Cannabis has never been more popular or broadly accepted in mainstream society than it is today. The rise of home cultivation techniques, largely spurred on by the hydroponic growing movement of the ’80s, would normalize the cultivation of marijuana under the guidance of home growers. With marijuana now legal in a broad swathe of North America, for both medicinal and recreational use, more people than ever are interested in growing their cannabis.
One of the most popular marijuana growing techniques is the Sea of Green (“SOG”) method. A simple technique that focuses on cultivating many smaller plants within a limited space, the Sea of Green growing technique offers a mix of function and convenience.
Let’s explore the Sea of Green growing technique to better understand its advantages, processes, and potential outcomes.
What is the “Sea of Green” Growing Technique?
Often abbreviated “SOG”, the Sea of Green growing method forces cannabis to flower at a relatively young age. The ultimate goal of this low-stress growing technique is to induce a large number of small plants to flower within a relatively limited space, offering a sea of green in your grow room. This technique revolves around cannabis plants remaining in the vegetative state for just two weeks, bringing about a much earlier harvest.
Once perfected, growers can utilize the Sea of Green growing method to bring about a harvest every 45 days, thus making it ideal for commercial and home growers alike.
Note – The Sea of Green growing method can be utilized with soil, hydroponics, and in both indoor and outdoor environments.
How Does the SOG Growing Method Work?
Considered a low-stress technique for growing a ton of smaller plants in tight quarters, the Sea of Green method relies on crops maturing, sharing branches and leaves, as they create a canopy effect together. When grown in a larger volume, the canopy effect of the Sea of Green method clarifies how the technique earned its name.
Growing with the Sea of Green method puts a focus on growing outward rather than upward as gardeners seek to improve their plant per sq/ft ratio. This method works to reduce the flowering time of the plant, allowing for many more harvests per year.
Note – When growing with the Sea of Green method, gardeners must grow all the same strain. Indica-dominant cannabis crops tend to thrive under the SOG method as they are naturally sturdier, shorter, and possessed of bushier foliage.
Example SOG Set Up
You will not need any specialized equipment to run the Sea of Green gardening technique in your home or garden. What you will need are at least four plants to start your Sea of Green, understanding that there is no upper limit.
- Acquire Plants – You will need at least four plants to properly run the Sea of Green growing technique. So long as you do not exceed one plant per sq/ft, there are no true upper limitations to the number of plants you can cultivate with this method.
- Evenly Place Your Lighting – If you are growing indoors, you need to accommodate the lighting needs of your entire canopy. Properly and evenly distribute lighting overtop the canopy of your Sea of Green. By properly placing your lights, you can ensure that the stems and branches will grow directly upward.
- Hydroponics or Soil? – For hydroponic growers, the Sea of Green method performs best when paired with a flood-and-drain feeding system. In this system, also known as an ebb-and-flow set-up, nutrients are fed to the plants through a reservoir, timed with a clock, and powered by a watering pump.
- Stay Mindful of the Elements – Whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, you must pay close attention to the heat and humidity of your plants. Excess humidity and high levels of heat can cause your crop to struggle. Pathogens and pests are particularly problematic in humid and hot areas. Indoor growers should add enough ventilation to properly account for these issues.
Will the Sea of Green Increase Yield?
The original intention behind the Sea of Green growing technique was to keep crops as small as possible, thus improving the number of plants per square foot (with a maximum of 1 plant per sq/ft). If the ratio of plants exceeds one per sq/ft, it would lead the plants to fight for ventilation and the whole crop would struggle.
Thanks to the quick turnaround times of the Sea of Green method, many growers find that they will accrue more ounces per sq/ft with a larger overall yield. Rapid snug development and reduced vegetative time are the leading factors for this improved yield.
Other Benefits of the SOG Method
- Shorter Flowering Time
- Reduced Risk of Pests, Disease, and Handling Error
- Less Intensive Trimming Process
- Fewer Underdeveloped ‘Popcorn’ Buds
Best Strains for the SOG Method?
The Sea of Green growing method is ideal for a host of strains from seed banks throughout the world. Experienced growers will know that the best SOG results come from plants that have been cloned or taken as a cutting.
With that being said, some Indica-dominant strains that are routinely heralded for their success as SOG plants include:
- White Widow
- Super Skunk
- Hindu Kush
- Northern Lights
Tips and Techniques to Succeed With the Sea of Green
While the Sea of Green growing method works to make the process more simple than ever, some certain tips and techniques can alleviate hardship along the way.
Whether you are exploring the SOG for the first time or simply looking to make your next crop your best crop, consider these tips and techniques before you break ground again.
- Quality Genetics – Genetic quality is the key to success and this is doubly important with the Sea of Green technique. Prioritize Indica-dominant plants that grow better in smaller spaces.
- Avoid Stretchy Strains – Plants with extended flowering stages will often stretch extensively, something not great for the SOG method. Opt for plants with traditionally short flowering times.
- Regulate Your Environment – Evenly spaced lights coupled with proper ventilation will ensure that your plants are thriving.