Skunk Archives

Mapping the Road to Ripeness

THE VARIETY “JACK HERER” (JH) is a late-season sativa-indica cross. Indoors, depending on the particular phenotype, after it is forced to flower it takes up to three months to mature. Ninety days can whiz by in your life—like, where did the semester go? I’m just thinking about cracking a book—but when you are incarcerated or waiting for your bud to ripen, 90 days can seem like an eternity. Still, it’s important to be patient.

Picking a bud too early is like picking a green tomato. It will ripen and turn red, but it will never develop the acidic sweetness of a vine-ripened fruit. The same is true of marijuana buds. When you pick them early, the stigmas turn brown as they dry. To the casual eye they might seem ripe but a closer examination will show that the buds were immature when they were picked and were deprived of achieving their potential. The bud’s full intensity was sacrificed for the sake of saving a little time, often only 5–10 days.

While the economic situation often plays a part in deciding to cut early, there are two other factors growers might consider. The first, which is a driving factor for some, is the gardener’s or farmer’s pride in growing the finest produce possible. The second is a maxim that I heard years ago: The low cost of poor-quality weed will soon be forgotten, but the memory of the headache high lingers for years. “Remember when you gave me that bunk weed during the drought of 2007?”

Since this JH takes almost 12 weeks and many varieties require only 8 or 9 weeks they will show the same development in about two-thirds (8 weeks) or three-quarters (9 weeks) of the time. No matter the length of time it takes, watching big buds develop is a wonderful journey that recounts the miracle of nature in miniature. Darwin’s theory of evolution and Mendel’s theory of reproduction were derided by many of their contemporaries, respectable theologians and scientists, because they focused on reproduction. Yet here is cannabis, the only dioecious plant* unsuccessfully trying its luck at wind pollination. It puts all its energy into its flowers, its sex organs, until it exhausts itself. We see the entire life cycle take place in only a few months. You could say that every day in the life of a ripening bud is the equivalent to a human year.

Originally published in SKUNK Volume 9, Issue 4

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top