What is the Sea of Green (SoG) method?
In the sea of green method, you grow many small cannabis plants instead of just a few bigger ones. This is because each plant doesn’t have to develop nearly as much before it can support as many bud sites as a larger plant would. As a result, harvest times are reduced!
“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 exact yield you would from bigger plants.
These five auto-flowering plants started at the same time in this DWC setup. They grew into this at harvest without any training or particular time schedules!
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 to the mix, ScrOG (Screen of Green) is entirely different and involves using a screen to grow a flat canopy of buds. A lot of names for standard cannabis growing techniques don’t necessarily seem all that well thought out.
Pros of Sea of Green
- Great yields
- Not much effort was spent on 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 tricky!
- Not a good choice for growers with plant limits
- Plants are often crammed together, increasing your chance of mold or mildew if humidity isn’t under control, poor air circulation, or plants get too leafy.
- Some plants might grow dramatically different from 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 image 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!
The preferred flowering stage for this style is around 4-6 weeks old. The plants may not get the most out of an SoG setup if switched earlier than four weeks. Rather than increasing the time spent vegging, adding a few extra weeks to the vegetative stage, when each plant is larger, can yield a significant increase in yield. Finding that balance between harvesting as quickly as possible versus harvesting many buds is how growers determine when to switch.
Most growers also “top” their seedlings by removing the tips of seedlings at four to six pairs of leaves. Topping your seedlings can increase the number of bud sites, but if you have enough plants, you will have enough bud sites. It is much easier to grow fewer plants for a grower with time constraints, so you may get a lot of the benefits of Sea of Green with fewer plants by simply topping your seedlings and giving them an extra day or 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).
You can see the SoG in action after all the plants start making buds. Even though each plant didn’t get very big, there are many bud sites! They fill the entire space!
Here’s an example of SoG in action during the vegetative stage using those eight seedlings. Notice how quickly the whole space filled up since there were so many plants. It went from empty to wholly filled in about four weeks. In 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.
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.
Flowering was initiated right after the above picture. Here are those same plants a little over a month after they’ve started making buds.
Notice how much taller the plants are at this stage. In an SoG setup, ensure you don’t underestimate how much your plants will stretch after being switched to the flowering stage! Sativa strains and young plants that switch to flowering are well-known for stretching!
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 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 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 room.
The cannabis industry has experienced numerous legal restrictions in the past years. This means that not every strain of cannabis is allowed to be produced, sold, or consumed.
These regulations are meant to protect people from consuming marijuana that might be harmful to them. For example, some strains are banned because they contain high levels of THC content. If a person consumes too much THC, it can cause paranoia, anxiety, and other symptoms of marijuana intoxication. There are limits on how many plants a person can grow at home.
This is intended to help prevent people from producing more marijuana than they need.
It also helps ensure that people don’t sell more weed than they legally can. In addition, there are limits on how much THC a person can consume over a day. Most states have set these limits well below the recommended daily intake for adults. However, some cannabis users like to take higher doses than this to feel more relaxed or focused.
Despite these limitations, some people still want to grow their cannabis plants. These individuals often face plant limit restrictions despite having a medical marijuana license or being a medical marijuana patient. Some may even face criminal charges if they grow more than the allowable amount of plants under state law.
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!