The Sea Of Green (SOG) growing method is quite literally named. It is one of numerous methods used by indoor weed growers to utilize grow spaces efficiently. With the SOG technique, many plants in smaller pots are grown per square meter.
The aim is to grow plants that form a single cola with few secondary buds. Lower branches may be trimmed off so the apically dominant bud and a few peripherals are left to mature using all the plant’s energy.
When using the sea of green technique, less time is spent in the vegetative phase. Plants are flipped to the 12-12 flowering cycle when they are still relatively small. Most of the plants’ growth is during the flowering stretch.
Sativas turned when they are 10cm tall will still reach 50-70cm or even more if they are long flowering strains. Indicas may need to be vegetated for longer before the switch in order to maximize yield for the space. They generally have a minimal stretch and require a few internodes to fill out.
SOG is all about yield per square meter. Little consideration is given to volume per plant as plants are encouraged to grow as a canopy only. This makes best use of indoor lighting as all plants receive equal light. There is no need to worry about subsidiary lighting of an understory.
The turnover for SOG is high as the vegetation time is so short.
Small plants only need small pots. Floor space and air circulation are at a premium, so a balance between plants per m² and healthy root room is ideal. As big a pot as possible to suit the amount of plants per m² gives heaps of room for root development and less time between waterings. For example, 7-liter pots have a 19cm diameter and fit 4x4 snugly in one square meter.
Plants can produce fine results in smaller pots jammed together. However, air circulation can be a problem, threatening diseases. Plants also tend to fall over when in tiny pots. Plastic, air pots, grow bags, terracotta—they all rock.
Germinate your seeds as normal. There are several methods used by cannabis growers all over the world. Give young plants the same care and attention for any grow. Pot on to the bigger pots after germination, or start in the big pots directly. The healthier your plants, the higher the end yields.
SOG is a light manipulation technique. Little training, if any, is needed. Some growers will top their plants early, veg for longer, and have fewer but bushier plants. Some leave the top and make the flowering switch sooner. Both work just as well as each other.
As a rule of thumb, vegetation only needs to be 1.5-2 weeks in order to give plants enough time to establish a strong canopy.
Experienced growers know that cannabis reaches a phase during vegetation when growth rapidly accelerates. Roots are well-developed and there is enough greenery to provide a hastened metabolism.
Making the light switch before this “pubescent phase” can stunt plants. They will still flower, but little stretching happens as they were pre-pubescent when the photoperiod was changed. They tend to remain small and produce quality, but small golf ball buds.
If you are unsure of your plants’ vegetative maturity, simply give them one more week. If at any time they do that “Hey, they grew 5cm overnight!” thing, flip to flower.
Make sure your plants are getting plenty of robust ventilation. The dense canopy with lots of leaf overlap needs to have lots of airflow. Leaf stomata, where gas exchange happens, are on the undersides of leaves.
The growing medium also needs moving air to help maintain the wet-dry cycle and control possible algae or mold. Thick canopies can cast dense shadows on growing media.
Remove underdeveloped branches that may be too far from the light source. Remove the large fan leaves to increase light penetration to the whole plant.
Some growers will “mainline” their plants, removing any growth that is not a dominant flower. SOG requires no special treatment other than the regular demands of a contemporary cannabis grow. Maintenance may take longer as many plants need to be handled, but this is relative to a larger plant with many branches.
The sea of green is a proven technique for maximizing yields without having to grow big plants. It is an efficient use of artificial light with a generous turnover rate because of the short vegetation time. Every bud in the grow space receives equal lighting, making it reach its full potential. You can’t go wrong giving the sea of green method a try.