Weed is far from "store ready" immediately after harvest. Although people could technically use freshly-harvested weed, these buds won't have the same potency or flavor as flowers that have gone through drying and curing. In particular, drying helps ensure weed is both safe to use and ready for extraction, packaging, or consumption. By removing excess moisture from weeds in a controlled setting, cultivators eliminate the odds of spoilage and mold buildup.
The Top Tips For Creating An Drying Tent
Although every cultivator agrees that drying is a crucial phase, there are dozens of techniques and tools people could use during this process. It can get overwhelming as you review the countless drying guides online. However, there are a few basics every cultivator should know when setting up their drying tent.
What Equipment Do You Need In A Drying Room?
The most essential tool people need during the drying stage is either a hanger or rack to lay their flowers. There's considerable debate in the cultivator community over which of these methods is the "better" option. Some argue that the extra air penetration of hanging flowers produces a cleaner and more consistent result. Clothes hangers are also readily available and affordable for many small grow operations.
However, there are downsides to hanging weed flowers vertically. For instance, as these flowers become increasingly brittle, some buds will likely fall to the ground. Many cultivators lose a considerable amount of usable flowers by relying on hangers. Also, hanging weed requires more time and space than some cultivators may have. If growers don't have extra room to give weed the air it needs on hangers, this method may not be a practical option.
Professional drying racks allow growers to conveniently lay their buds on a breathable surface as they dry. Since the fine-mesh screens on these racks catch all of the weed flowers, there's no need to worry about wasting products. Drying racks also tend to be more compact, which is excellent news for cultivators who are short on space.
Aside from hangers or drying racks, cultivators need to invest in a hydrometer, fan, and ventilation system for their drying tent. The hydrometer will monitor your room's humidity and temperature levels, while the fans will help ward off moisture and mold.
Although AC units and dehumidifiers aren't essential, they can be of benefit to indoor cultivators. Adding these devices to your grow space gives you better control over the internal environment. If you notice the humidity or temperature getting too high, it's simple to "flip the switch" to adjust your settings. Also, a carbon air filter can dramatically help reduce the stench of a drying room. Cultivators who prioritize discretion should consider adding a carbon air filtration system to their tent.
What Are The Best Climate Settings For Drying weed?
Speaking of adjusting your environment, cultivators need to constantly monitor the temp and relative humidity in their room. Most expert gardeners agree that relative humidity in the 55 - 65% range is ideal for drying weed plants. As for temperature, it's good to aim for between 60 - 68° F every day.
In addition to monitoring relative humidity and temperature, cultivators need to keep their drying room dark. Too much light exposure at this stage could cause damage to the delicate trichomes on the flowers.
How Do You Know Drying weed Is Done?
Scientifically speaking, the drying stage is complete when weed plants have a moisture content of 11 - 14%. According to many weed experts, 12% is the ideal water content before moving to the curing process.
However, many cultivators rely on their senses to touch to figure out when their flowers are nearing the end of drying. Specifically, growers listen for a "snap" when bending their buds to determine if it's thoroughly dry. Stems on dried flowers should make a "cracking" sound when bent.
There's no "standard time" for drying weed, but it's rare for this process to last longer than 12 days. In fact, many cultivators claim they notice their weed is sufficiently dried within about 5 - 7 days. It may be sooner or later than this range depending on the conditions in your grow tent. Be sure to carefully monitor the relative humidity and inspect the weed daily to see how far they are in the process.
It's also essential not to judge weed by its outer layer. The weed flower's inner buds are the last to dry. Therefore, it may seem like a flower is "done" by looking at these plants, but the inside may still have a significant amount of moisture. It's more reliable to use the "bent & snap" method. Better yet, cultivators could invest in a moisture meter to get a detailed read on each flower's average water content. The more buds have a reading of roughly 12%, the greater odds they are ready to move to curing.
Consider Adding Mars Hydro's Drying Racks To Your Dry Tent
Drying may not be the most exciting step of the cultivation process, but it's an essential part of producing top-tier flowers. Whether you're growing weed for extraction or smoking, drying will ensure they have a superior smell, potency, and quality. Plus, thanks to new products like Mars Hydro's Herb Drying Rack, it has never been easier to set up a drying tent.
Mars Hydro’s durable fine-mesh racks are available with either four or six layers to accommodate growers with different quantity and size requirements. We also include a professional pruning shear with these racks to make "manicure work" a breeze. Be sure to visit Mars Hydro's online shop for more details on how our Weed Drying Racks could improve your drying experience.