Croptober Series Part 2: How To Dry Your Cannabis Crop


Tyler Markwart

Medical cannabis activist, farmer, hash maker, syndicated journalist, and consultant with over 25 years experience in the medical, legacy, and recreational markets.

Welcome to Part 2 of our 4-part Croptober series. In Part 1, Tyler explained how to properly harvest your cannabis crop, and now he'll lay out the best practices for drying the flowers. 

Drying your plants is what is going to make or break all your hard work for the season.  This step is critical to the success of your finished product and is often the most overlooked and underrated part of the entire growing process. As a commercial farmer I have worked for and seen numerous farms that all make the same mistakes. They all get their grows set up and then they try to grow as much canopy space as they legally can. But they don’t put the same energy into setting up a proper dry room that can adequately hold their entire harvest and dry it in a reasonable time period.  

If you have a small dry room, planting different cultivars that finish at different times of the season will help you mitigate space issues.  This is a concept you will have to plan ahead for as it's not something that can really be adjusted when the plants are in the ground.  

The classic approach to drying involves making sure the environment that the plants are being dried in is well regulated.  As I mentioned above, the standard numbers for environmental conditions are 60F degrees (15.5C degrees for all our metric friends) and 60% humidity.  The goal is to keep those numbers stable the entire time during the drying process.  In reality, the issue is that those numbers will constantly fluctuate and you have to have the right equipment in order to make those numbers stable. Having a large enough AC unit, Dehumidifier or in some cases for those of you who live in a desert situation, you're going to want to add a humidifier for making sure that those numbers stay stable.  

The most important thing to remember is that if you have to add a humidifier make sure that you are adding RO water and that the unit is thoroughly cleaned with bleach and fully dried out and rinsed with RO water again prior to use so that there aren't any mold spores being emitted into the atmosphere of the drying area. The drying room should be sealed as well as possible, as this will also help to regulate those conditions.  


When the plants are first harvested they are full of water.  This causes a tremendous spike in atmospheric humidity inside the dry room so you will need more dehumidification in order to compensate for the amount of water vapor being released into the air.  As the plant begins to dry, the amount of water vapor being emitted into the atmosphere will be reduced. Therefore your dehumidification needs can also be reduced.  AC and heat needs are to be adjusted according to how well the dry room is insulated and sealed.  

The inside environmental conditions are also impacted by the outside environmental conditions so it's important to keep an eye on the weather when you are harvesting and drying. This stage of the growing process requires practice, attention to detail, good note taking and observation in order to get really good at it. Drying cannabis and curing it properly is a finicky balance between art and science. 

Once you have hung your plants you can now set up some air circulation to help reduce the potential for mold and mildew growth. Remember just because you cut the plant down doesn't mean it's dead. It is in fact very much alive. Which leads to our next insight for drying…darkness.  It is important to keep the dry room dark because light will activate the photosynthetic pathways and the plant will continue to grow, albeit at a very, very slow rate.  But let's get back to air circulation before we dive down another rabbit hole. Having air circulation is an extremely important part of the drying process and is similar to what we just talked about in the paragraph above on HVAC. Too much air blowing directly on the plant and it will dry too fast and taste like hay.  Too little air blowing over the plant and it will take too long to dry out and the plant is more susceptible to certain mold and mildew issues. Again it's a fine balance between too much and too little, which will be a repeating pattern that we see in farming, hash making and in life. Oftentimes passive systems work the best for drying. 


If you’re drying at home and you only have a few plants, using a grow tent is an excellent resource to dry your plants in. Using a piece of trellis net, hang it from the ceiling and then let the other side hang down to the floor. You can hang several of them inside the tent in this manner. Just make sure to remove the lights or any air filters that were hanging from the ceiling bars. 

 Hooking up an inline fan or some other type of fan to the ports in the tent will create a good passive air flow system. You’ll have to adjust the flaps and vents for proper flow rates with the specific equipment that you have. You can check the air flow by turning on the fans and dehu, getting into your tent, bring a flashlight or your cellphone with you and take some bong hits or smoke a joint and watch the airflow through the tent. Also make sure your tent is cleaned out after the smoke test, don’t be lazy. 




Drying should be considered a slow and low process. This means that you should take your time, be observant and don’t rush the process or try to shortcut it. Every plant dries differently due to its density, leaf to bract ratio and overall size.  Larger top buds will also take longer to dry than smaller golf ball sized lower buds if they are separated from the rest of the plant, and hung branch by branch. When hanging plants on a trellis, fencing or anything else that you can hang something from, you will want to cut the branches so that they have an arm to hang on. This means that when you are cutting branches off of the plant, leave a few inches of the main branch on the side branch that you are cutting and you will have a little hanger for yourself. Don’t bunch all the branches together so that they hang on each other and smack each other, give them a little room to breathe.  

Once you’ve hung your harvest and all your environmental controls are dialed in,you can now wait anywhere from 10-16 days depending on the size of the branch being dried and how dense the flower is. As the plant begins to dry the stems will begin to harden and at some point they will snap.  Everyone likes their flower a certain type of dry and some plants are better when they have a slightly higher moisture content. The goal is to hit a range between 8-12% moisture content. Dialing in AAA quality takes time because you really need to know your plant and how it responds to different environmental conditions. All these factors add up like a math equation and they all impact how the final product turns out. If you want AAA top shelf hash and rosin, then you need to make sure everything is perfect throughout the entire run, from top to bottom. This is absolutely feasible at home using a grow tent, a bedroom or a garage that is built out properly.     

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