The Sea of Green Growing Method (or "SOG" for short) is a method of growing that will reduce growing times to yield as much as plants as possible in a fairly short amount of time. This method asks you to start the flowering stage earlier and train your plants to use their canopy as efficiently as possible, especially for growers using small spaces.
What you'll expect to see when using SOG
  • Big yields in a small growing area
  • Faster vegging and flowering times, which means faster harvests
  • More efficient use of lighting & space
  • These grows are great sources for clippings and future clones
By starting the flowering stage much earlier than usual, you force the plants to create buds quickly. Because your plants will be in such tight quarters, a canopy of buds forms under your light, giving your canopy all the light it needs to grow efficiently. This technique is perfect for growers using smaller spaces, and even bigger growers with multiple growing tables. If your goal is yielding big harvests fast, SOG is the technique you'll need to learn. 

Sea of Green Technique

You'll be surprised how easy it is to pull this grow method off, and excited for the yields you be getting more often.

Now before we dive in, we have a couple of quick notes about this method:
  • This method works best with 4 more plants- If you have too few plants this method will not work. The goal is to create a collective canopy formed by plants to take advantage of the light.
  • Too many plants in your grow space and you'll start to see more branch growth and less bud production- There's little light that will hit the branches below the canopy, which means your plants will make the most out of your light, spending less time making branches and more time making buds. Make sure you have room in your grow for your plants to maximize your light coverage
So now that we've got that settled, let's start by gathering your plants. For our example, we'll use some female clones in a grow space, putting each plant within a 1 sq.ft. area (12x12") of each other.
  • Low-stress train your plants to grow out instead of up: About two weeks after you transplant your clones into bigger buckets tie a small bit of string or twist-tie to each branch of your plant and lightly bend the branch so that it sits flat instead of reaching up.
    • Note: Make sure to keep a close eye on your clones and be ready to take that string off when the branches start to get thicker during the flowering stages (around 5-6 weeks). Keeping them tied down through the life of the plant can snap the branches or uproot your plant altogether.
  • Vegetation Timing: You'll want to use a vegging light cycle for about 2-3 weeks (18hr on/6hr off; or 24 hours, depending on the strain being grown).
  • Flowering Timing: After a brief vegging period, you'll begin flowering your growing plants. Switch your lighting schedule to 12hr on/12hr off until your plants are ready to harvest.
    • Note: Flowering-to-harvest times will vary from plant to plant, so make sure you keep an eye out on your plants for ripeness and don't miss your window to harvest
Sound simple, right? That's because it is. Even though you'll need more than a few plants to pull it off, once you get the hang of it you'll wonder why you didn't use SOG in your grow room before. Like all tricks in the garden, there are some things to be aware of while you're using it in your garden: Sea of Green Tips
  • Be sure that plants are at an even height and watch out for hot spots of light on the canopy- This method bunches multiple plants together in order to create a big wide canopy, which is why the spread of your light is more important than its focus. A bigger canopy means the light is hitting more buds than with spaced out plants, so be sure to train and space your plants out enough to light them evenly
  • Do regular pruning of branches and excess foliage- Trimming growth below your canopy will allow your plants to use their energy for bud production rather than branch growth. Some growers prefer some foliage below their canopy, while others prefer to lollipop their plants, meaning they trim virtually everything below the few branches that carry the canopy
  • The plants you yield will be smaller than plants grown with a traditional method- This may come as a shock, but the one thing people neglect to tell you about SOG is that your yields won't be as much as they would be using traditional methods. That's because you're forcing the plant to put out flowers, buds, and fruit much earlier than it naturally does. However, the yield quantity will be larger per square foot than a single large plant. Instead of growing lots of tall plants, you grow fewer wider plants that have lots of smaller buds
  • Flowering time will vary from strain to strain- All plants will take different amounts of time to finish their flowering stage, and SOG'ed plants are no exception. The key is to start flowering early. Make sure you know the strain you have and its flowering time to assure proper growth and harvesting.
  • Not all strains will be viable with the "SOG" method- Short, fast flowering plants do best with this method. Longer plants with long branches do not do so well because they're more focused on branch and stem growth and less flower production.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness

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