Croptober: How to host a harvest party and bud swap

Published on October 10, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
harvest party fresh cannabis, trimming scissors, spade, buds, nugs
Jesse Milns/Leafly

Forget cuffing season, harvest season is upon us! It’s that special time of year where (most) cannabis plants have flowered and are ready to be trimmed, a time established growers lovingly call “Croptober.”

But for Canadian homegrowers experiencing their first legal harvest, their budding hobby may come with questions like, “What am I supposed to do with these plants, anyway?”

Instead of attempting the harvest alone, consider planning a party with your friends to celebrate Croptober together. Inspired by seasonal traditions like pepper roasting and canning parties, a harvest party is a great way to share the work, learn new skills, and enjoy a bounty of bud.

Why host a harvest party?

For those of you who need a reason to celebrate cannabis with your friends, here’s some motivation: harvesting your cannabis plants takes work! You thought peeling and coring a bushel of apples took time? Hand-trimming cannabis is a lengthy task, but planning a social event around it makes the work easier.

In addition to sharing the labour, harvest parties are helpful for beginners, as it can be easier to learn new skills in a collegial setting. If this isn’t your first rodeo, you can teach those who want to learn, all while cultivating your network of eager harvest helpers.

Do your homework

Preparation is key says David Kurth, president and CEO of U-Bud Cannabis Services, a business that offers homegrowing equipment.

“There are different options for how you crop your harvest, deciding the day it needs to be cropped is not the way to go,” says Kurth. “Cropping too early or too late will cause the buds to be less potent and flavourful than they could be.”

Once you know when you are cropping, you’ll also need to decide whether to wet trim (trim immediately) or dry trim (trim after the plants have dried). Pro-tip: wet-trimming is easiest for novices if you’re going to be hosting a crowd of newbs.

“If you are planning on wet trimming, make sure you have the time when you cut the plants down,” shares Kurth. Plan your harvest party close to cropping for wet trimming, and allow ample hanging time first if dry trimming.

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Strategy is important the day of the party as well, so make sure the appropriate stations and areas are set up. There should be a place to work, a place to smoke/vape, and a place to socialize and nibble. You will also want to communicate the social, food, and cannabis consumption etiquette for your harvest party.

Kurth estimates it takes around eight hours to trim a pound of weed, and one plant flower harvest can range from one ounce to one pound. If you’ve grown your four-plant home maximum, harvesting them could potentially keep a small team of friends busy most of a Saturday afternoon.

Given the lengthy process ahead, make sure to have lots of comfortable seating and all the helpful tools at the ready.

Gather your tools

As the harvest host, it is a good idea to stock a box of disposable gloves and extra scissors on hand. You will also need trays, bins, and jars for the buds and trimmings along various stages of trimming.

“Kief collectors are a tool I will not go without; you will end up with a lot of kief quickly. These are trimming bins with a fine screen to catch any THC that may fall off the bud.” If you need extra supplies, ask your guests to bring some from home.

What is kief and how can you use it?

Plan a future bud swap

Unlike a canning or a pepper roasting party, your end product won’t be quite done when the party ends. It’s important not to rush the curing process, as a proper cure leads to better, safer cannabis.

In addition to affecting potency and smell, improper curing can also lead to issues like mould. Harvest-savvy guests may want to bring some fresh buds home to cure on their own, but you might want to consider planning a future bud swap so everyone else can enjoy the fruits of their labour.

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Ashley Keenan
Ashley Keenan
Ashley Keenan is a freelance journalist, consultant, and patient advocate in the cannabis industry. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @askcannaqueen.
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