Your plants are grown. The soil has been properly flushed with nothing but pure water for a couple weeks. The scissors have done their work and your beautiful green is hanging in the dark from twine with an oscillating fan gently moving the air beneath it.
The next stage of your process involves ushering your trimmed buds from the time you begin the hang-drying process to the day when they are actually ready to be rolled up (though you will be forgiven for making a couple early attempts at smoking your not-quite-primed weed), or ripped up for placement in a bong or pipe. Your secret weapons in this transition from string line to smoking apparatus: Paper bags and mason jars.
Your enemy: Moisture. Every fiber of your being, for the next two to three weeks, should be directed toward eradicating vestiges of the liquid that ran through the veins of your plants (aka the xylem and phloem of middle school biology class fame) and supported their growth from the time they were little baby seedlings or clones. This is the enemy that will, if not addressed properly, turn your trichrome-dazzled glory into a pile of acrid moldy mush and leave it about as smokeable as a pile of week-old lawn clippings.
And your best friend: Patience. You now face a window of time during which you will look upon, several times a day, the most glorious shades of green you have ever witnessed in all the days you have traveled this earth and you will be almost completely unable to do anything that you want to do with it. Couple that reality with the fact that there is an almost tremor-inducing level of anxiety that comes with the knowledge that a summer’s work could potentially be scrapped if the drying period is not handled properly. These can be some strange days, but fear not. A little patience and diligence over this span of time will reward you with stoner-movie-status buds. Cue choir: “Aaaaaaahhhh”.
After several days – could be four, could be a week – of hanging in darkness, the individual buds and branches, generally from smaller to larger, will begin to reach the next level of dryness. You will know when this has happened when you bend the stalk the buds are attached to and it fully goes, with a little “snap” sound. The buds will have a thin, candy-like shell at this point. Grab a decent sized bowl and begin to gently snip the flowers from the stalks, taking care not to drop them too far or agitate them to the point where you might waste trichromes.
Now it is time for the paper bags – lunch sacks. Dumping a pound into a grocery bag with no room for air circulation will turn your weed to swill just as sure as Monday follows the weekend. You want the thinnest, flimsy little sandwich bags in the store. Added bonus: They are usually the cheapest. Very lightly, with the density of popcorn, fill your bags to just under halfway. They can stay right there in the same room but do not have them in the direct path of the fan. Leave the tops open for the first two nights. Twice daily, move the buds gently around the bag to unstick them and to create new pathways for air to travel. For the next two nights, repeat the process, but leave the bags closed for subtly slow drying.
From here, it is into the mason jars – the place where the real magic happens. And, that, amigos, is what we will have a look at next week. Be well ’til then.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.