Are you tired of getting average yields? Are you looking for the best method to growing loads of bud? The Sea of Green or SOG method may be the solution. This technique is excellent at producing amazing yields while utilizing the grow space. An SOG grow involves growing lots of small cannabis plants in the shortest time possible and making best use of the available space. This is achieved by growing them closely together and shortening the vegetative period. In the end, a cultivator ends up with an impressive yield per square foot compared to other training techniques, such as Screen of Green or simply SCROG.
Speaking of SCROG, many people confuse this technique with SOG or simply assume they are the same. SOG method is centered on growing numerous plants in one grow room and focusing on the growth and bloom of the primary/central cola. SCROG focuses on stretching the plant laterally to develop numerous side branches for multiple bud sites, thus making the most out of the plant. In SCROG, cultivators grow a few plants and use a screen through which they weave the branches to stretch sideways to limit vertical growth. SOG does not have a screen, but the plants have zero to limited vegetative time to limit vertical growth.
Now that the confusion is cleared, let us steer back to the technique in focus: Sea of Green. This low-stress training technique is practiced by many commercial growers. Due to the shortened vegetative period, SOG allows cultivators to have multiple harvests per annum, leading to more profits. This method is recommended for growers whose local and federal laws permit the growth of numerous cannabis plants; otherwise, one would have to utilize other training techniques to be on the good side of the law.
If you are curious about the sea of green method, or maybe you are thinking about utilizing it for improved yields, this piece acts as the ultimate guide. It covers the basics and intricacies of this technique, including preparation, incorporating SOG using different grow mediums, setting up SOG, cannabis plant progress through each stage while on SOG, pros and cons of SOG, and some valuable tips. Let’s begin…
Preparing for a Sea of Green grow
With SOG, you need to prepare ahead to ensure the whole growth cycle completes with as few hitches as possible. The first thing is deciding whether you will be planting feminized seeds or growing from cuttings/clones. If you choose the former, ensure you buy one kind of strain. If you desire to cultivate multiple strains, they should have the same features in terms of height and structure so that some plants don’t miss out on resources due to their aggressive-growing counterparts in the grow room.
For clones, it is paramount to get them from a mother plant that is compatible with SOG growing. Most commercial cultivators use clones since they already know what to expect from the plants. With cuttings, they know how tall the plants can grow, their nutrient requirements, average potency, and the sea of green yield per plant and per square foot. Clones produce plants with similar needs and requirements. Buy clones from a reputable supplier to avoid issues with powdery mildew and other pathogens.
Prepare the grow room by setting up the grow equipment. These include grow lights, humidifiers, grow medium, fans, extractors, PH readers, etc. Ensure that everything is set since SOG-grown plants mature rapidly. Have the nutrients for each grow phase set out and ready for use. SOG thrives in soil and hydroponics, but the former is preferred since it is straightforward to use. With hydroponics, growers have to set up an extra ebb and flow system in an already compact grow area with limited space. Although demanding, some growers can execute SOG in hydroponics, increasing yield considerably.
With a soil growing medium, use small pots (4ks to 6kgs) and try and fit as many plants as possible in the grow room (usually 3 to 4 times the average amount). This also means that the plants will have limited resources at their disposal, which will be focused on the main cola. Additionally, it limits vertical growth, which is one of the reasons behind utilizing the Sea of Green method.
As the plants grow, you may see some of the top, heavy buds begin to topple over. This means that you will have to tie them or use cranes to prevent this occurrence. Some cultivators prepare or incorporate the trellis netting technique to provide support. Lastly, as the plants grow, the grow room becomes less accessible, making activities like watering cannabis plants challenging to execute. To overcome this challenge, attach a rubber or plastic tube to the end of the watering container/can to reach the difficult-to-reach spots.
How to set up Sea of Green grow step-by-step
Germination and seedling stage
If you are using feminized seeds, initiate the germination process. You can use any of the many methods available, such as soaking, using paper towels, planting them directly in the soil, or Rockwool cubes. As the germination process progresses, set up everything in the grow room to facilitate the planting of the germinated seed in the final grow medium. Once germination is complete, plant the seedling in the 4-6 liter containers and provide optimum conditions.
For lighting, invest in effective and efficient grow lights. LED lights are the best compared to fluorescent and HPS lights. They distribute even PPFD levels across the grow room, have higher quality, provide a superior light spectrum for optimum growth, are reliable, and provide less heat. Plan your grow room to allow reasonable access to all plants. Arrange grow containers as they will remain during the entire growth period.
If you decide to use cuttings/clones, plant them directly into the soil or growing medium. Some cultivators set up a sea of green net at this point to support the massive, heavy buds at the top to prevent them from toppling over once the flowering begins. Others wait until the plant is in the vegetative phase. The choice of when to place the trellis netting will depend on you.
One of the perks of utilizing the SOG growing method is the shortened vegetative stage. SOG aims to spend as little time as possible in this stage. Switching too soon to the flowering stage may affect the overall yield of the plants. Allow the plants to grow for at least 4 to 6 weeks from the germination stage so that it grows strong enough to support the heavy buds. Depending on the cultivator, the vegetative phase may last between a couple of days to weeks.
While using clones, you may have to wait for 1 to 2 weeks before switching the lighting schedule to 12/12. This allows the clone to develop a root system that supports nutrient and water absorption during the flowering stage.
Some cultivators top their plants before switching to increase bud sites. Topping is conducted when the plant has grown more than six nodes. If you decide to top your plant before switching, give your plants a few days or a week to recover, then make the switch.
What can you do with the side blooms?
The grow room is packed with numerous plants. The plants stretch vertically as they compete for light. The main/central cola gets maximum light at the expense of the side blooms. As a result, the former produces strong, healthy buds. The latter has scrawny buds that are not befitting to be classified as ‘top-grade.’ Most cultivators remove the side blooms to discontinue the competition for resources. This also facilitates optimum airflow around the grow room and prevents the plant from being attacked by pathogens, bud rot, and powdery mildew. Consequently, the plant solely focuses on developing the main boom once the switch occurs.
The side branches can be used as clones for the next growth cycle. Growing these cuttings using the sea of green technique makes it easy for you since they contain the same genetic composition and characteristics. Plants that grow under SOG become an even canopy that looks like a Sea of Green (hence the name).
During the flowering stage, the plant stretches for the first 1 to 3 weeks as the buds begin to grow. However, the plant’s final grow height will be around 30cm to 50 cm. The limited vertical height results from the small grow pots and the short vegetative stage. With the focus on the central cola, the side branches experience minimal growth (if they weren’t removed during the vegetative stage).
SOG plants produce an impressive yield at the end of the growing season. It is the only growing technique that produces the most yields per square meter. The trimming process is simplified during harvesting since all a grower has to do is focus on the central bloom. After the harvest, you can immediately start on the next batch of SOG plants as this technique allows multiple growth cycles per annum.
Sea of Green autoflower growing
Many cultivators prefer incorporating SOG while growing autoflowers due to their short growth cycle. The technique helps to reduce vertical and lateral growth and focuses on developing a healthy, heavy-yielding main cola. The only issue with autoflowers is that you can’t manipulate them into switching into the flowering stage by altering the light cycles to 12/12. Unlike photoperiod plants, autos have an internal clock that determines when they switch to flower. Fortunately, autos typically stay in the vegetative stage for 2 to 4 weeks, which is shorter compared to photoperiod plants which can take up to 16 weeks.
Sea of green yield per plant: is the technique worth it?
The average increase in yields when SOG is utilized is about 30%. This, of course, is dependent on several factors, so it isn’t standard. Some cultivators will experience more yields, while others will have a lesser increase in yields. SOG enthusiasts love utilizing this technique as it allows for multiple harvests per year and leads to large, numerous, and healthy buds when executed correctly.
Advantages and disadvantages associated with the Sea of Green method
SOG isn’t suited for everyone. This is because, like any other technique, it comes with its set of pros and cons. While the pros are many and work for most cultivators, especially large-scale commercial ones, the cons may be a deal-breaker for some growers. Below is a highlight of the pros and cons of SOG that you can go through to decide if this technique is right up in your alley.
- Fast, multiple growth cycles per annum thanks to the zero or minimal vegetative period
- Higher yields compared to growing cannabis plants without training. Highest yield per square meter than any training technique
- The limited vertical height allows for tiers placement in the grow room. This facilitates effective utilization of the growing space.
- Excellent for anyone looking for discretion or anyone working with limited vertical space
- A result-oriented, proven training technique
- Excellent for Indica strains. This does not exclude Sativa plants. You can use Sativas that do not stretch too much during the first weeks into the flowering stage.
- There is no need to combine SOG with other training techniques as the method effectively achieves desired yields.
- Allows you to grow multiple strains with similar characteristics together
- Legal dilemma. Many countries and states do not allow the growth of multiple plants. Using the SOG method may lead to issues with the law.
- SOG can be a complicated technique that requires skills, planning, and maintenance.
- Using different genetics, such as Indica and Sativa, is not recommended. If you plan to mix your plant’s genetics, SOG is not the ideal technique to incorporate as some plants may grow very tall, depriving the rest of light and other resources.
- This technique is time-consuming and requires a hands-on execution to thrive.
- When numerous plants grow in one grow space, they create the perfect environment for the rapid spread of diseases and pests.
- SOG may be a problem for people with limited space. This is because a cultivator may need two or more rooms to house the plants in various growth stages, e.g., one for the vegetative and another for the flowering phase.
Tips on using the SOG grow technique
- For a successful SOG grow, invest in the right genetics. Find seeds or clones that are compatible with the sea of green. Do not buy cuttings or seeds that grow into wide and bushy plants, as this will increase the overcrowding in the grow room. The ideal strains for SOG include;
- Chemdog – Indica dominant
- Skywalker OG feminized – Indica dominant
- Zkittlez – Indica dominant
- Purple Haze – Sativa dominant
- Mimosa – Sativa dominant
- Use LED lights
- Attach a rubber or plastic tube to the end of the watering can to make watering easier.
- Use small grow pots around 4 to 6 liters.
- Utilize the trellis netting method to prevent the plants from toppling over
- If you use cuttings, ensure they come from the same mother plant and are of identical size.