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Cure checklist/guide?

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Antics

420 Member
I need to perfect my dry/cure. I'm worried this latest harvest will turn out like the last. It smokes well, it's not real harsh (but could be smoother) But the jar just smells like hay. I'm pretty sure the last harvest is permanently stuck like that. But I'd like to try to make sure I'm curing the new harvest properly.

I've seen a ton of guides on curing, as well as drying. But I haven't seen anything the covers the step by step experience of the cure.

I've read enough about how to check for dryness during the drying. I dry my harvest in a cardboard box, with the lid only slightly open. I have tried drying the whole plant, and have tried separating stems, both methods take about 3 days for me, but I also grow much, much smaller buds.

Picture of some of the buds from my previous harvest:
2014-05-30_10-27-03_131.jpg


So they're pretty small, which I thought explained the faster dry time. As the picture shows, I also remove as much stem as possible, and I also remove the majority of the sugar leaves as well, and the manicuring I did on the last harvest is even nicer than the previous pictured harvest.


This is what I'm experiencing through my cure:

First week I will burp 2-3 times a day, RH stays around 68-70%. No matter what I do, I can't get it lower. When I burp the jar it smells great. Skunky, piney, and it seems like everything is going perfect. If you roll a bud next to your ear you can hear some slight crunchyness on the outside. The buds are slightly sticky, and stick to each other easily. When you gently squeeze them, they slowly pop back out a little, but not as full as they were before squeezing. Squeezing/rolling the buds sticks all the hairs to itself, creating a neater looking nug.

I have no mold or ammonia odors in the jar.

After 1 week I burp the jar about once a day, and the Cannabis smell is almost gone, but still detectable, and much stronger if you move the buds around, or roll one in your fingers.

I'm using the smaller Ball canning jars, 1 pint/500ml size, and the harvest amounts that I'm curing are 8-9 grams.

And that's where I am now. What am I doing wrong? What should I be experiencing step by step through the cure? How should they smell? How should they feel?

Thanks in advance!
 

David Bowman

New Member
The most important factor to control when drying/curing is humidity. An RH of between 40% and 60% is ideal when drying cannabis, temperatures are less of a concern but anything around room temperatures will work. I typically dry for at least 5 days at ~50% RH in the dark with constant air circulation. During curing, an RH of 62% is the sweet spot for cannabis. I use Boveda 62% Humidipaks to help with keeping the curing environment constant, but even those have limitations. For my last grow, one of the two ladies apparently did not dry out properly, even though both sets of buds appeared to be and felt dry enough to the touch. During curing, the RH would not drop below 72% and the buds still smelled green while the other jar was curing nicely without any need for burping. After ensuring that there were no problems with the Boveda Humidipaks or hygrometers, I started burping this one jar for ~1 hour every day but the RH still would not drop. I decided to leave the jar open for an afternoon to let the buds dry out some more and after that the RH started to drop and is now around 64%-66% RH. If you're having problems dropping the RH of the cure, then the buds haven't dried out completely even if they appeared/felt dry enough at the end of drying. You can correct this during curing it will just take more time since air exchange is limited during curing. You also run the risk of mold if the RH is too high and isn't brought down soon enough. IMHO, given all of the variables present when drying and curing, keeping track of the RH is the single most important thing you can do to ensure that your harvest will properly dry and cure.
 

420 Motoco

Member of the Month: October 2014 - Member of the Year: 2014
Curing processes are like growing, many methods. I keep it simple. Hang my plants for five day's in a room that is 76 degrees, 50%-60 RH. Then do my trimming, then to a paper bag (same as your box). I burp the bag every 3 hours and reclose. At night I leave the corners of the bag opened a tad. I do this for 3 days. Then do a stem snap to check the process. If it snaps cleanly, into the canning jars. Once in the jars I burp (gently rotating the flowers, let air for a couple of minutes and reseal) every six hours for a few days. Then burp every 12 hours for a couple of days, then once a day I burb. After that it is once a week, two weeks & up to a month when I can cure longer. Also when harvesting I look for some good leaves still around. If the smell starts getting weak I'll through some in the jar to bring back the smell. Also if you have some buds that are curing correctly and smell good adding a couple of those in the jars that don't smell as good works well also. I do a 30 day minimum cure and have done some up to six months. Always in a dark room of course. I even have bought an 1/8th of dank and placed in a jar that was curing (same strain) and brought back the smell. I've had some really good herb that didn't smell that much, but, the smell of a flower is a bliss. Too dry can always be corrected but mold cannot.
 

Antics

420 Member
Just a followup question regarding the drying, because I haven't seen anyone mention this.

What about different size stems? Being a new new new new guy to Cannabis, I don't have my techniques and methods developed yet, and I'm producing plants with very different stem thicknesses. My main stem obviously being the thickest, and then I have the little lolly pop stems that folks cut off when lolly popping.

When you're testing a stem for dryness using the snap test, if it passes the test, obviously then we move to the cure. But do we treat each stem individually, or do we choose an average thickness stem somewhere between the largest, and smallest stem, and once it's ready, we move all the buds to curing?

I was using the latter, which was leaving my smaller buds over dry, and the largest buds on the cola not quite dry enough.

Thanks again, you guys are great and very helpful!
 

David Bowman

New Member
There are a couple ways to approach this. If you are removing dried buds from the branch stems for curing then you only need to be concerned with the stems attaching the buds to the branch stems. When those snap then you are ready to remove the buds and start them curing. If you are curing with the buds attached to the branches, which is what I like to do at the beginning of curing to get every last drop of essence into the buds, then you want the main branch to be slightly pliable but it does not need to snap, if it does then the smaller buds on that branch may be overdried. After about a month or so of curing, I remove all of the buds from the branches, even then the thicker branches are not completely dried out and still slightly pliable, and continue curing them as loose buds. I've not experienced wildly varying stem thicknesses yet but if that is your situation then like you said you can always remove each bud when the stem attaching it to the branch snaps and over time work your way up the branch until all of the buds have properly dried.
 

420 Motoco

Member of the Month: October 2014 - Member of the Year: 2014
What CH said. I was referring to when my buds are trimmed, I always leave a little stem left on the flower to hold-those are the ones I snap to see if they are properly cured. When I do my trimming I separate the buds. Top, middle and lower buds. That way they can be cured at their own pace. Of course the bigger/denser the nug the longer the cure. Curing is IMHO the most important part. You will be rewarded with taste, potency and the smell of the flower. I'm bowing out Brother. Back to the Med section for me, lol. Saves confusion Brother. I was stopping in to say Hi, lol.

Again, so many ways.
 

Antics

420 Member
And this is why I love this forum. Thank you both a ton, I appreciate it. It's a little late for the stem difference problem since I'm already in the curing jar, but I've kept the jar open and I'm down to 62-63% RH now, and it's been holding that RH for the last 30 minutes with the lid closed, so I have it all closed up tight, and back into the bag for some darkness now.

2014-06-24_13-58-16_147.jpg


And Moto, your knowledge is always welcome and appreciated. You know a lot more than I do, so any time you have something to add, jump right in man.
 

David Bowman

New Member
Antics, you got me thinking about this transition from drying to curing and I'm contemplating a change to my process. Once the stem connecting a bud to the branch is dry enough to snap off, the fluid transfer from the branch to the bud has also been stopped and any further drying/curing of the bud need not be done while it's still attached to the branch. What I'm thinking is to continue to dry the individual branches hanging upside down, but instead of removing/curing entire branches, I'll remove each individual bud from its branch when its stem snaps off of the branch and start the curing with loose buds. This way only properly dried buds will be transferred to the curing jars and I can better control the consistency of the overall drying process as well as better utilize the curing space since I will start using loose buds instead of unwieldy branches. What do you think?
 

420 Motoco

Member of the Month: October 2014 - Member of the Year: 2014
Perfect ColoradoHigh! Exact way I read taking down the flowers when they are ready in 'growing elite marijuana'. I stick to my method now because I cannot have a cure process over 30 days to keep up on my meds. Compared to the 10 day turnover cure its still mucho better. As time and experience goes by and learn some new techniques I always have my book to fall back on. Its saved my butt more than once as a quick reference. Looking back on my first grow I was so concerned about my nuits, the issue I was having was environmental conditions, air circulation, temp, RH. Six month cure on some Blue Dream was the tastiest, best high I have ever had the pleasure of smoking. Nothing beats a good curing process :) I think that is the ticket CH. Your right Antics, 420 Magazine is a wealth of info and covers so many aspects of different topics. I love this site!
 

Antics

420 Member
That's also how I've seen it done Colarado. I saw the full branch cure, but due to space constraints, I chose to cure only the buds as well.

I'm trying two different drying methods to see which works better.
1. At harvest I cut the whole plant down, Since it won't fit in my drying box as a whole plant, I cut it in half, and then it fits. After 1-2 days I remove the fan leaves. After another day, I separate the stems and do a quick manicure removing all the little leaves that aren't covered in trichomes, and I can see the stems, so the whole leaf is removed. I hang for 1 more day, and usually this is where my small stems start snapping (the tiny popcorn bud stems, since I haven't been lolly popping or defoliating).
After this day, I use the stems to hold onto while I give the buds a final manicure removing as much of the sugar leaves as I can, then finally snipping off each bud as close as possible to its stem into the jar.

2. At harvest time the whole plant is again cut down, but this time all fan leaves are removed, all the stems are separated, the tiny leaves are all removed, and a full manicure of sugar leaves is done also, then I hang them until they dry, and snip off each bud into the jar.

I have an Air conditioner in this room, so my RH is always 48-54%. Temp is always 68-72F, 20-22C, and I have great air flow.

I think my issue was always being afraid of overdrying, so as soon as I had smaller stems snapping, I went into curing.

So next time around, I'm going to treat each branch individually as you guys suggested, and put individual buds in as they become dry, instead of treating it all the same.

Which will be in about 3-4 months :)
 

Antics

420 Member
If all goes well and I can harvest these plants at the same time, Although different strains, I'm going to TRY to give them identical drying conditions, with identical boxes, and just use each of the drying methods.

I'm really curious what'll happen in my environment, and which works best. Although I'll need to wait for the next grow cycle to test open air hanging the plant like you guys mentioned, as well as open air hanging manicured buds on branches.. Hell now that I mention that, there's really a large number of combinations we can do since there are several ways to dry, all varying depending on when you start cutting off fan leaves, when you trim, when you manicure, and when you remove the buds from the stems. And along with that, you have the variables like open air drying, drying in a paper bag, drying in a box and the list goes on...

Wow I have a lot of options and combinations to try.

I have a question, What is the optimum length of time it should take to dry the buds? And does bud size/thickness/density affect the optimum time it should take?

For example, my small bud size, vs. someones 1 ounce bud? Is the optimum time length to properly dry the bud the same for each? Like a small bud should dry slower, and a large bud should dry at the same pace as the small bud, so both are finished and ready to cure at the same time?

Sorry for the additional questions, I just had a relaxing smoke with my coffee, and my brain is racing with ideas, questions and thoughts about which two are the best drying combinations to try first, when I harvest.
 

David Bowman

New Member
Disregarding the drying environment for a moment, I think the two main factors that determine how fast a bud dries would be the moisture content and the surface area of the bud. Moisture can only leave the bud through its surface, regardless of the volume of the bud. Moisture content would be greater in larger buds but so is the surface area of the bud. If we look at it as a ratio of moisture content/surface area, I think that the surface area of a bud increases at a slower rate than the moisture content as the bud increases in size/volume, even more so for denser/fatter buds. I would hypothesize that large buds would take longer to properly dry than smaller buds due to this increasing ratio as buds get larger. I would expect that smaller buds can properly dry in as little as a 2 or 3 days while larger buds can take a week or longer.
 

Antics

420 Member
labexperiment: I didn't think so.. when I take the stems out of the box to go into curing, they all still smell like Cannabis, and when I manicure as many leaves as possible, I really don't have much of a chlorophyll smell at all.

But what's better, open air drying in a dark room, or cardboard box method? I really don't have a DARK room due to lighter window coverings, and the sun shines into my house really well. That's why I thought the box would work better.

Would a small plastic container thats been covered with tape work better for drying, and just open the lid certain amounts to control the drying speed?
 
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