Dear Stoner: When do I harvest my plants?

Dear Stoner: I found a few seeds in a bag last winter and planted them in my back yard earlier this spring. I know enough to know I lucked out in getting a female plant, but when exactly do I harvest this thing? I can't find any definitive answers.

Green Greenthumb

Dear Green: Awesome. Nothing beats solar-powered, homegrown marijuana that you've toiled over and waited for all on your own (as you'll soon find out). Unfortunately, there is no exact answer here, as all plants mature differently, and there isn't any one thing that tells you a plant is ready. We suggest doing a lot of research at sites like and, but here's the short version:

If you know you pulled seeds from an indica plant, expect that to come sometime around mid-October. If you pulled the beans from a sativa, we hope you planted them in a movable planter and have a south-facing window, because they could take well into late November to become ripe.

Either way, you'll need to look out for a number of different things. On the surface, you're looking for the appearance of a ripe, stinky bud with swollen calxyes and a majority of the hairs (pistils) a reddish-orange color. A lot of plants will also start to yellow slightly, like the plant is getting fall foliage.

Once you think things are finished, get a magnifying glass so you can see the development of the crystal-like trichome glands growing on the plant. Timing is important here. Harvest early, when the trichomes are mostly silver, and you'll get more of a racy head buzz. Harvest them late, when most of the trichomes have turned dark, and the buzz is more heavy and stoney. That's particularly true with sativas and sativa hybrids.

Dear Stoner: Is there anything I can do to get higher when I smoke a bowl?

Sly Stoned

Dear Sly: You could try smoking larger bowls or putting some hash on top; those would be my first two suggestions. But if you've already tried those options, you could move on to sucking down some mango juice. Mangos (and lemongrass and hops) contain mycrene terpenes, which help the THC get into your brain faster. A lot of people swear by this little trick, with most agreeing that drinking mango juice (or lemongrass juice) about an hour before getting stoned can double the length of the effects.

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Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Most likely the lucky grower will find that it will get very cold before the plants completely mature (which Stoner seems pretty accurate about determining.) Be prepared to protect your plant(s) from the cold, and snow, if you want to keep the harvest. You're going to have to be inventive, especially if you have that thing in the ground (did anyone tell you that growing outside is probably illegal for you?) You may need a lot of plastic, a weather-resistant heater, or maybe you'll get by with "water walls" (I doubt it.) If you're really industrious, you could build a leanto or something over it to help retain heat and not get snowed on. Expect a snow or two, and at least one good cold snap before you get your harvest.

Oh, and most of the quality comes from harvesting correctly. Too much to go into here. Get a book if you don't know. Cervantes is a good source.

Don't ask me why I know these things. :-)