So I have harvested by crop and the buds are drying in a dark cool room. How do I know when they are ready?
The snap and smoke test. Take one of the stems and bend it. If it snaps it should be dry enough to start jar curing. If it just bends and doesn’t snap let it dry a little longer. Once it’s dry enough to snap it’s time to start jar curing. When jar curing burp it for a few hours every day and turn the buds so they don’t get moldy. Do a smoke test every week or two. When the buds have that nice cured bud smell and smoke is smooth it’s ready.
I prefer mine to stay around 60% rh during jar cure because I like my buds sticky and I think they taste better after. The cure takes longer that way but it’s worth it.
There are many answers to your question, and I am sure this forum will give you some great information and Ideas. As for me, I do not completely dry my buds prior to curing. I like them to be dry enough that they do not stick together. This allows me to fluff them during cure without damaging them. I can tell they are ready if I can put up and they do not feel wet but are less than dried out. Vague much! The idea is to allow the final dry and cure to happen at the same time. For me this leaves the finished product dry enough to smoke but mellow in flavor and taste. I cure in stainless and with desiccant 61%. I like the results I get. If by chance I place into cure too early, I just leave open a day or so and keep fluffing until I get the desired dryness, then back to cure. I would rather put in stainless too early then dry out. I can fix too early.
I hope this helps,
@stevepitt2 Welcome to the forum Stephen and Happy Growing
I hang in my wine cellar at 64’F and 55% RH for about 10 days before bottling in quart glass canning jars and aging in the same cellar. I hang small plants whole and large plants branches outside after washing in a hydrogen peroxide and filtered water bath to dry for the afternoon. When dry to the touch they are moved to the cellar to hang until small branches easily bend/break into an angle that does not come back. Then they are bottled. (I trim at harvest for the most part) I riddle jars every few days, leaving wetter ones open for a while. I use hygrometers in the jars to tell how they are doing (important!) as some parts of the same plant will have a big difference in moisture content even when treated exactly the same. The cellar curing can be duplicated in any room you can control the temp (not difficult in the fall when temps are cooler) And 55% relative humidity is common indoors. Just don’t let branches touch one another and check often for dryness as timing is important not to let them get too dry while hanging in air. The cellar’s cooler provides air movement, so a small fan could replace this, just aim it away from the plants to create a gentle air movement in the room the reduce the chances of mold and keep the process going on schedule. Outdoor is king! You can’t buy sunlight! And who wants to add more pressure on our electrical grid even if the cost is ok with you.