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The Perfect Dry: How To Hang Your Harvest

Get the best tips on how to dry your crop. Get the best tips on how to dry your crop.


Drying your crop is a notorious failure point for many new growers (and some experienced ones, too). I have felt that burn several times myself. After two weeks of cloning, eight weeks of vegetative growth, and up to 12 weeks to flower, a poor job drying can leave you with hay-smelling, bad-tasting fruits or flowers that no one wants to sell or consume.

I have seen several people throw up their arms and quit, and it’s easy to see why. All that work out the window because the temperature was a bit off or the humidity was too low. Only the most dedicated growers seem to have the willpower to do it all again, hoping for a different result. But just hoping for a different result from the same action is the very definition of insanity. That’s why we’ll share with you what to do differently with your next crop when it comes to the drying process.

Fill the entire circular surface of each rack, but leave enough room so that the flowers are not touching.

There are a couple of different ways to drop your crop depending on the drying method you use. Some growers use drying nets, while others hang branches, or even hang the whole plant. All of these are viable options with different consequences.

Hanging the Plant

Take off the biggest fan leaves right after cutting the plant at its base. Leave the leaves closest to the node site, as they will form a protective cocoon around the precious node site. This cocoon will make the site less exposed to the environment as far as light and wind. These variables could discourage extraordinary flavors and smells from developing.

Hanging Branches

Branches are probably my favorite way of doing this task. Start by removing the leaves and flipping the plant upside down. Take your trimming scissors and start at the base of the plant, working your way to the top. This is easier to do when the plant is upside down.

Look at the first junction (where the branch meets the stem) and follow it up to the next junction. Make the cut right below the next junction up the stem of the branch you want to hang. By doing this, you create a little hook to hang your branch later.

Going To the Net

Quickcure® racks are awesome. They take up very little space compared to the other two methods, and they have multiple levels to easily separate different species that you may be harvesting. In order to prepare for drying in nets, every flowering site must be removed from your plant. Once you are down to just your flower, you may want to go one step further and cut the bigger leaves from around your flower, or even further, and trim it to its final, finished look. After that, lay your flowers gently into your nets to dry.

You may be wondering how much vegetation you can put on a rack. Fill the entire circular surface of each rack, but leave enough room so that the flowers are not touching. If your flowers are touching it can lead to several bad results that we will talk about momentarily.

Also, be aware that racks can make your flowers flat on one side if they lie still for too long. To avoid this, make sure to turn your flowers a few times a day for the first two or three days. This is more crucial the first day than any other, so I might turn the flowers every two to three hours, then less often on the following days.

Snapping the stem is one of the best ways to see if your crop is dry. Bend the stem, listening for an audible snap.

I like rack-drying because it allows you to take advantage of your room’s height instead of just its square footage. This means less room for more yield.

The other major benefit is that wet leaves are much easier to trim and break off than dry leaves. When the plant dries, the leaves shrivel up. Shriveled up leaves are much smaller and are harder to find, especially when there are lots of them overlaying each other.

You will notice that with each drying method, the work gets more intense. Hanging the plant is relatively easy, hanging branches requires a bit more work, and going into the racks can easily turn into a final trim. But don’t be fooled, you are going to be doing this work either way. The only question is this: do you want to do it at the beginning or the end of the process?

Regardless of the method you use, the most important thing about drying is your environment. Plants thrive when environmental conditions are met, and this includes the drying stage. I like to use the grow room for drying as it is generally a totally controlled atmosphere. My perfect drying conditions are 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and 45-55% humidity. Hotter or dryer can ruin the flavor while colder or wetter can lead to disease.

Wind is your friend, but too much can damage your flowers. Every book out there usually recommends that you bounce a fan off a wall in order to create circulation, but not blow directly on the flower. If you’re drying in your grow room, then the fans and carbon filters you’re already using should move enough air around to get the perfect dry.

Usually this process will take 7–14 days to get a totally even dry. Snapping the stem is one of the best ways to see if your crop is dry. Bend the stem, listening for an audible snap. This will show that the crop is dry all the way through. Make sure to always try a snap at the top of the branch too, to make sure that the whole branch is dry, not just the bottom of the branch.

Drying is the big deal. Once you have dried well, then no matter how you cure your crop it will come out well. A good dry is what creates a good curing. And a good curing equals a great finished product.

Drying Rules to Live By:

1. Control temperature and humidity for a slow, even dry.

2.Whether you do the trimming in the front or the rear, get ready for some trimming.

3. There is no curing method that can fix a poor dry.

4. Look for an even stem snap all through the branch before pulling the crop down to trim and cure it.

5. Drier is better. If unsure, give it another day.

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Last modified on Thursday, 10 October 2013 19:21

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