A guide to the sea of green method
Copy article link to clipboard.
Link copied to clipboard.
- What is sea of green?
- How much does a sea of green plant yield?
- How to use the sea of green method
- How long should I veg for best yield?
- Do clones flower faster than seeds?
When cultivating weed indoors, it’s essential to do so as efficiently as possible. Indoor crops often work with limited grow space, and the added expense of artificial light compels growers to maximize their resources. Cultivators face this challenge with every crop : how do you make the best use of limited space and ensure every plant gets as much light as it needs?
Necessity is the mother of invention. As cannabis cultivators moved indoors in the 1980s and 1990s, they began to experiment with techniques that would maximize yields with limited resources. One such technique surpassed the rest and spread through the cultivation community over the years: the sea of green method.
What is sea of green?
The “sea of green” method, also known as “SOG,” is a low-stress technique that grows many small cannabis plants at once as opposed to a few larger plants. Sea of green plays on the idea that if plants in a small space are forced into their flowering phase early, they only need to grow to half their size to support cola development. The small plants flower in less time and take up less space — a win-win situation.
The sea of green method clusters your many plants in tight quarters together under grow lights. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The sea of green method clusters your many plants in tight quarters together under grow lights. As the plants grow together, they develop a canopy of buds under the light, creating the so-named “sea of green.”
With equally given care, regular nutrition, and a watchful eye on each plant, you can raise a successful SOG crop in any grow room.
How much does a sea of green plant yield?
A SOG yield per plant depends on the number and types of plants you cultivate. During the flowering phase, a SOG-grown cannabis plant will develop a single large cola at the top. These plants require little training to develop their buds aside from typical plant upkeep.
While these smaller plants may not develop as many colas as a 10-foot-tall sativa, you can grow many more plants in a smaller space and produce similar yields with SOG.
A healthy grow space is a must for ideal yields. SOG plants require correct pot size, type of light, water pH, nutrients, soil types , environmental conditions, and other growth factors . Cultivators who dial in their formulas can tease maximum yields per square foot out of their SOG crops.
How to use the sea of green method
It takes just a few simple steps to cultivate a successful crop with SOG.
First, either germinate seeds or obtain cuttings of other plants to create clones. It’s easier to use clones for your SOG crop because you can make sure the plants are of the same cultivar and will grow the same way, all conditions being equal.
Place your plants in pots that are seven to twelve inches across, to ensure they have enough soil to develop healthy roots. Arrange your pots with approximately one or two plants per square foot, being careful not to place the plants too close together. This creates a seamless plant surface area, and while this at first sounds like a good idea, it encourages the plants to compete with each other for light and stresses the plants. More stress conserves biomass, and in turn, limits the production of buds.
Once your plants are snug in their pots, light your grow space with 18/24 hours of light until they reach 10-12 inches in height. Be careful that your plants are at even height, so each one is receiving an equal amount of light .
This phase of the growing cycle is called the vegetative stage , and how long a crop stays here depends on the cultivator’s preference. Some grow each plant at 18/24 light until they reach around 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) in height. Other growers will switch the lighting cycle when the plants are 4-6 weeks old, or even six inches tall.
It’s not recommended to switch from the vegging phase sooner than four weeks, as the plants aren’t quite mature enough for flowering. Adding an extra week or two may boost yields as it’s all about finding the perfect ratio of yield to harvest speed.
When you’re ready to switch to the flowering phase , convert your light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness. The light switch will force each plant to create a wide canopy of green, focusing all their energy into developing a single cola.
It’s important to keep light evenly spread in this phase and far enough from the plants to prevent any hot spots. Pro tip: as the canopy develops, trim the branches underneath to propagate as clones for future SOG crops.
Finally, it’s harvest time when your plants are ready. A good indicator of harvest readiness is the clarity of your buds’ trichomes : once they’re white and cloudy, your SOG crop is ready to go.
How long should I veg for best yield?
It all depends on the resources you have to work with and how much time you have to produce your crop. Most growers will veg for four to six weeks or when their plants reach ten inches in height. Some cultivators switch to the flowering light regimen when the marijuana plants are only about six inches tall, or two to three weeks into their growth.
Other SOG method growers who can invest in larger pots and don’t need to cram as many plants per square foot can allow for more extended vegging states, up to seven or eight weeks. The larger pots provide more room for roots to spread. Adjust based on your growing situation, space, and the strain you’re cultivating and know that practice makes perfect. Successful SOG is all about finding the ideal balance between yield, growing conditions, and fast harvest time.
Do clones flower faster than seeds?
The SOG method is especially useful when working with clones. A clone is a cutting from an adult cannabis plant that can be replanted and produce buds. Clones save you the trouble of popping male seeds on accident or obtaining a cultivar of poor quality. And while clones face many of their own issues when it comes to successful replanting, they do flower faster than their seed counterparts.
Clones guarantee identical plants in your SOG spread, helping ensure your canopy is the same height and produces the same flowers. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Clones reach maturity more quickly because they’re further along in their development than a cannabis seed yet to pop. Clones also guarantee identical plants in your SOG spread, helping ensure your canopy is the same height and produces the same flowers.
However, it’s essential to understand that flowering time varies from cultivar to cultivar. Each variety of cannabis may take more or less time to flower, regardless of the SOG method. Too, not every strain is viable using SOG. Indicas generally perform better than sativas, as they naturally have faster flowering cycles and develop shorter plants. Know what strain you’re growing and its average flowering time to ensure a thriving SOG canopy of buds.
A guide to the sea of green method Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is sea of green? How much does a sea of green plant yield? How
The Secrets Of The Sog Method Revealed
When To Sog
Vegetative growth need not be a lengthy phase with the SOG method. In fact, the high speed of a SOG crop is contingent upon a brief vegetative growth cycle. 1-2 weeks when working with clones or autoflowering strains is about the average. 3-4 weeks will be necessary if you are starting with photoperiod feminized seeds. Large numbers of small cannabis plants, rather than large, well-developed specimens is the objective. Smaller pots/containers will be required to fill the grow area floor space.
Many growers will sow the crop directly into 5-11l containers. Alternatively, some will root cuttings or seedlings in a rooting cube for 10 days and then pot up just once. There is no time for trimming or transplanting. Curtailing the vegetative stage cycle is crucial. All cannabis strains stretch to varying degrees during the bloom phase. In order to ensure a more compact, low-profile SOG, cannabis plants need to transition to the bloom phase before they get too big. It’s common for SOG growers to switch to 12/12 bloom with photoperiod strains as soon as they are just 15-20cm tall.
Setting up a SOG is not quite the same as a conventional grow with 2-4 plants in large containers per m². The smaller the pots, the more plants you can pack in the grow-op. A typical SOG grow might consist of 8-16+ plants in small pots per m². The SOG method lends itself to grow spaces of all sizes, from micro-grows to large, multi-lamp grow rooms.
Light positioning and reflection are all important when setting up a SOG.
Most growers will use a large reflector if using HID, positioning the lamp a little higher than usual to spread the light evenly. As plants will be vegged for just a few weeks, a little extra stretch is likely during bloom. Remember, the goal is an even canopy of small plants with big main colas.
Watering by hand might be too time-consuming with many plants. Automatic watering systems are a worthwhile investment. Airflow will need to be spot on, too. Preventing high humidity for closely-situated plants becomes a priority later in flowering. Clip-on and/or wall-mounted fans are a good option if all the floor space is filled with pots.
Carbon filters are a must if you decide to grow SOG style. More marijuana means more odour. A high-quality air filtration system, including intake and exhaust fans connected via ducting to a carbon filter will provide peace of mind and help keep the SOG private.
How To Use The Sog Method
To effectively use the SOG method, you don’t necessarily need a large grow space, but you absolutely must grow female cannabis plants only. If you are growing regular seeds, it is highly recommended to find a winning female mother plant first. The majority of growers who prefer the SOG method will repeatedly crop cuttings from a reliable, productive mother plant. Clones are the best option for a SOG with photoperiod strains. A uniform crop can be difficult to achieve with multiple strains grown from seed.
Even feminized seeds from the same pack can express different phenotypes. Clones make it easier to maintain the SOG, and reduce the chances of nasty surprises.
That being said, feminized autoflowering strains are perhaps the most suitable kind of cannabis to cultivate SOG style. Due to their short lifecycle, autos rarely exceed 1m in height and can be successfully grown in a SOG from seed.
Advantages Of The Sog Method
The SOG method has two huge advantages over other growing styles; high-production and high-speed are an impressive combination. If you want to get the maximum yield in the minimum time from your grow-op, SOG is pretty hard to beat. However, the most overlooked advantage of the SOG method is its versatility. You can SOG in a wardrobe and upscale the same system to SOG a whole warehouse.
Disadvantages Of Sog
No method is perfect for every kind of grower. For those that need to keep plant numbers low in the grow room, either for practical or legal reasons, SOG is probably not for you. Moreover, a beginner grower shouldn’t dive in the deep end right away and start a SOG for their first crop. It’s better to gain some conventional growing experience before taking the SOG plunge.
Helpful Tips For Your Sog
Sativas and some hybrid strains will grow far taller than indica and autoflowering cannabis. So make sure to switch to 12/12 at the right time. You must factor in that sativa-dominant marijuana can triple its height during the bloom phase. In a SOG, space is at a premium, so you can’t grow great big ganja trees. If you want to SOG head stash, just 7-10 days of vegetative growth might be plenty for most Haze strains.
You must also factor in that the plants are growing in small pots, and the bloom phase will be longer with sativas. Tall, square containers with plenty of room for roots to grow deep are best suited to the SOG method. Round pots and containers that are too wide in circumference are unsuitable.
Some defoliation and pruning may be necessary if fan leaves begin to shade flowers. This allows all plant energy to be focussed on main cola development. Removing lower stems that won’t receive much light early on will improve airflow and reduce popcorn buds.
Having a second grow area to house a mother plant is a worthwhile investment if you plan on using the SOG method long-term. Keeping a rotation of rooted cuttings and mature flowering plants is even more efficient.
The sea of green (SOG) method is high-volume cannabis cultivation. We break down this rapid and highly productive growing style.