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Sea of Green (SOG) – Harvest more, faster

Growing cannabis is surprisingly simple: all you need are a few seeds, pots, water and light. If, however, you want to maximise yields and also save time, you will do best with a Sea of Green. No other growing approach will allow you to harvest so much in so little time.

The pioneering spirit of the Dutch is the stuff of legends. Want some examples? The telescope and the microscope, stock exchanges, Fairtrade, CD’s, Bluetooth are all Dutch inventions. It was also the Dutch who developed a new way of growing cannabis in the 1970s, which would change commercial growing forever.

We are talking about the Sea of Green method, which combines two major benefits: maximum yields and minimum time invested. Sound too good to be true? Not at all! With a few simple tips, any keen gardener can successfully grow cannabis.

Sea of Green

The cultivation of cannabis indoors presents the grower with the same challenge every time: how do you make best use of the (limited) space available and how do you ensure that the plants get as much light as possible? The answer: Sea of Green.

This approach to cultivation uses a lot of small plants, instead of a few large plants. The growth phase is deliberately kept short, so that the space is completely filled and the light efficiency can be maximised.

Which cannabis varieties are suitable for a Sea of Green?

It is important to use a suitable variety of cannabis and the best idea is to use clones from a single parent plant. This will ensure that the plants all grow in the same way. Growing identical plants for a short period is the main key to success with a Sea of Green.

If you prefer to use cannabis seeds, then make sure they are all of the same variety. Sativas tend to grow too lanky and would impinge on the other plants, but Indicas are more suitable.

The following varieties are particularly appropriate for use as a Sea of Green: Super Skunk, Afghani #1, Hindu Kush and because it is very robust, the classic Northern Lights as well.

Auto-flowering cannabis varieties shift automatically to the flowering stage within a few weeks of germination. They are a popular choice for a SOG. On the other hand, auto-flowering seeds tend to develop a branch structure with a wide reach. In addition, because of their Ruderalis genes, they will never develop buds as large and potent as those from seasonal cannabis.

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Going from growth to flowering phase

The ideal pot size is around 15 cm, holding 4 to 6 litres. This means the plants will be fully mature at a height of 30 to 50 cm.

Anyone living in a small apartment, or working with a Micro Grow Setup, will understand the benefits offered by only needing a small vertical space. Experienced growers can even use shelves to stack several growing levels on top of each other.

A common mistake is to assume that the pots need to be placed as close together as possible. This creates a seamless plant surface area, which initially sounds like a great idea. But what this actually means is that the plants are competing directly with each other, with the result that they try to outgrow each other. This “jungle effect” causes stress for the plants, which in turn leads to less biomass or less bud formation.

It is better if the plants do not initially touch each other. The ideal timing for a Sea of Green is not during the first one or two weeks of the vegetation phase, but instead from about the fourth week of the bud formation.

Once the plants begin to grow visibly and the first leaves have appeared, then the seedling phase is over.

Opinions differ as to how long the vegetation phase should last. There are growers who trigger the flowering phase after just a few days, but it is better to wait 10 to 14 days before doing so. The plants are still very young at this point.

If you then change the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness, the plants will devote all their energy to creating one main bud. Now is the time to check that the light sources are hanging high enough to avoid creating any hot spots. Incorrectly placing the lamps is one of the most common errors in the cultivation of cannabis.

Uniformity is the answer

Proper care is everything when it comes to successful SOG cultivation. All the plants must be treated equally. This applies to the lighting and supply of nutrients, as well as watering and pruning. Drip systems have proven useful, because they ensure that all plants receive the same quantities of water and nutrients.

It is worth carefully pruning the plants during both the vegetation and flowering stages. If you remove the lower branches, then the plants have more energy to put into forming buds. The goal is for the plants to put all their energy into forming the main bud.

Superfluous leaves and spindly side branches should be removed during the flowering phase. A welcome side effect of this is that it improves the circulation of air.

Important: Great care must be taken with any intervention on growing plants! If you remove too many leaves or branches at once, you run the risk of the plants going into shock and ceasing to grow normally, or producing fewer buds.

The Sea of Green (SOG) method: No other cultivation method leads to such a rapid cannabis harvest. It takes many, small plants, little space, proper care and following the useful tips in this article! Learn which cannabis varieties to use best and how to avoid the most common mistakes.

Sea of Green (SoG) Tutorial

What is “Sea of Green” (SoG)?

“Sea of green” is the idea of growing many small cannabis plants instead of just a few bigger plants. The advantage is that you can get to harvest more quickly because each plant doesn’t have to get nearly as large to support the same total number of bud sites. If each plant only needs to get half as big, it takes much less time to harvest!

“SoG” (Sea of Green) refers to growing a “sea” of many marijuana plants, then putting them into the flowering stage when they’re still small.

Since each plant doesn’t get very big before the switch, the time to harvest time comes a few weeks earlier. However, since there are so many plants and bud sites, you get the same yield as you would from bigger plants.

These five auto-flowering plants started at the same time in this DWC setup. Without any training or special time schedules, they grew into this at harvest!

You often don’t need to do much plant training in an SoG setup, so you spend less time each week that would have gone into training if you wanted to achieve similar results with a bigger plant.

Note: To add another confusing term into the mix, ScrOG (Screen of Green) is something completely different, and involves using a screen to grow a flat canopy of buds. A lot of names for common cannabis growing techniques don’t necessarily seem all that well thought out 😉

Pros of Sea of Green

  • Great yields
  • Not much effort spent training
  • Fast time to harvest
  • Option to grow many different strains at once

Cons of Sea of Green

  • More time-consuming to take care of more plants. Watering and accessing plants in the back can be tough!
  • Not a good choice for growers with plant limits
  • Plants are often crammed together, which increases your chance of mold or mildew if humidity isn’t under control, if there’s poor air circulation, or if plants get too leafy.
  • Some plants might grow dramatically different from the others (for example, being much taller or shorter), which can be a pain when you have a lot of plants to work with and you’re trying to keep everything as even as possible. If you’re growing more than one strain, this can be an even bigger problem.

The setup in the picture above produced a fantastic amount of high-grade weed! However, the setup in the picture below produced even more in much less time!

These plants were in the vegetative stage for about half as long as the plants in the previous picture, AND they had significantly higher yields!

How to Make Your Own Sea of Green

For this grow style, growers usually switch to the flowering stage when plants are around 4-6 weeks old. Plants switched sooner than 4 weeks may not have enough time to get the most out of an SoG setup. Adding an extra week or two of veg, so each plant gets bigger can make a pretty big difference in yields too, so it’s about finding that balance between getting to harvest as quickly as possible versus harvesting a lot of bud.

Many growers also “top” their seedlings by removing the tips of seedlings when they have about 4-6 pairs of leaves. Topping can increase the number of buds sites, but if you have enough plants, you will have enough bud sites. It’s often easier to grow fewer plants, so for a grower with time concerns, you can get a lot of the benefits of Sea of Green with fewer plants by simply topping your seedlings and giving them an extra few days or a week in the vegetative stage.

For SoG, wait to switch to 12/12 until plants are this size or bigger (note: young plants like this can and will double or triple in height after the switch to 12/12).

After the switch to 12/12, plants start stretching and getting bigger.

Here you can really see the SoG in action after all the plants start making buds. Even though each plant didn’t get very big, there are many, many bud sites! They completely fill the entire space!

Another Example of Sea of Green

Here’s an example of SoG in action during the vegetative stage using those eight seedlings. Notice how quickly the whole space got filled up since there were so many plants. It went from empty to completely filled in about four weeks. By the last picture, all eight plants are already flowering. Each of those plants will be able to support a fat main cola in this setup, and it took less time than if the grower had tried to fill that space with just one plant.

Thanks to GIVE_ME_ATTENTION for making this moving gif of an SoG in action!

When using SoG, it’s up to you to decide how many plants and how big you let them get before you switch to the flowering stage.

Some growers flip to flowering when plants are just a few weeks old and a few inches high. Other growers may wait a bit longer to achieve bigger plants. If in doubt, I recommend waiting an extra week for the best result 🙂

Another example of a small SoG setup

Flowering was initiated right after the above picture. Here are those same plants a little over a month later, after they’ve started making buds.

Notice how much taller the plants are at this stage. In an SoG setup, make sure you don’t underestimate how much your plants will stretch after being switched to the flowering stage! Sativa strains and very young plants that switch to flowering are well-known for stretching a lot!

SoG is how you achieve plants that look like the one below at harvest (why was this plant defoliated?)

SoG setups are sometimes popular with those growing many auto-flowering strains since these strains cannot be trained with most of the traditional plant training methods.

In some parts of the world, SoG isn’t as popular as other training techniques because growers have legal limits on how many cannabis plants they can have at any one time. SoG uses a lot of small plants instead of training fewer big plants to fit your space so, if you have plant limits, this is not the best use of your space.

But for those who can grow as many cannabis plants as they want, SoG may be a fast choice to get an even canopy and a lot of buds with very little plant training!

This tutorial shows you how you can use the practice of growing many small plants to increase your yields and get to harvest more quickly! ]]>