Sea of Green (SOG) is not a reference to the color of the ocean out the starboard window of your cruise ship cabin. SOG is a method of indoor marijuana cultivation. It makes creative and efficient use of resources such as space and light. SOG growers get a higher cannabis crop yield per their capacity of any growing method. The yield per plant isn’t as high, but the overall return is far higher. Many small growers find SOG is perfect for their needs. When done correctly, the SOG method of marijuana cultivation crops out every three to four months, thus keeping both the weed and cash flowing.
The vast majority of cannabis operations are on the smaller side. This is because they exist in trailers and closets, in underground bunkers, and in small growing tents secluded in isolated and nondescript places. Something many small producers have in common is limited space for growing their cannabis plants. Insufficient growing space means they must grow fewer plants. This means that they will end up with less good bud to sell or smoke. Dutch growers solved this problem for growers in the late 1970s with an ingenious indoor plant space design now known as Sea of Green. It increased the number of plants that were able to be grown within a set amount of space.
People grow cannabis indoors in a vast range of scenarios. Their crops vary from a single marijuana plant in a five-gallon bucket inside of a tin-foil lined closet with a grow light screwed in overhead to underground rooms, basement greenhouses, and spare bedrooms with a distinct cannabis scent. Other strategies for indoor growth include the Screen of Green (SCROG), Topping, and the Low-Stress Training methods. Each of these methods has people who adhere to them. Something these methods have in common is their need for two to four square feet per plant. The SOG method requires one square foot per plant. The math is easy.
It is possible to increase the number of plants that fit within a contained area, but it requires growers be creative. By topping the marijuana plants multiple times as young plants, they naturally develop stronger upper branches which can support the growth of huge individual colas. SOG plants are smaller than other cannabis plants because of this early topping at around two weeks of age, which creates a bushy rather than a tall specimen.
Be sure to trim lower branches to direct that energy into making the cola. SOG growers only expect one cola per plant, but oh, what a lovely large bud it can be! The Sea of Green becomes self-explanatory in large operations when you look out over a crop and see nothing but uniformity. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to see why SOG is so popular among small space growers.
Before setting plants, savvy growers line their growing areas with foil, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces. These surfaces amplify and send scattered light back onto the plants. The more cells that can be reached by the light source, the more photosynthesis can be carried out, which translates directly to more growth. Shiny surfaces reflect the ambient and artificial light and direct light that would otherwise fall off back to the plants. Reflective growing areas come to harvest sooner than would the same growing box and light setup with no added reflection.
Traditional growers must space their plants far enough apart for air to move freely from top to bottom and for light to reach all the foliage. Light cannot reach to the ground in a crowded SOG setup. Instead, SOG growers remove the lower branches of their cannabis plants, which allows air to circulate freely, which is essential for healthy plants. Supply an oscillating fan for every 1000 watts of light spread throughout the room. Like humidity control, airflow is vital to keep mold and mildew at bay.
Unless you’re forcing extra C02 into a sealed growing environment, you depend on the atmosphere outside to provide its ambient CO2 for your crop. CO2 is an essential plant nutrient, but we cannot see it. No grower wants to forget this essential ingredient. Smart growers plan how they will move air in and out of their growing facility and how they will circulate air within it. Besides helping manage plant gas exchange, ventilation benefits cannabis crops in the following ways.
In short, ventilation is the unseen factor that ensures all the rest of a grower’s work is not for naught. Every aspect of the growing space must contribute to the overall wellness of the plants if your crop is going to be a success.
Growers must decide what size air extractor system will best suit their growing environment’s needs. Ideally, a complete exchange of air within the growing environment takes place each minute. If not every minute, then every three to five minutes. Place oscillating fans indoors so they provide active airflow throughout the area, above, beneath, and around all plants. Plants should not touch. Before you can buy the correctly sized fan, you must determine the dimensions of your growing area in cubic feet.
For example, a 5x5x5’ growing tent contains 125 feet cubed. Evacuator fans have CFM ratings, which stands for cubic feet per minute. Once you have your growing room dimensions, purchase a fan with twice the CFM as your growing space has, or three times the CFM if your ducting path is long. Efficiency drops by 25% for every foot of ductwork. In an adequately aerated growing environment, growers should be able to feel the air moving continually throughout the space.
A third option some growers install is an active intake fan. Other growers feel intake fans are unnecessary, as the negative air pressure solves this problem when you vent stale air outside. Yes, an air intake fan will ensure a steady supply of fresh air. However, growers having to choose between the two should always purchase a properly sized evacuation fan first.
The goal of the Sea of Green method is to force as many plants as possible to flower early. Plants must not touch, must get full-spectrum light, and must have adequate air circulation around each plant. The grower who keeps these things in mind when setting up their growing area can easily reap a harvest approximately every two weeks if they set up both a vegetative and flowering area in the space they have set aside for cultivation. Use lower stems as clones if not germinating from seed. From start to finish, here are the requirements for setting up your own Sea of Green growing area.
Growers using SOG frequently harvest perpetually throughout the calendar year. Such production makes the most efficient use of a grower’s space. It allows plenty of space for plants to produce their one prized cola, and the bare lower stem provides for air circulation while providing the germ of yet another prized crop. A fully implemented SOG system produces an abundant amount of high-end marijuana year-round, with a new harvest completed every 45 to 60 days. Although ideal for smaller growers, many commercial growers use SOG when they serve a discriminating clientele and need a consistent, high-quality supply.
One of the selling points of the SOG method is the lack of need for plant training. Training is when the grower forces the plant’s stems to take a particular shape by tying them in place. With SOG, there is typically no need for plant training, except for when there is. All growers stand to gain much from learning about plant training. When those atypical scenarios arise, they will have the knowledge they need to deal with them.
One situation that illustrates this need is when a grower wants to grow Sativa plants via the SOG method. Yes, they know how much easier it would be with naturally bushier Indica plants, but they don’t wish to grow Indica plants; they want Sativa. So here is where knowing a little of plant training might prove useful. Training is nothing more than taking branches that stretch upward and pulling them down and tying them to the lower part of the plant. Or, if you prefer, to a wire structure placed above it. Use plastic zip ties and loosely secure branches where you need them to be.
In conclusion, it isn’t the size of a cannabis plant that makes it a quality plant, but how healthy it is, its maturity, and the quality of the product it produces that matter most. No matter where you use the SOG method, whether you have a closet hobby or a factory, the process is the same. Follow this guide as a standard operating procedure, and soon you’ll be reaping a lovely harvest twice a month as regularly as clockwork.