Whether you’ve been growing cannabis for some time, or just starting off, you quickly find out there’s always room for improvements. Which is one reason why growing techniques and methods have been evolving over the years. One method that’s growing in popularity for its benefits of maximum yields, and minimum growing time, is Sea of Green or SOG. So, what is SOG, does it work for autoflowering plants, and how do you achieve it? We’re answering those questions and more in our ultimate guide to SOG, autoflowering edition.
What is Sea of Green?
The method, Sea of Green is aptly named for the end canopy that it produces. It describes the act of closely and densely spacing, multiple smaller plants in an indoor environment. As the plants grow side, by side, and begin to bloom, you’ll quickly notice the ‘Sea of Green’ form. SOG plants notoriously grow uniformly hence the uniform heights of green buds that give it its’ name.
The Sea of Green method originated from outdoor California farmers, who made the move indoors. Once inside, they sought methods to maximize their space while cutting costs on resources like water, nutrients, HVAC, and labor. That’s when they came to the realization that increasing the number of plants, with SOG, helped to use light and space more efficiently, and produced more harvests per year.
Beyond how and why SOG came to be, over time other key benefits to using the method have come to light. Below are the top examples of why Sea of Green is especially popular for autoflowering varieties.
Maximizing main growth
When cannabis plants grow normally, they have one main cola in the center that grows the tallest. With many side branches, and lower bud sites of growth. No matter where the bud site is located, the plant disperses its energy equally. In Sea of Green, by diverting the plant’s energy to the top canopy of growth, you’re rewarded with bigger, fatter buds.
Faster harvesting time
Speaking of energy, by defoliating and trimming lower branches more energy is given to the buds that’ll be harvested. This speeds up the growth cycle overall, meaning you’ll be harvesting in less time than normal.
Increased yields & harvests annually
The first two benefits lend to the third – with bigger buds, and faster-growing times, you’ll be increasing your yields and number of harvests per year in no time.
One good thing about autoflowers in general, is the lack of training the varieties require for maximum growth. Using the Sea of Green method, you’ll do even less as the plants will naturally grow uniformly.
If you have a small space or a small number of lights, SOG maximizes your efficiency. By allowing you to pack in as much quality bud grown more vertically, for better use of your resources.
When growing different strains normally, you have to take their unique size and shape into consideration for room size and growth. With SOG you’re able to successfully grow a wide range of strains, without having to consider their width.
Disadvantages of SOG
Of course, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not SOG is for you. Before we learn how to use Sea of Green techniques, let’s review the disadvantages that can arise
Plant number restrictions
When growing legally, there’s always a cap to the number of plants you can grow. Because SOG depends on multiplying the number of plants you grow at one time, restrictions can pose an issue.
Pests & mold
You’ll want to ensure you have optimal airflow in your SOG space, as the close spacing can make plants more susceptible to pests and mold.
Not every autoflowering strain is ideal for SOG. To get the most out of your Sea of Green methods, indica and hybrid cultivars are typically the best. That’s because they grow with lower heights and tighter internodal spacing than sativas. Plus, indicas tend to be more pest-resistant too. Keep in mind, it’s also difficult to grow indica and sativas at the same time, due to their varying shapes and sizes. While you can grow multiple strains at once with SOG, try to stick to all indicas, all hybrids, or all sativas when doing so.
How to use Sea of Green for Autoflowering Plants
One good thing about SOG, is it’s not hard for any grower to implement. Follow the steps and tips below, and you’ll be on your way to a Sea of Green in no time.
- The recommended spacing for SOG is 1 plant per square foot. Or, no more than 2 plants per square foot max depending on the strain and individual size. Because autoflowering varieties have no separate veg or bloom periods, you can begin SOG spacing from the start of growth.
- Make sure to keep everything equal per plant, during growth. That means equal light exposure, watering and nutrients.
1. Drip irrigation systems are ideal, since it can be difficult to maneuver around tight spaces.
- Without causing too much stress to your autoflowering plants, defoliate and remove lower branches or buds to maximize energy to the main cola and tops of the plant.
- Keep a close eye on your plants as they grow, considering molds can spread faster than normal with the close proximity of the plants.
New Techniques for Improving Yields
The Sea of Green technique is easy to implement and delivers high-yielding results. If you have the space and legalities to use SOG, it can be highly beneficial for your operation. Not only will you maximize the yields you harvest, but you’ll do so in a quicker time period than normal. So, use the information and tips you’ve learned today to begin improving the way you grow, and getting the most bang for your buck.