Once you’ve managed to raise a first batch of cannabis plants, whether you can make cannabis crops grow is no longer the question. Instead, you start to wonder how often and how fast you can do it; and with what degree of success. From that point on, you may want to explore some of the various grow techniques you can apply. Throughout the years, growers have tried all kinds of methods to optimize their use of space, maximize their harvests, or shorten the growth cycles of their cannabis plants. One of these techniques is known as the Sea of Green (SoG) method. In this blog, we explain how it works, and what it can do for your next cannabis grow.
Different Grow Techniques And Methods
Before we hoist our anchor and set sail for the Sea of Green, we’ll sum up a few of the other grow techniques out there. In name as well as in colour, SoG is similar to the Screen of Green (SCRoG) method. Other well-known techniques include Low Stress Training (LST), Lollipopping, Monster Cropping, Topping, and Fimming.
Every technique has its own particular goal; some of them are easier or more practical to apply than others. Certain techniques (such as SCRoG) are especially suited for small spaces, making the most of every inch of grow surface you have available.
Which Strains Are Suited For SoG?
Not every technique is equally suited for any strain. That makes it important to find the technique that fits in with your personal situation, and with the plant strains you plan to grow.
Many growers find the Sea of Green method most suited for cloned plants. If you use cuttings from a mother plant, you get the benefit of equal growth rates due to genetic similarity. Clones are hard to come by, but perhaps you can solve that by choosing our regular seeds. If you grow a strong mother plant from them, you can use cuttings from that plant. Still, many of our feminized seeds are suited for SoG, too. The success of any SoG approach usually depends on many other factors than just picking the right strain.
What Is Sea Of Green (SoG)?
The Sea of Green method is actually a Dutch invention. It is all about efficiency in using the space you have available. That is especially useful for growers with limited options such as tiny grow rooms or small-size grow tents. Sea of Green methods are also used in large-scale operations, however, including full-sized greenhouse grows. Even so, regardless of size or scale, SoG is all about efficient growing.
The basic notion behind Sea of Green is keeping your plants small by making an early switch from the growth stage to the flowering stage. As a result, you plants use up less space, usually producing just a single central bud each. Even though yield per plant will be less than that of a full-grown specimen, the overall yield per square metre will probably increase. That’s because several tiny plants can use the available light (and airflow) more effectively than a single large specimen with lots of side branches sprouting minimal buds.
How Does The Sea Of Green Approach Work?
Although Sea of Green is all about efficiency, the technique is controlled by your lighting. By making an early switch to a 12/12 lighting regime (to trigger flowering), you shorten the growth phase of the cannabis life cycle. By restricting plant size, you’ll be able to fit more plants in your grow room or tent. As mentioned, yields per plant will go down, but overall yields per square metre should go up.
Apart from space, time is an important consideration when deciding whether or not to use SoG. Certain cannabis strains can remain in the vegetative (grow) phase for over ten weeks. Theoretically, switching from growing to flowering after just two weeks means harvesting more often. If this is what you’re after, Sea of Green could really crank up your annual produce, even on a tight surface.
Sea Of Green And Your Lighting
Growing cannabis under artificial lighting emphasizes the importance of using all available light efficiently. Not just because you’re paying the bills for the power your lamps use, of course. It’s better for the environment, and besides, you simply want to make the most out of the plants you work so hard for.
Generally speaking, grow rooms are set up to cast light down on the plants from above. That makes intuitive sense; after all, the sun shines down from the sky as well. However, it also means your plants block light from reaching their base. This prevents the lower leaves from catching light obscured by the canopy leaves above. Packing plants close together makes for a tight, evenly spread canopy able to make full use of light available. If you’re using a single large HPS lamp, top-down lighting is your only option. If you use several HPS lamps, though – or better yet, power-saving full-spectrum LED lights – you can still opt for lighting from the corners of the room.
The Sea of Green method is especially useful if you happen to have lots of cuttings from cloned plants lying about. Still, it can seriously boost result if you’re growing from seed as well. Even though Sea of Green plants generally don’t require pruning, some growers do prefer to remove lower branches as soon as the top canopy has formed. The allows the plants to focus their energy on the main cola while improving airflow underneath the canopy.
Practical Application Of The SoG Method
- Buy fast-growing cannabis seeds suited for Sea of Green; the quickest strains are often indica-dominant;
- Germinate the cannabis seeds, or use cutting from a mother plant to produce cannabis clones;
- Choose your preferred grow setup;
- Plant the cannabis seeds about 30cm (12”) apart, one seedling per 30cm²;
- Select grow lights and start growing at 18 to 24 hours of light until your plants reach about 25 to 30cm height;
- Switch the lighting to 12/12 to trigger flowering after about two to three weeks;
- Once a closed canopy has formed, consider trimming away lower branches to save energy to be used for the buds;
- Harvest cannabis when you’re ready.
Some growers switch to 12/12 lighting as soon as their plants are 15cm tall; other prefer to wait until the canopy is fully grown. The exact parameters vary from one train to the next, and grow circumstances affect these, too. If you use this guide as your starting point, you can find out what works best for you based on your own experience. That way, you’ll develop your own tailormade Sea of Green method that perfectly matches your personal needs and preferences.
Disclaimer: Local laws and legislation on cannabis cultivation and germination of seeds vary between countries and states. Amsterdam Genetics products and information are exclusively intended for use in areas where such use is fully legal. Check your local rules; do not act in conflict with the law!