Preserving the quality and freshness of cannabis flowers is essential for farmers looking to maximize the value of their harvest. After the drying and curing phases, proper storage techniques become crucial to maintain the color, aroma, and overall appeal of the flowers. In this blog post, we will explore the best practices for storing cannabis on the farm.
Packing Your Harvest Away, Storage, Burping, and Managing Moisture Build Up
Once the dry room is emptied, the cannabis flowers are carefully packed into boxes and stored in a designated storage container. However, the work doesn’t stop there. To ensure the longevity of the flowers, regular monitoring and maintenance are required. In the first week, the boxes should be checked and “burped” every few days. This involves briefly opening the boxes to allow for air circulation and prevent any moisture buildup. Once the flowers have stabilized, they can be checked every two weeks to ensure ongoing product quality.
At our farm, we have witnessed the unfortunate consequences of improper storage. Bags that initially contained beautiful flowers gradually deteriorated due to neglectful practices. The color of the flowers faded, often turning an unappealing shade of brown, and the precious terpene profiles diminished, degraded, or even turned sour. It became evident that proper storage is vital for preserving the integrity of the flowers.
Low Cost Storage Solutions for Optimal Results in Your Cannabis Harvest
After extensive research, we have found a low-tech and cost-effective solution to store cannabis flowers for extended periods, such as a year or longer. Here are the parameters we follow for long-term storage:
- Temperature and Humidity: Maintain a storage facility with a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 57%. Although slight variations are acceptable, we have found that these conditions offer the best results.
- Preserve the Stem: Keep cannabis storage simple, so keep the flowers attached to the stem during storage. This approach improves space efficiency and facilitates handling. A minimum of 6 inches of stem is recommended to maintain the flowers’ freshness and quality.
- Avoid Pre-Trimming: Resist the urge to trim or process the flowers until absolutely necessary, usually right before sale, packaging, or shipment. Even if all other storage steps are followed meticulously, pre-trimmed flowers will not preserve as well.
- Use Sealed Containers: Store the flowers in sealed plastic bags or containers to minimize oxygen exposure. While there are sophisticated systems available for air extraction, we have found success by manually pushing the air out of the bag and sealing it with a zip tie. Typically, we store 10-15 pounds in a bag, which is then nestled into a sturdy cardboard box.
- Maintain Stable Conditions: Ensure that the storage conditions remain stable at all times. Implement remote monitoring systems to regularly check temperature and humidity levels. This allows for prompt action in case of any deviations.
For shorter-term storage periods of less than two months, focusing on maintaining the appropriate temperature and humidity levels (as described in step one) should suffice.
The post-harvest phase is where significant investments are made and where mistakes can have costly consequences. A single misstep, such as overheating the cannabis drying space or prematurely bagging the crop, can spoil an entire season’s efforts. Therefore, meticulous attention to detail and careful planning are crucial, even for experienced farmers, to achieve a high-quality, marketable product.
By following these storage guidelines, cannabis farmers can ensure that their flowers retain their beauty, potency, and appeal, ultimately maximizing the value of their hard work and dedication. Proper storage techniques not only preserve the quality of the harvest but also contribute to the long-lasting satisfaction of consumers and the success of the farm.