The Sea of Green (SOG) Method of Growing Cannabis

Cannabis growers working in small or confined spaces are always looking for ways to maximize their yields. Growing a plant like marijuana, which loves to reach for the sky and bush out to the size of a Christmas tree when grown outdoors, produces a unique set of problems for cultivators relegated to a small grow room, closet or grow tent. Even growers working in larger commercial settings face many of the same dilemmas.

Certainly, the question of how to maximize yield in an indoor environment has been at the forefront of cannabis cultivation for many years and today, one of the most popular and most productive methods is the Sea of Green (SOG) approach.

What is the Sea of Green Method?

The Sea of Green (SOG) growing method is a technique used to maximize indoor grow space by creating even, relatively flat canopies of cannabis flowers. This is most often achieved by growing many small plants rather than a smaller number of large plants, but can also be achieved with various plant training techniques in variations of the SOG method. The Sea of Green approach offers many benefits, such as faster harvests and increased yields, but it doesn't come without its share of drawbacks as well.

SOG growers generally grow as many plants as possible in the space they have. These methods were initially developed for the purpose of maximizing efficiency in indoor grows during a time when most growing was done stealthily and under the radar.
Now that marijuana legalization continues to spread across the US and beyond, growing techniques are transitioning yet again to ever-more-efficient and sustainable practices. Still, the SOG method remains one of the most viable and practiced strategies for increasing indoor crops without an increased carbon footprint.

Using the SOG Method

Sea-of-Green-Method-of-Growing-1The general dictum of a SOG grow is one plant per square foot of growing space, though growers have achieved maximum yields with more or fewer. Growers have used the SOG method with a variety of different grow setups and mediums, ranging from hydroponics to soil.

The significant factor when setting up a SOG grow is that many young plants of the same size are packed tightly together. Plants, whether from seed or clone, are placed into 12/12 lighting early on. By depriving the plants of a prolonged vegetative time, plants are kept to a minimal size when flowering is implemented reducing the need for additional spacing.

Forcing the plants to flower early in the grow cycle will help to maintain uniformity in size as well, thus creating the desired canopy effect.

Many cannabis cultivators who use the SOG method prefer to begin their plants from clones for the sake of saving time on the veg cycle. Clones taken from a healthy mother plant can be rooted and ready to begin flowering in as little as 2-3 weeks, whereas germination of seedlings will take much longer. Plants grown from clones are less mold and pest-resistant than plants grown from seed, though, which becomes an important factor in SOG growing.

While it's best to get plants into 12/12 lighting as quickly as possible for SOG growing, it's also essential to allow them to develop into healthy young plants first. Many growers prefer to top their plants once they've rooted and developed 3-5 sets of leaves, while others prefer to FIM their plants at this time; either method will increase the number of bud sites.

Depending on space, a grower may choose not to prune their plants at all, resulting in one cola per plant. It's equally important to consider that plants tend to "stretch" once they reach flowering time, that is, double or even triple in size.

SOG growers have often found it beneficial to incorporate a few elements into their grows:

  • Smaller genetics - It's best to avoid monster sativa strains that tend to grow 10-15 feet tall when using a SOG setup. Instead, growers tend to opt for indica and indica-dominant hybrid strains when growing a Sea of Green, as they tend to remain shorter, bushier plants.
  • Autoflower strains - Autoflowering strains begin flowering when plants are very young, virtually eliminating the vegetative stage. Many autoflower plants grown together will lead to a short, uniform canopy, perfect for a SOG setup.
  • Lollipopping - Once plants have begun to develop a canopy, it can be beneficial to remove lower branches which may be draining energy away from flowering tops. This plant training process, known as "lollipopping, will greatly increase airflow to the lower portions and roots of plants, reducing the risk of mold, mildew, and other diseases.

While Sea of Green growing may sound fantastic, there are some downsides as well, some of which include:

  • Poor air circulation - Too many plants in a small space can make it challenging for air to move freely, resulting in mold, mildew or pests. Lollipopping, defoliating, and carefully-placed fans can help abate this problem.
  • Plant limits - Many growers live in states or countries with plant limits, making the Sea of Green less than optimal for legal growing. Knowledge of local regulations when growing cannabis plants is imperative.

Optimizing Your Sea of Green with TSRGrow's LED Grow Lights

TSRGrow has been working for years to create more efficient, cooler-running LED grow light solutions. Our high-efficiency lights can get closer to your canopy without causing light or heat burn, making them the perfect candidate for SOG growing compared with traditional LED grow lights.

With more even light distribution, greater light penetration, and decreased temperatures, TSRGrow's LED grow light solutions, and the Sea of Green method are a perfect match, enabling cannabis cultivators to produce dense, high-yielding canopies of delicious and potent flowers with relative ease. Be sure to check out TSRGrow's selection of LED grow lights and see what solutions we can help you develop for your cannabis plants today.


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