5 Secrets to Growing Top-Shelf Bud
by Sirius Fourside
Have you ever had cannabis that was just…so so? Mediocre? Just okay? Cannabis that’s ‘just alright’?
Have you ever had cannabis that was so good, you want to save it so you can have it as long as possible? Cannabis so good that you inspect it closely as if you could somehow see why it’s so great?
What makes the difference between the two?
The look of the bud in addition to its potency, taste and smell is what makes cannabis seem top-shelf to the user.
But what happens when you’re growing cannabis that makes gives it these desirable qualities?
In this weeks issue of the GrowWeedEasy newsletter, you’re going to see what growing practices are responsible for making the difference between mid-to-low-grade cannabis flowers and top-shelf bud!
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but good cannabis starts with good genes. Having seeds with good attributes to work with gives you a plant that will flourish under the right conditions as opposed to just surviving.
All cannabis strains have their own attributes, so the best thing to do is to find one that fits what you’re looking for. Some strains are high in THC, some are known for tasting pleasant, some are high in CBD, etc.
In any case, growing cannabis from ‘bagseed’ is an easy way to lower your chances of growing great weed. In a best case scenario with bagseed, you’ll get a female seed as good as one from a seed bank. In a not-even-the-worst-case-scenario, you could get a male seed that grows a runt plant from a weak strain. Or even worse…it’s not even cannabis!
There are quite a few places you can go to get seeds with good genes, I’ve had the most luck and the least trouble with ordering from a trustworthy seed bank. Personally, I use Nirvana Seeds for their high-quality strains and I’ve got 100% of my shipments from them, but I’m also a big fan of seeds from Barneys Farm and DNA Genetics.
High Light Intensity
The amount of light your plant receives in it’s life can be used as a good indicator of how close it will get to its maximum potency when all other conditions are met. In fact, outside of genetics, light-intensity plays the biggest role in determining how big/hefty/potent your buds will be.
This means that even if you get seeds from a strain that is known to have 22% THC, the plant will need enough light to allow it to grow to this level of potency. This doesn’t mean that you need a 1000 watt HPS to grow great bud, but it does mean that you’re probably not going to grow top-shelf buds with a single 26 watt cfl bulb.
So much is enough?
Unfortunately, this is a question that is very difficult to answer as it depends on the specific strain you’re growing, the area you’re growing in, and the size of the plant being grown (smaller plants need less light). The general rule to go with is “more is better”, and watch your plants to see how they react. In most cases, it’s hard to give your plants too much light unless you have a high powered LED or a 1000 watt HPS.
Harvesting At The Right Time
For many growers, this is the toughest part to get right. Why?
Because you can buy seeds with awesome genes, and you can buy a MH/HPS combo that will flood your cannabis with light, but you can’t buy patience! And boy will a flowering cannabis plant try your patience!
Aside from becoming ever more picky about which nutrients they get, flowering plants will begin to smell ever-more enticing and look more and more ready to harvest. The problem is that there is a small 2-3 week window in which cannabis should be harvested, and most growers (myself included) get the urge to take them down prematurely.
Whenever your plants are flowering and you get the feeling you should harvest them because they look ready, reference this page and double check to make sure they are: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-do-i-know-when-to-harvest-marijuana. Harvesting early is an easy way to ruin the buds you’ve taken so long to grow, so double, triple and quadruple check they’re they’re ready before you cut down a single bud!
Many growers consider drying and curing to be two parts of the same process, but I like to separate them to really underline the important steps involved.
It’s important to not only dry your newly harvested buds before they can be used, but you want to dry them as slowly as possible. Drying buds too quickly can make them crispy and harsh, and will make them smell – ironically – like cut grass.
A good way to keep moisture in the plant and keep it from drying too quickly is to trim the harvested branches after they’ve been dried. Having the extra leaves left on will cause the plant to dry slower since there is more actual plant to dry out.
Personally, I trim my buds before I dry them since it seems to be easier for me while trimming and when I’m cutting buds off of the stem. From there the buds can be hung up to dry, or placed on a drying rack.
In either case, I would recommend leaving on as much stem as you can as it slows the drying process, and is easy to remove later. I would also recommend hanging your buds upside down to dry before testing any other methods. Anecdotally, I’ve found that buds that retain their stems and are hung upside down to dry tend to dry much slower than on a rack…which is exactly what you want!
In short, dry your buds for as long as you can. Aim for more than 5 days, with a goal of 8-10!
Once your buds have been properly dried, the only thing left to do is cure your buds. This last step won’t add to their potency per se, but it’s largely responsible for the taste and smell we all love.
Essentially, curing your buds involves sealing them in an airtight container for at least 2-3 weeks. During this time, the jars are periodically jostled, opened, emptied and refilled with the same buds. This will give the buds to ‘get rid of’ certain not-so-tasty chemicals, and the jostling, emptying, etc. will help prevent mold from forming.
To get a step-by-step tutorial on the drying and curing processes, see our article on GrowWeedEasy.com: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-to-cure-buds.
The Short Version
Here’s the meat & potatoes of this article in case you forgot any part of it(as some of us are prone to do):
Potent, top-shelf bud requires these 5 things:
- Good genes (Get good seeds)
- High Light Intensity (More light is better for your plants)
- Harvesting at the right time (You only get one chance; patience is key!)
- Slow Drying (The slower you dry your bud, the better)
- Proper Curing (Put them in a jar and let them out every so often until they’re done)
Great Bud Starts with Great Seeds!
What’s the first step in creating fat, potent, mind-blowing buds?
Make sure you start on the right path by beginning your next grow with a with a hearty, potent, higih yielding strain!
“Nirvana Aurora Indica is an F1 hybrid of Afghan and Northern Light. Its plants stay short, producing heavy colas and dense buds. This marijuana strain produces exceptional amounts of resin, resulting in a deep, near-black hash with a tasty aroma and a heavy buzz.”
“BlackJack produces hard buds with huge, grape-like calyxes that are completely encrusted with THC! The smoke is heavy and flavorsome, and produces an exceptionally long-lasting high.”
“Nirvana Wonder Woman is another one of those fabulous new high-volume marijuana plants. Wonder Woman bears rock hard buds which are easy to trim. The smoke of this cannabis variety has a classic, rich, skunky flavour accompanied by a long-lasting buzz.”
5 Secrets to Growing Top-Shelf Bud by Sirius Fourside Have you ever had cannabis that was just…so so? Mediocre? Just okay? Cannabis that’s ‘just alright’? Have you ever had cannabis that
Good Weed vs. Bad Weed
Weed quality can be measured by several criteria, including THC content. Top shelf weed can contain more than 20% THC, while lower grades of weed wouldn’t have anywhere near that amount. You’ll also know that you’ve got your hands on top shelf weed if it doesn’t contain too many unsmokable stems and seeds. Bad weed, which is literally found on the bottom shelf of a marijuana dispensary, may be riddled with stems and seeds.
Aroma and taste are a major part of the cannabis experience and top shelf weed will reveal itself by a delicious aroma and flavor. Bad weed, on the other hand, may just smell “off” and have an unmemorable or unpleasant taste.
What Does Top Shelf Weed Look Like?
Top shelf weed texture should be only slightly dry but moist enough to be sticky. Looking at the weed, you can also determine the quality by checking for trichomes which contain the flavor, aroma, terpenes, and any medicinal benefits. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the weed for tiny structures that resemble mushrooms. If you see a lot of these, then you might have top shelf weed.
A high-quality cannabis product often priced to be the most valuable on a menu. In terms of cannabis flower, top-shelf will exhibit an aesthetically pleasing structure, demonstrate desirable terpene aromas and flavors, and contain a high cannabinoid content.