Cultivating marijuana indoors with artificial light is convenient and could result in high yields. You can use a multitude of tactics to further boost your crop’s level of cannabis production. The Sea of Green (SOG) method is one example.
It involves growing numerous smaller plants rather than a handful of larger ones. Benefits of SOG include a shorter vegetative stage, less space used, and maximizing the efficiency of your lighting. Those who grow cannabis indoors know that their energy bills are higher than average. SOG won’t reduce your bills, but it could increase the amount of marijuana you grow.
This article provides a detailed overview of SOG and offers tips and advice on getting the best from this cultivation method.
What Is the SOG Growing Method?
SOG is a low-stress growing technique that involves cultivating a huge number of small plants in a limited space. As the name suggests, your crop will look like a sea of green plants. Those who use this method also enjoy a shorter growing cycle. As a result, they can increase their number of annual harvests.
With the sea of green growing method, you force your plants into the flowering phase early. This is because you only need the plants to reach half their full size to ensure cola development. As well as having a shorter vegetative phase, the flowering cycle is also cut short.
In theory, you could benefit from eight harvests per calendar year!
Once you have gained enough experience, it is possible to harvest every 45 days or so. In theory, you could benefit from eight harvests per calendar year! Consequently, the SOG method is ideal for commercial growers. If you’re growing for personal use, you don’t need too many harvests. However, SOG ensures you don’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The limited space required means that only small grow rooms are required. It also helps you get the best from your grow lights.
Tips on Using the Sea of Green Method
Here are a few things to note with SOG:
- Genetics are key. Don’t choose a plant that likes to grow wide and bushy because you will be packing numerous plants together as it is.
- Don’t choose a plant that tends to stretch in the early flowering stage. Opt for a plant with a short flowering time.
- Ensure all the cuttings you use are identical in size and from the same mother plant at the same stage of growth. Ideally, the cuttings you use will be 3-6 inches long and have actively growing tips.
- We don’t recommend using seeds if you intend on using the SOG method. This is because the seeds will inevitably result in plants growing at different heights. As a result, the shorter plants will be left in the shade.
- Make sure you use at least four plants because the SOG method won’t work with less. However, you must also be careful not to use too many. If there is an excess of plants, there will be greater branch growth but less bud production.
- Indica varieties are the sensible choice because they possess a single primary cola and grow short. If you try to use a sativa, make sure you top it several days before forcing it into flowering.
- Use several grow tents to get the best results. The different chambers are necessary because you have contrasting light schedules in each one. You can have a room specifically for the mother plants, for instance. Then you can have a larger tent for growing the plants. If you have space, consider a drying room. This should be a dark, controlled environment to keep your bud after chopping down the plants.
Sea of Green Technique Step-by-Step
Once you have chosen your cuttings, make sure they are exposed to at least 18 hours of light a day until they are 10+ inches tall. About two weeks after transplanting your clones into bigger pots, tie a bit of string to each branch. Next, gently bend the branch until it sits flat rather than reaching up. Take the string off once the branches thicken during the flowering stage.
When you’re ready to proceed, force the plants into the flowering stage by exposing them to a 12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness schedule. Once you see a dense canopy of buds forming, trim the branches underneath and use them as clones. Wait until enough pistils have turned brown or the trichomes become cloudy before harvesting.
Although the SOG method provides you with lots of plants, the average yield per plant is lower than the traditional form of growing. This should not come as a shock since you are forcing the plants into flowering much faster than normal. On the plus side, your yield per square meter will increase significantly.
Experienced growers often top their seedlings by removing their tips once the plant has at least four pairs of leaves. By doing this, you can increase the number of bud sites. However, if you have several plants already, you don’t need to top them because you already have enough bud sites.
You are not tied to a specific hydroponics method when using SOG. You’ll find that the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), flood and drain, and dripper systems all work well. You can also try SOG with a Deep-Water Culture (DWC) system. However, the size of the system means you’ll have to plant several cuttings per bucket.
How Many Plants per Square Foot Can You Expect to Grow with SOG?
The number of plants per square foot that you can cultivate with SOG depends on your growth space’s size. Once you calculate that, you can decide how many plants you want and the size of the pots.
However, most experts recommend growing no more than one plant per square foot, or two at the absolute most. Growing one SOG plant per square foot is the equivalent of 10-11 per square meter (1 square meter = approximately 10.75 square feet). Also, you shouldn’t use any pots with a capacity of fewer than three liters.
Please ensure that each plant has sufficient soil to develop a healthy root system. If you plan to cultivate 10-12 plants per square meter, use pots with a capacity of 7-11 liters, which equates to around 2-3 gallons.
If you opt for two plants per square foot, that’s the equivalent of 20-22 per square meter. In this case, you need to reduce the vegetative phase for a faster harvest. Additionally, you won’t need pots much bigger than 5 liters.
How Much Does One Marijuana Plant Yield with SOG Method?
How long is a piece of string? In all seriousness, your yield per square meter or per plant varies depending on several factors. These include lighting, strain genetics, how big you let the plants grow, and so on. One method of boosting yield involves adding extra CO2 to the grow room.
In the best-case scenario, you could benefit from up to an ounce per plant.
That said, if you use the right lighting and genetics, you could get approximately half an ounce per plant. In the best-case scenario, you could benefit from up to an ounce per plant. If you use the SOG method to grow 20 plants per square meter, your yield could exceed 20 ounces in this instance.
Best Strains for SOG Grow
As experienced growers know, not every technique is suitable for the thousands of available cannabis strains. An increasing number of people find that the best SOG results come from cloned plants. This means using cuttings from a mother plant to get genetically identical plants. When you use such cuttings, you derive the benefit of equal growth rates.
Clones also have the advantage of becoming mature faster than seeded plants because they are already more developed. With clones, your canopy is the same height and produces the same number of flowers.
Even so, the flowering time depends on the cannabis strain. If you use cannabis plants with a lengthy flowering period, you lose speed as a primary SOG technique benefit. In general, an indica is a better SOG strain than a sativa due to its faster flowering time. Also, sativas grow taller, which is not what you want when using the sea of green technique.
However, there are a couple of sativa-dominant hybrid strains worth considering, like:
Nonetheless, you’ll find that indica-dominant hybrids are a better option. Here are five to bear in mind:
Sea of Green Pros
- Although you end up with a smaller per plant yield, the average yield per square meter is far higher. You also benefit from multiple harvests each year.
- The shorter growing time also reduces the risk of pests, diseases, or errors. As a result, there is a much better chance of your crop growing healthily for the duration of its life cycle.
- You can use the SOG method in a small grow room because you need far less vertical space.
- Once your plants are ready for harvest, you can trim them quickly due to the high bud-to-leaf ratio.
- As there are fewer fan leaves to remove, less organic waste is created.
- You shouldn’t have to worry about underdeveloped lower buds.
Sea of Green Cons
- Although there is less to do once your plants reach the flowering stage, you have to put in lots of work early doors. Tasks include finding suitable clones, taking cuttings, potting the plants, and setting up drippers.
- While your plants are less likely to attract pests or pathogens, your entire crop could be wiped out if they get sick. This is because the plants are closely packed together.
- You will need to dispose of large amounts of the growing medium after each harvest.
- You can only use certain types of plants because of the way SOG works.
- If you enjoy making edibles, the lack of trim leaves is a blow.
- You have to be very careful not to exceed your state’s legal cannabis growing limit. If you elect to grow plants continuously using SOG, there is a chance you’ll end up breaking the law. Penalties for excessive marijuana growing range from a heavy fine to prison time.
Final Thoughts on Sea of Green Method
If you use the SOG method of growing cannabis, you will benefit from higher yields per square meter, along with faster harvesting. You can force your plants into flowering in weeks. You also gain access to premium quality buds before someone growing marijuana naturally.
It is a growing method that involves plenty of work initially, but once the plants hit the flowering stage, it should be relatively smooth sailing. However, you have to be careful not to use too many plants. For a start, you will pack the plants too densely so that the lower parts don’t receive enough light. Then there is the small matter of breaking the law by inadvertently growing too much marijuana!