Sea of green in Italian translates as "sea of green", but it has nothing to do with the very hot summer we are experiencing. The "sea of green" is a technique aimed at maximizing the yield of cannabis grown in restricted environments, which do not allow large plants to be easily managed.
This is a cultivation method included in the so-called Low Stress Training techniques, or LST, whose objective is to alter the chemical balance of the plants, pushing them to take on a shape different from the "natural" one, maximizing their yield without causing severe stress. If left to grow naturally, cannabis will focus all its energy on developing a main bud that will grow as much as it can, negatively impacting the yield and quality of the crop.
LTS techniques consist of bending and tying the branches of the cannabis plant to modify its shape and optimize its development. There are also other equally valid techniques for giving shape to plants, but they involve pruning the branches and, consequently, severe stress for the plant.
The objective of the LST technique is only one: the structure of the plant is manipulated in order to create bushier plants , instead of letting them grow with the typical Christmas tree structure . The branches are bent to create a flatter apical coverage and favor the development of a greater number of main buds, which will receive light in a greater and more uniform way.
What is the Sea of Green?
Sea Of Green is an indoor growing technique invented by Dutch growers in the 1970s . This method consists of growing more small plants per square meter , optimizing indoor growing spaces and maximizing final yields. Normally, feminized seeds or clones are used for this cultivation practice , which are grown in grow boxes or grow rooms to obtain multiple harvests per year.
The SOG technique is ideal for growers with space limitations, as it requires minimal heights and efficiently uses every square inch of surface area . SOG pushes the plant to produce large flowers, avoiding the so-called popcorn buds, with many small buds that remain underdeveloped due to the lack of light.
How is it practiced?
There are many ways to practice the Sea of Green. The method considered best involves the use of a large number of plants per square meter , typically between 20 (5x4) and 36 (6x6). Since cannabis plants will tend to remain more compact within the growing space, it is advisable to use 3-7 liter pots , in order to minimize the space between plants. A fundamental measure is the provision of an automatic irrigation system; in fact, due to the small distances between the plants, it may be difficult to water them evenly.
Once the arrangement of the plants has been established, the vegetative phase must pass, which varies from genetic to genetic, but in most cases varies between 15 and 30 days . As soon as the plants have reached a height of 20/30 cm, you can proceed to force the flowering phase, bringing the light cycle to 12/12. For SoG, varieties that tend to naturally produce a single dominant central bud and minimal lateral branching are usually used.
If you want to grow very small plants, with large central buds, you can also immediately force the flowering phase, setting the cultivation on a photoperiod of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness from the beginning.
It is very important to carefully choose the pots to use. The density of plants per square meter is very high and the pots must be large enough to allow the development of healthy roots. Pots that are too small could continually tip over, putting the entire cannabis crop at risk. It is optimal to use pots with a diameter between 20 and 30cm. They could certainly be slightly larger, but you will need some space between the plants for manual watering and maintenance.
SOG vs ScrOG
It sounds like a tongue twister, but it's not! The ScroG technique can be confused with the Sea of Green if its characteristics are not well known. Screen of Green is a cultivation method that shares objectives and needs with SOG: both techniques, in fact, aim to increase the yield per square meter as much as possible , in order to obtain satisfactory harvests even in limited space conditions .
The main difference lies in the use of a metal mesh , without which the ScrOG technique cannot be applied: a large mesh mesh must be used, large enough to be crossed by leaves and branches of the underlying plants.
The support can also be made by hand using normal fencing wire, or alternatively you can use a plastic net or a rope fixed to a frame. The purpose of the net is to act as a barrier to the excessive growth of the plants, in order to limit their height. With SrcOG the lateral branches, which would have developed little and with small flowers, become healthy and robust branches exposed to light in a uniform manner .
Direct light will allow the smaller flowers to grow healthily and become as large as those on the main bud. The other difference with the Sea of Green is in the size of the pots: the ScrOG pots are larger, to allow the roots to grow, thus obtaining larger plants. The even distribution of light on a Screen of Green allows you to fill an entire grow room with fewer plants that have a large amount of evenly sized flowers.
pros and cons
The Sea Of Green technique allows you to obtain many advantages, making the most of small spaces. Let's see the four considered most significant by growers:
- In a grow room that is not too large you can obtain up to 6/7 harvests per year depending on the strain used;
- It allows you to maximize production and increase the commercial value of both small spaces and large greenhouses;
- Growing small plants means simplifying and speeding up processes , therefore less waste of biomass;
- It is a technique suitable for most cultivation methods : it responds very well to hydroponic cultivation, with glass wool and coconut fibre.
Like all cultivation techniques that modify the shape and growth cycle of cannabis plants, the SOG technique also has its disadvantages. Here are the four cons shared by growers:
- SOG only works well when applied to the same cannabis strain in a single grow room.
- It requires many more clones than using classic seeds.
- In a SOG where the irrigation system is reticular, an infected plant can soon ruin or infect the rest of the crop . If the strain is susceptible to a certain pest or mold, even a single plant can ruin everything.
- It is necessary to regularly prune the lower foliage , especially in the initial phase, to allow the plants to get air and light to penetrate.
What are the best strains for SOG?
Not all cannabis plants are the same, so there are some that - better than others - lend themselves to being treated with the Sea of Green technique. These are plants that by nature tend not to reach very large dimensions and above all have a short flowering period, which makes them perfect for SOG.
- Haze Berry is an indica particularly suitable for treating pain and stress. Cold climates increase the chance of getting a Blueberry with purple or blue hues, which is reflected in the delicious, sweet blueberry flavors of its inflorescences.
- White Widow is a strain famous for its powerful effects. It has a very strong high, with important body effects and a widespread and stimulating sense of joy that wards off stress and anxiety. It has an earthy flavor with light citrus notes.
- Northern Light is a great old school classic, famous for its spicy flavors and light earthy fragrance. It is known to effectively relieve depression, insomnia and physical pain. It is an easy plant to follow, with rather accelerated flowering, favored by the SOG method, without compromising its quality.
- Critical is another great strain for the SOG technique thanks to its short growing times . This is a high-quality 60% indica-dominant hybrid. She is known for producing heavy yields and releasing strong Skunk aromas, with traces of blueberry and chocolate. As long as the environmental conditions are warm and not too humid, you can get great results from growing Critical's SOG.
- The Bubblegum XL is perfect for SOG. It releases absolutely delicious aromas of candy, blueberries and flowers and gives a pleasant "high". It is a plant that tends to grow little by nature, so it lends itself perfectly to becoming a sea of green. It is a balanced hybrid, 60% sativa and 40% indica.