Originally Posted by DuskrayTroubador
Very true. I live in a region with high humidity as well, rains around the same time of year as harvest.
Part of me is worried that the buds might mold... Can anyone tell me whether buds/drying plants are more susceptible to mold than plants still in the ground?
Also, I tend to only take off the biggest fan leaves when I first harvest, so there's a lot of leaf around the buds until dried and trimmed completely. Is that better or worse when it comes to drying outside and the threat of mold in a high humidity region?
Am I better off hanging branches up or whole trees as some have suggested?
I also imagine it'll take at least a week. I think, unless the weather is just awful, two weeks might be a little long but I really have no idea. I figure its taken bud about 5 days to dry inside, outside I imagined somewhere around 7-10. But then again, I never had much in the way of fans going inside while drying. If I'm blessed with good weather and steady breezes, the buds might dry in 5 to 7 days.
I had a buddy that discovered mold starting in his plants so he decided to pull them, but he left one to see if it would fight back or overtake the whole plant. After a week and a bit of rain and drizzle, he went back to check on the damage. Low and behold, a beautiful plant stood upright ready to be taken down. I've never experimented with that strategy, but I have lots going in the ground this year so I might sacrifice one to the rain and frost. Last year I did witness very alive and colorful plants after a couple hard frosts. In the end though, it makes sense that damage is strain dependant.
On an 8-9 week flowering strain, I start defoliation (really heavy on the bottom) at week 4. Defoliation is all but complete except for sugar leaves at harvest time. If I were to dry on the plant (Columbian Gold method) I'd trim the standing plant as much as possible and ring the plant to kill it where it standing. If you dry indoor, you leave the sugar leaves on to curl around the buds and slow the drying process. In the wild, I'd take them off unless you're in a somewhat dry location.
Hanging the whole plant outdoors would really slow the drying process because the buds will draw moisture from the leaves, then the stalks before the buds are even ready to start drying themselves. So I'd cut the branches and hang them making sure they have a lot of ventilation and are absolutely not touching each other. Adding a tarp or cover will reduce ventilation and increase the chance for mold. So open air (between two trees?) out of direct sunlight would be best. Sun+Air can dry buds in an hour so leaving sugar leaves should depend on your forecast and drying location.
By far the best tasting smoke I even had was dried outdoor (5 days) then cured indoor, so circumstances permitting, I'll dry some early stuff outdoor this year. Maybe not completely, but enough for a dry trim a couple days later.