of hours, roughly 2-4 hours (meaning - take the lid off). Burp 'em, then close the lid, wait 4-6 hours, check RH%, burp again if needed, repeat as needed until you reach the next level. The closer you get to the next level the longer it takes to get an accurate reading, maybe even 12-24 hours. Basically, after every burp I add about 4-6 hours to the wait time between burps until I check again. Getting it down to the next level might take a week or more, and that's ok. The slower the better. Luckily here in Colorado we have low humidity. If in a higher humidity area, say along the coasts, I would want to speed it up just a bit to get to the next level as mold may become a factor

60-65% - this is the Curing stage range. Once we hit this range, keep things sealed unless we want to prepare it for long-term storage, then we'll need to SLOWLY lower down to the next stage. But if you just want to cure it, leave here in this range for a week and longer to cure. Buds should be slightly sticky. Stems should snap. The RH% may fluctuate a bit as moisture releases from the bud but it will dissipate/be reabsorbed. If this is for retail, I wait about 10-14 days into cure then bring samples to my dispensary buyers. Most dispensaries tend to like it closer to the 65% as it'll cure while it's on the shelf, plus it'll be stickier, look more appealing & that's what most people are looking for - bag appeal. Closer to 60% is better for smoking/vaping.
If it's for myself or my patients, I let it cure for at least 2 weeks to a month or more. I do take a bit out to try about once a week. Some of my patients like it a little moister than others as it takes a little longer to smoke. Others don't really care too much one way or the other but no one likes it if too moist or too dry/brittle. Now I also have been implementing those Boveda 65% packets to help keep things where I like it. After about a week of 65% or lower, I slip one of those Boveda 65% packets into the jar, at this point if you want to take the hygrometer out you can. I still burp about once a week or so for about an hour when using those packets, basically just to air out the released chlorophyll gases. I recommend dispensaries use these packets at night in their jars to keep things looking nice & sticky-icky for the next day.

For long term storage - once in this range (60-65), check weekly. If on the higher end, closer to 65, I still burp about every week just for an hour or so. As it slowly drops to 60%, I wait longer & longer between these short burps - we're talking days/weeks here folks not hours between these burps. Once it falls below 60, you have reached the next level. Takes me about 4-6 sometimes 8 weeks.

55-60% - Long term storage stage. I still leave the hygrometer in for about a couple of days/week, just to make sure it's leveled off (unless I have placed a Boveda 65% packet in, then I take the hygrometer out). Once it has leveled off, then I take the hygrometer out & seal the jar. I don't usually storage too much for long term usually just 1 jar per strain per harvest, unless it's just some incredible stuff and I want to be able to share it with long distance friends & family when they visit throughout the year.

If for some reason it reads under 55% - either you left it hanging to dry for too long with a fan blowing on it directly or too close to a heat source/vent or you might need to have a humidifier on a timer in the area you dry in (make sure it's not blowing the moisture directly on plants) OR maybe you just need to wait a little longer for your next reading. Wait 12-24 hours, and check again if still under 55 well you just learn a valuable lesson on how not to dry so quickly next time. It'll be shitty to smoke, guess you could grind it or tumble the heck out of it or maybe make tincture/butter/oil, vaping will probably be ok but smoking it is going to suck. But hey it takes experience, just learn from it....dumbass! LOL! You can re-hydrate a bit with either a Boveda pack (my recommendation) or with things like a bit of orange peel tossed into the jar. The smoke may mellow out & be smoke-able but it won't cure like it's supposed too. If you have never had properly cured cannabis - you're missing out!

Kinda hard to screw up as long as you don't over-dry to begin with. Have patience young jedi...

Enjoy that lovely properly cured dank!


I should note that some strains like a longer cure.
For example, I harvested some Sweet Tooth a few months back. Dried, Cured for several weeks. Tried it out. Didn't like it, and neither did my patients. Wasn't bad just a bit of a let down. I took what I had, tossed in a Boveda 65% pack, and sealed it. I placed it in the back of my long-term storage bin and basically forgot about it. I was putting some new jars in the bin the other day & noticed the Sweet Tooth jar. It had been in there now getting close to 6 months. I took a bit out to try. First of all, as soon as I opened the jar, a beautiful aroma filled my nostrils. Things were different now! I rolled a spliff and tried it out. Wow it went from being a disappointment to being incredible tasting!

The implementation of the Boveda packets is still fairly new and I've only used them on about 4-5 harvests so far. I'm working on a similar curing method, primarily using the different percentage packets. I have however slipped a 65% packet into each of my long-term storage jars. The 65% packets keep things between 60-63% which is where I prefer to vape/smoke at.




* Similar to Simon's on IShitMag but I can assure you I was doing this before I ever got involved with that thread. Reason I mention this - I shared the method on yet a different forum but was lazy (had just come off a looong overnight shift @ work) so I copied/pasted/edited from his thread on to that other forum as he had written it very well, straightforward and was basically similar to what I do. Why try to reinvent the wheel, right? I'm only supporting the threads here on this board concerning this method. The reasons why I even ever thought about coming up with a method like this is because back in the day I worked on tobacco farms in southern Maryland and so I learned a thing or two about tobacco curing. I took that knowledge & applied it to cannabis. It's taken trial & error, and many harvests to get it to where it is today. And yes it was nice to know that there were others around testing &coming up with similar results. But the idea is nothing new and has been used with tobacco for a loong time, just hadn't been applied/tested with cannabis as far as I keow. Sorry for the looong explanation but tired of dealing with the BS from some of the other cannabis forums around the net! Simon - If you want to compare journals, notes & pics, I'll gladly pull out mine. Most are handwritten as when I first started this - it was before digital cameras & before personal computers were as prominent as they have been in the last decade.
Attached Files
 

DuppySteps

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Jul 24, 2013
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Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge, a proper curing method is, to me at least, just as important and esoteric a factor for great weed after soil Ph. Greatly appreciated mate!:stylez rasta smoke: Also, I cant see the pictures either.
 

JM

Ethical Farming & Ferts Guru
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Jan 2, 2011
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More than welcome mates... :smokeit:

sorry the pics are missing... prob from some change that was made... I dont think I have originals anymore..

but you can look most of it up by the "attachment name" with a quick google search. :check: :smokeit:
 
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zaza

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Mar 11, 2013
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Hi guys I need help! I harvested a few days ago , one fast & vast ( large main cola thick as heck and a girl scout cookie cola long & thick .....I have it in tent at 65-70 degrees 45% humidity.....fan blowing gently not on colas of course....question is....should I break cola down to prevent any possible inside cola mold or should these conditions be ok for drying and not have to worry? Last grow we had weird weather that made me use a dehumidifier for 1st time and man did the buds really come out freaking awesome.......but now conditions seem to be great at moment but I want to be sure no mold will take over deep inside the colas since they are thick ? Thanks for any advice !
 

Grim Reefer

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Jan 28, 2013
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Hi guys I need help! I harvested a few days ago , one fast & vast ( large main cola thick as heck and a girl scout cookie cola long & thick .....I have it in tent at 65-70 degrees 45% humidity.....fan blowing gently not on colas of course....question is....should I break cola down to prevent any possible inside cola mold or should these conditions be ok for drying and not have to worry? Last grow we had weird weather that made me use a dehumidifier for 1st time and man did the buds really come out freaking awesome.......but now conditions seem to be great at moment but I want to be sure no mold will take over deep inside the colas since they are thick ? Thanks for any advice !
Hi @zaza
I always find braking the buds down into the smallest form is best when drying, it will certainly help prevent mold.