MANICURING PHASE ONE & DRYING:
And now, you’re really able to see the fruits of your labors and all of the work from this point on is to help insure the finest flavor and punch possible for your product!
Manicuring is crucial to getting your buds ready for curing. It’s a time consuming process, but if done carefully, it will allow you isolate out your best product along with various “grades” of leaves. This will ultimately give you some options on deciding how much or how little to utilize from what you have grown. First time growers generally run into a good deal of confusion on whether it’s better to manicure the plants right after harvest when they are at their moistest or whether to wait to manicure until after the plants have been hung dry and pulled down. Suffice it to say that there are many growers who follow one method or the other. Manicuring is one of the messier and more tedious processes involved with producing your crop, and some people simple would rather get it out of the way right after harvest while others prefer to wait then the plants are more dried out and it’s perhaps easier to cut closer to the bud with less juicy resin mess.
We’re presenting a combination process involving a preliminary manicure right after harvest followed by a secondary manicure following drying before going on to curing. This is really the best of both worlds and can produce the most balanced results as well as giving you a maximum amount of usable trim to be used as hash.
First off, here’s a quick list of some things you’ll need for the first phase of manicuring:
- A few large, black plastic bags
- A fine pair of small, sharp scissors
- Rubbing Alcohol with a nice clean work cloth or cotton swabs in quantity
- A fine razor
- A large tray or bin – to keep trimmings separate (especially if you have more than one type of strain you’ve grown which you want to keep distinguished per type.)
After harvesting, complete the first phase of manicuring by pulling off by hand leaves as well as precise trimming down as close to the bud as possible…separating out the leave stems from the bud and then snipping precisely with the tips of the scissors.
If you are working in batches, its good to have your plants stacked atop a black plastic bag as well as covered by another black plastic bag to help keep the light off of them. Light will degrade their potency levels over time.
Of these trimmed leaves, the ones with the largest amounts of trichome hairs on them make for the highest quality “trim” that you may want to save for hash. As you separate your trim to dry out separately, also cover it in a dark plastic bag for
Be prepared for sticky resin to be gunking up on both your hands and your scissors over time. If you’ve only got a small harvest, it’s not such a big deal, but if you are processing a large amount of plants, the resin becomes more of a factor. From time to time you will need to clean off your scissors and hands. Using the rubbing alcohol quickly helps clean your scissors and gets them rehabilitated for more manicuring, but if you’d like to save the resin itself as it too has some “punch” in it, you can collect “scissor hash” by scraping along a sharp razor across your scissors blade, and then collecting and containing the sticky resin for use later. The alcohol is always useful in getting your hands clean and helping you to maintain dexterity while working.
TIP ON REMOVING LEAVES FROM AROUND THE BUDS: By revolving the plant stem in your fingers as you trim around the bud, it will really speed up your access to be able to trim all around the bud on both the upper and lower sides of the leaf array surrounding them. You’ll get the knack of it eventually by gently rolling and rotating as you snip off the leaves as close to the buds as possible.
Once you’ve completed the preliminary manicuring by removing the trim leaves, you will have trimmed plants still retaining the buds which are ready to hang and dry.
For drying, you will want to secure a cool, dark room with good air circulation. This is where you will want to hang your trimmed bud stems upside down for drying. Running string or wire across the top of a room does the trick.
You will want to give yourself a minimum of 4 – 7 days for hanging the plants so that they are thoroughly dried. If you’re already dying of impatience at this point, don’t fret, as you will be able to spot check the buds as you go along to see when they hit that sweet spot of being properly dried. Just squeeze them between your thumb and fingers to see how dry they are. When they feel “crunchy and crinkly” they are ready for some more of your TLC.
SECOND PHASE MANICURE and CURING:
When you pull down your dried bud stalks, you will want to first chop them into manageable sections surrounding each bud. Again repeat the manicuring/trimming process as per Chapter Twenty-one, this time focusing on getting off any remnants of the leaf bottoms close to the buds that you might have missed the first time around. The discard scraps can be used for hash purposes as well depending on your preferences.
The “gunk factor” from the resin is still going to come into play here, but to a lesser degree, as these stalks and buds will have become significantly drier after hanging.
While working in batches of the dried buds, it’s smart to keep them covered and protected from light with the black plastic bags mentioned in the last chapter.
Now it’s time to store and seal up the dried and manicured buds in either airtight plastic bags or airtight glass jars. For best curing results, allow for about a minimal 2 week period, but throughout that time, (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT), remember to open up the containers to air out the product twice a day for 15 minute periods each time. You’ll be able to ensure the best taste and smoothness this way.
CONGRATS! NOW GO GRAB SOME BUDS AND KICK BACK!