If you are familiar with the sea of green method, you know that bigger plants isn’t always better.
If you are here to learn about the SOG method for the first time, you are about to find out how you can achieve impressive yields by growing lots of small plants and manipulating their grow cycle for quick, successive harvests.
This is a unique style of growing, and many growers classify it as a form of plant training. For best results, you’ll need to setup a perpetual harvest grow room with multiple chambers, as you’ll need separate light schedules.
We’ll cover the exact setup method and walk you through a sample grow cycle in a bit. Before we do that though, we want to start with a definition on the sea of green method.
What Is The Sea Of Green Method?
The sea of green method gets its name from the huge canopy you create by following this strategy. Instead of trying to grow a few plants as big as possible, you’ll instead grow a ton of really small plants.
The trick to getting results fast with this style is you’ll flip plants to flower when they are still very young. The yield per plant won’t be huge, but when you consider how many plants you harvest, and how frequently, the numbers add up.
For example, maybe you can fit 6 large, flowering plants in your indoor grow room. Rather than taking that approach, you could cram 12-18 small plants in that same space, each producing a huge cola. Let’s cover the benefits of this growing style.
What Are The Benefits Of Implementing The Sea Of Green Method?
The most noteworthy benefit, and the reason many growers follow this training method, is quick harvests.
Once you have your cadence flowing, you can harvest plants every 45 days.
If you are a commercial grower, this means you are selling product every 45 days, rather than investing in your grow over a period of 4-6 months. This is a quick ROI, and helps you build up cash flow to grow your business.
If you are a hobby grower, this means you have constant access to fresh flower for yourself. You don’t have to worry about harvesting your plants, and consuming the same buds until your next grow is complete, or running out part way through.
Another benefit of implementing the sea of green method is you won’t be dealing with small popcorn nugs. Your small plants will each have just 1-2 huge colas, which is all you really want anyway.
The average yield per square foot in a sea of green grow is higher than traditional gardens. This means you get more out of your space, which is especially important for commercial growers as each inch of your warehouse can get costly. Here are a few other pro’s to consider:
- Easier to trim, as there are fewer fan leaves and a higher bud to leaf ratio.
- Works great for those with short grow spaces, as your plants don’t need to grow tall to get their weight.
- You can grow lots of different strains in a year, rather than just 1-2.
- Lower chances of developing pest/disease issues, because your plants spend less time sitting in the grow room!
How Much Does A Sea Of Green Plant Yield
We already explained that the yield per square foot is higher in a sea of green grow. But exactly how much does a sea of green plant yield?
This will obviously vary based on exactly how big you let the plants get, what type of lights you’re using, and most importantly, your genetics.
But, if you don’t skimp on lighting and genetics, you can expect to see up to a half ounce per plant, and in some cases, as much as an ounce! The largest factor will come down to your genetics, lighting, and whether or not you supplement with CO2.
Are There Any Drawbacks To The Sea Of Green Method?
In the interest of transparency, there are a few drawbacks to creating a sea of green grow that you should be aware of.
While you’ll certainly enjoy the fruits of your labor (no pun intended) after you have a few cycles under your belt and you’re harvesting every 45 days, there is a lot more up front work.
You’ll need to find suitable mother plants, which will take a while to grow to the size you can take clones from them.
While pest and disease issues are less likely, your entire grow is at risk should one arise. This is because all the plants are closely packed, allowing for easy spread.
You’ll also run through lots of grow media, as you’ll be repotting plants constantly. And because there is minimal trim associated with this style, you’ll be pressed to come up with enough to produce extracts or edibles after the fact.
You also need to be aware of the plant count law in your respective jurisdiction. Some states differentiate between mature and young plants, whereas others put a blanket number on how many plants you can have. With SOG method, its easy to go over this limit.
But in our opinion, the benefits of a SOG grow outweigh the drawbacks. So, let’s describe the steps you’ll need to take to setup your sea of green room.
How To Grow With The Sea Of Green Method
Growing with the sea of green method can get a bit overwhelming, as there are all kinds of different timing factors you need to be cognizant of.
But, we are going to try and make it as simple as possible, assuming this will be your first SOG cycle. Let’s start with what equipment you need for the SOG method.
What Equipment Do You Need For The SOG Method?
To keep this simple, we are going to assume you are starting from scratch. You’ll need the obvious supplies:
- Grow lights (assuming you have multiple chambers, you’ll need multiple lights)
- Grow Tent (again - we recommend having a veg tent and a flower tent)
- Ventilation systems
- Harvest supplies
For the chamber where you will keep your mother plants and clones, you can use a lower powered light such as fluorescent.
These will save you tons on your energy bill and are all you need to get your plants tall enough to move into the flower shamber.
What Size Pots Are Best For A SOG Grow?
Most new growers to this method ask what size garden pots you need for a SOG grow.
We recommend using just one pot from the time you take your clones to the time you harvest - the idea is quick flowering, and transplanting plants into different containers will add time and stress to your grow.
You can get great results with a 2 gallon or 3 gallon pot. This will vary based on how many plants you want to fit in your SOG grow. Those sizes will be perfect to get your plants 12” tall, which is where you want them when you start to flower.
Use Multiple Grow Tents For Best Results
To really optimize your SOG grow you’ll need different rooms or chambers. This is because you’ll have different light schedules in each of these chambers:
- Mother/veg room - Just big enough to hold your mother plants.
- Flower room - This will need to be the biggest, as this is where you’ll actually grow your plants.
- Drying room - When you chop your plants down, you’ll need a dark, controlled environment to dry them in before you start the curing process. This can be as simple as a closet.
If you don’t have three different rooms to setup, no worries. Most people don’t! You can achieve the same thing with a few grow tents.
In fact, our multi-chamber grow tents are perfect for this. They have three different chambers, so you could just use one of these in theory. But, you’ll end up with a pretty small SOG grow. So you may want two separate tents.
You can keep your mother plants in the largest chamber of a multi-chamber tents, and remove the shelf in the second chamber to create space to dry your plants.
You could then use a second, standard grow tent to actually veg/flower your plants.
Choosing Your Genetics For A Sea Of Green Grow Method
You need to do some research into different strains to determine what you want to grow. We recommend going with indica varieties, as these grow short and stout and greatly compliment this growing strategy.
Sativas are great, but they tend to grow very tall and lanky, which won’t be ideal for this method.
Once you have your genetics, you are ready to get started. If you have seeds, check out our complete guide on starting seeds to get started.
If you took clones, you’ll be ready to repot these and get started.
Start Cultivating Large Mother Plants To Clone
To start your grow, you’ll need to start by producing some large mother plants. These will supply you with ample clones to continue bringing into your flower chamber.
It can take a month or so of vegging before your mother plants are ready to be stripped for clones, so go into this knowing you won’t harvest your first batch within 45 days - that consistency comes after you’ve put in the work for a few cycles!
How Many Plants Should I Grow With SOG?
You should grow 1 plant per square foot to get your money’s worth with this method.
If you bring in more plants, they may become too crowded and the possibilities of PM or other environmental issues rises.
Plus, your plants won’t have enough light. If you don’t bring enough plants in, you won’t get enough yield to make it worth it really.
Once your mother plant has enough shoots of growth for you to bring into your flower chamber, you are ready for the fun part.
Take Your Clones Into The Flower Chamber To Start Growing
You will take your clones and pack them into your flower chamber and let them harden off and grow to at least 12” before you start flowering.
Once you are happy with their growth, you’ll flip the lighting cycle to 12/12 and let them flower.
You really only want one big cola per plant, so you can prune off the smaller shoots of growth underneath the main cola if they start arising and the buds look too small.
If you have never taken clones before, check out our complete guide on how to clone a plant.
Harvest Your Plants & Bring In Fresh Clones
Your plants will be ready for harvest in no time.
You can chop them down and either trim them there if you are trimming wet, or hang them up to dry if you are trimming dry.
At this point, your flower chamber will be empty. It will have been at least 6-8 weeks since you took clones from your mother plant, and she should be ready to be stripped again.
So you’ll take new clones, and bring them into the flowering chamber to repeat the process.
As you get this process down, you’ll be harvesting fast and producing impressive yields consistently! Its simply rinse and repeat.
Additional Tips For The SOG Method
You don't need to overcomplicate the sea of green method. At its most basic, you just need an ample supply of clones, which your mother plants will provide, and a chamber to quickly flower them in.
You will then harvest them, and bring in fresh clones, and continue repeating this to your heart's content. But, here are some additional tips to set you up for success.
Put Up A Trellis Net To Support The Huge Colas
Since all your growth is going to be concentrated on one shoot of growth, its going to get really fat and heavy.
You can prevent your plants from drooping over by setting up a trellis net across the entire canopy to support them.
This will not only prevent branches from snapping, costing you yield, it will also ensure the plants stay upright and the buds get even lighting.
You can check out our guide on using trellis netting if you are unfamiliar with how it should be set up.
Supplement Your SOG Grow With CO2 For Fatter, Denser Colas
If you find your SOG yields are dismal, yet you have incredibly powerful grow lighting, it may be because your plants are CO2 limited.
This means your plants are unable to adequately use all the light you're giving them, which is wasteful as well as disappointing.
By supplementing with a CO2 Tank & Regulator Kit, you can bring the ppm's in your grow up to a more desired level, and allow your plants to take in more grow lighting and undergo photosynthesis more effectively.
This will lead to an increase in growth rate, as well as thicker stems and heavier buds. For more information on supplementing with CO2, check out our complete guide.
Defoliate Plants To Prevent Leaf On Leaf Contact
You are going to be dealing with a lot of leaf to leaf contact in your SOG grow, and this increases your risk of developing powdery mildew.
This will quickly ruin your crop, so you need to take the time to defoliate fan leaves. In our complete guide on plant training, you'll learn all about defoliation and best practices.
Final Thoughts On Growing With The Sea Of Green Method
Now, you should be equipped with the knowledge to set up your SOG grow. All you need to do at this point is grab whatever supplies you need, find your genetics, and get to work!
This is a fun growing method for those with plenty of time and space, and can generate some impressive yields.