In order to grow the best quality medicine, you need to have an understanding of the techniques growers have been using for decades to dry their harvests. Nobody wants to put 3 plus months of effort and investment into a beautiful crop that will not burn or taste right due to poor drying technique. There is far too much at stake to rush the process or not research what methods work best for your precious flowers. Just like the cultivation process, there are many different ways to accomplish positive results. Whether you decide to whole plant dry, trim when you harvest, or some sort of combination, with the right technique the drying stage will go smoothly and you’ll be left with some top shelf buds that are ready to cure.
The method that has brought the most pleasing results to my harvests, is to trim each branch as you go before placing them on hangers. This is my favorite method because not only has it brought great results, but it makes the trimming process easier as leaves and stems are easier to remove when the plant is fresh. Once all the small leaves harden and dry up into the buds, it becomes very difficult to get stems without removing parts of the flowers as well. When you are dealing with large yields, trimming is enough work on its own so there is no reason to make the process more tedious then it has to be.
In the drying area your nipples should be hard because you’ll need a cool dark and well ventilated space. It is definitely important to have a fan circulating the air around the buds but you do not want to have the fan blowing directly on them. The buds will dry up much faster and have the potential of being too crispy and breaking up into dust when you grind it. In these environmental conditions the drying stage should take around 4-5 days. Another good way to verify that they are actually ready to begin curing is to break one of the branches. If it snaps clean then it’s already too dry and you left them hanging too long but if you break it and it fractures slightly without much resistance that’s the sweet spot. Getting it down inside the correct time frame is so key because curing too early leaves the possibility of molding out your due to trapped moisture. Taking them down too late will also make buds lose the sticky feel connoisseurs are looking for.
Timing and using your best judgement on buds appearance/feel is essential to maximizing your product’s potential. I don’t think people weigh the importance of the drying stage and treat it as a minimal stage in the cultivation process instead of a determining one. While the method of drying can change, the drying environment can not so don’t settle for using drying racks or not properly controlling/ventilating the designated drying space. I truly wonder how much of the lower shelf medicine available was actually grown professionally but ended up how it did due to poor processing techniques.