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How to Grow Cannabis Using the Sea of Green Method

The sea of Green (SOG) or SOG method is a technique that cannabis growers use to increase their harvest while also decreasing the time it takes to reach the end of a grow cycle. Essentially, it involves growing many small plants instead of a few large ones. Thus filling a grow room with a “sea” of green cannabis. The sea of green technique is an excellent and proven method of cannabis cultivation.

Sea of Green – How It’s Done

The ultimate aim of SOG is to shorten the amount of time that plants spend in the veg stage and cause them to start flowering earlier than they naturally would. As a result, plants stay small and typically only develop one main bud site.

Obviously, this means that each individual plant produces far less weed than one might expect from a full-size plant. However, keeping plants miniature means you can fit a lot more of them into your growing space. This ultimately enables you to produce more bud per grow cycle. What’s more, the reduced time to harvest allows growers to fit more cycles into a year, making SOG a very effective method for boosting overall yields.

Not to be confused with the screen of green (SCROG) method, the sea of green growing method relies on clever lighting to trick plants into flowering early. As such, it is only possible with photoperiod cannabis plants. Autoflowering varieties can’t be induced to produce inflorescences before they are ready. As most cannabis growers know, the grow light regime has a considerable influence over the growth cycle.

How to Light a SOG

During vegetation, plants are generally given 18 hours of light every 24 hours. They usually won’t produce bud until the photoperiod is switched to 12 hours. When using the sea of green method, cultivators make this change after about four to six weeks, triggering flowering long before plants have reached their full size. Doing so can result in more harvests per year, ultimately leading to higher yields.

The point at which SOG growers choose to initiate flowering depends on many factors. Including plant genetics, growing conditions, and the needs of the cultivator. The more mature a plant is, the more bud it will support. So, waiting a little longer can be a good idea if you want a bigger bonanza. On the flip side, though, this extends the length of time it takes to reach harvest. Overall, the sea of green is all about finding the balance between producing lots of buds and getting to harvest in less time.

Things to Consider with Sea of Green

A successful SOG depends on several variables. First of all, growers need to decide how many plants they want in their sea of green. Because they aren’t going to expand much, it’s possible to grow plants very close together, and most cultivators, therefore, place between one and two plants in every square foot of available space.

This has a bearing on the size of the growing container that can be used. As a general rule, pots don’t need to hold more than 11 litres when growing a sea of green and can be as small as four litres, depending on how soon the cultivator plans to trigger flowering. The bigger the plants are allowed to grow, the larger the pot size they will require. It’s also important to remember that SOG only works if all plants grow at the same rate and don’t produce too many side branches.

Ultimately, you want to end up with one central cola on every plant, and therefore need to ensure that every individual in your sea of green receives the same amount of light. Unless you’re highly experienced, it’s best to stick to a single cultivar, as this will ensure that every plant grows at more or less the same pace.

The Right Cannabis for a SOG

Many SOG cultivators stick to indica varieties. These typically remain smaller than sativas and have more suitable morphology, with fewer side branches and a greater tendency to produce a single central cola. If using a sativa strain, it may be necessary to continually prune away any side branches that form, as these can crowd out other plants and block out the light. Snipping off all foliage below the canopy is also a good idea. This prevents plants from allocating any of their energy to unnecessary vegetation instead of putting everything it has got into developing a solid central bud site.

This also helps to increase airflow, which is essential when growing many plants in a small space. Under such conditions, the chances of mould or mildew setting in are enhanced, so it’s super important to keep aeration and humidity under control throughout the grow cycle. Another big decision involves the type of genetic material to propagate. Sea of green enthusiasts regularly start with clones rather than seedlings, ensuring that every plant grows equally, assuming they are all subject to the same conditions. That’s not to say you can’t start with seeds, but using cuttings from clones provides that extra level of control.

Doing so also speeds up the process as there is no need to wait for germination to occur, which adds up to a significant bonus when your goal is to get to harvest as fast as possible.

What are the Advantages of the SOG Method?

With smaller crop heights, you can stack grows vertically on top of one another. Ideal for a smaller grow space. Despite the occasional low-yielding SOG plants, they don’t usually affect the size of the harvest. Plus, it’s faster than growing with a SCROG (more on that later).

What are the Disadvantages of Sea of Green?

While the sea of green is a highly popular technique among commercial growers that rely on regular yields, it’s certainly not for everyone. Those of us who enjoy the process of watching a cannabis plant grow, for instance, may find that SOG takes some of the fun out of tending to a crop.

Yes, it gives you more bud in a shorter space of time. But for many people, growing weed is about more than just the end product. Sea of green can also be a little more complicated from a legal perspective. Many countries limit the number of plants that a person can grow at any one time.

As mentioned, SOG involves cultivating many cannabis plants in one go and may therefore be unsuitable for those living in regions that restrict cultivation.

What is the Difference Between a SCROG and a SOG?

The SCROG and the SOG are pretty similar, but both serve different purposes. The Screen of Green growing method differs from the SOG as you’ll need a horizontal mesh screen or grid system above your marijuana plants.

The screen allows tucking the branches (low-stress technique) above, so the lower branches are exposed to more light. This means you’re growing your plant horizontally while encouraging a broader canopy of buds. An even light exposure gives your plant the best chances of success.

There is, however, more maintenance involved with a SCROG vs. a SOG; there’s a lot more plant training needed. The harvest time is longer, as is the growth phase.

How to Start a SOG Grow

Begin by growing a mother plant. This isn’t always necessary, but we’d recommend it as a great first step as you want each plant in your SOG to have the closest characteristics as possible. You could always begin with multiple cannabis seeds of the same strain, but each brings a risk.

You need to decide how many plants you need depending on the size of your grow space. A good SOG is usually 25 plants per meter squared. Once it’s reached flowering time, make the cuttings needed. Take more than one for the best chances of success.

Once the cuttings have developed roots, move them to their first pot and 2 weeks later move them again into their final pot. Once the stress of the move has subsided, switch to a shorter light schedule to get the flowering stage started.

Then go on, as usual, keep your light cycle steady, give the proper nutrients, and soon your room or grow tent will be a Sea of Green!

The Best Cannabis Strains for the SOG Technique

Alaskan Purple

Alaskan Purple has some fine heritage, having been bred by crossing Purple Alaskan, Kush, and a Brazilian sativa strain. Highly vigorous strain, adaptable to various cultivation techniques, excellent yields, and displaying lovely purple colours at maturity.

Flowering indoors takes approximately 9 weeks, after which you can expect high yields of around 550 gr/m2. Both scent and taste are reminiscent of sweet berries with some floral notes too. This is a potent strain with a high THC content and Kush power.

It is relaxing for the body and has a long-lasting effect. This is lifted somewhat by the presence of the Brazilian sativa genetics, which adds a cerebral, psycho-active note.

Mazari Fem

Mazari boasts great genetics bound to produce a winner, which is quite clearly the case. Due to its sheer quality, many seed banks create their own versions under an assortment of names. Afghani indicas have an excellent reputation for producing vast amounts of resin. And when wedded to Skunk #1, we experience greatly enhanced yields and great flavour.

Mazari stays relatively short and grows with a Christmas tree profile which means plenty of yield-improving side-branching. Alternatively, when developed with the Sea of Green growing technique, it delivers high quantities of fat central colas. The resin-encrusted buds are very smooth-tasting and remind one of good Afghani hashish.

Somango XXL

Somango XXL is 75% indica and was bred by crossing Somango with Critical 47. This is an excellent choice for beginners with great resistance, high yields, fabulous mango terpenes, and high THC content.

Somango XXL are smaller plants and can remain relatively short with slight stretch during flowering. Making it easy for the novice while having the quality for the connoisseur and the yield for the serious commercial grower. To maximise returns, the Sea of Green technique is recommended. Flowering indoors will take between 56 – 70 days, depending on the phenotype, with yields expected to be in the region of 550 – 650 gr/m2. Buds are chunky, dense, resinous, and very easy to trim – great for making extracts.

Tropical fruit flavours of sweet, ripe mango with a floral note entice. THC content between 16 – 21% with low CBD of less than 1% gives an uplifting and creative effect, not at all what is expected of such an indica-dominant strain.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

Ben Taub