Sea of green (SOG) is a growing technique that involves lots of plants bunched together into a small space. The plants are flipped earlier and finish quicker, increasing the number of yearly harvests.
In a 3×3 ft space, for example, a SOG will typically contain around 12 plants, but this can be increased further using smaller pots and flipping even sooner. Some growers will stuff up to 25 plants into a 3×3 space!
Once flipped, the plants create a green canopy (sea) that traps the light and concentrates growth. You end up with lots of bud sites in the smaller space, quicker turnarounds and more time for more harvests.
As with all aspects of your grow, make sure you’ve thought about everything you need before you start. Think about equipment, space and goals. In this article there’s a handy list to help you on your way.
How to prepare for your Sea of Green (SOG) method
1. Choose the correct type of cannabis strain
The first step to success is choosing a suitable cannabis strain. Pick something quick-flowering, compact and uniform. Indica varieties are great for a SOG; look for cultivars with a dominant central cola and minimal lateral branching. If you’re asking, can I use an autoflowering strain in my SOG?
First of all – great question! The answer is a resounding YES. Autoflowering cannabis strains are PERFECT for a Sea of Green. Their rapid growth and low stature are ideal. What are the best autoflowers for a SOG?
Lights are vital. While growing a SOG means changes to the normal light cycle (early flowering) the types of grow-lamp you need are the same as usual. You can use fluorescents for the very early stages but once you flip the plant to a 12/12 cycle, you’ll need a High Pressure Sodium (HPS) grow light.
Only HPS bulbs (or good-quality, modern LEDs) deliver enough energy to fatten up the flowers for a good harvest. HPS bulbs run HOT so make sure you ventilate and circulate.
Spacing is key. The number of plants you want to grow will inform pot size and spacing. If you want to cram 25 cannabis plants into a 3×3 space, you’ll need to consider a pot size NO bigger than a gallon (5 liters). Lower numbers, like 9 – 12 plants, will mean bigger pots but you don’t want anything much bigger than 2.5 gallons (11 liters).
4. Trimming and pruning
If you choose an indica or indica-dominant variety, trimming and pruning should be easy. You’ll have fewer lateral branches to remove and their growth is naturally focused towards the centre. Autos will also require very little (if anything) when it comes to maintenance.
5. Ventilate and circulate
The closely-packed plants in a sea of green are more vulnerable to mold, mildew, pests and pathogens. It is absolutely vital that you use a directional/oscillating fan to keep fresh air moving over and under the canopy, making sure stale air can be removed from the growing area.
The trimming of lower and lateral branching (as mentioned above) will help with ventilation, and a good dehumidifier will help prevent dampness and mold. If you’ve picked a sativa or sativa-dominant hybrid, you’ll need to keep removing the lower branches to reduce crowding.
This should focus growth into a thicker main bud while increasing overall light penetration. Whichever strain you choose, make sure the growth is concentrated in the upper canopy only, keeping the lower part of the plants well pruned.
Sea of Green Tutorial
Veg the plants until they have reached the desired height (10 to 12 inches is optimum for a SOG). This is down to personal preference and the potential stretch of the cultivars you have chosen. Be mindful of space but if you have lots of room, a little longer in veg shouldn’t pose too many problems.
4. Spacing the pots
Space the pots as evenly as possible and switch to a 12/12 light cycle.
5. Trimming and pruning
When a dense canopy has formed, remove the lower branches (you can keep them to create clones for your next SOG). Adequate ventilation is vital!
Add support if necessary and harvest when 5 to 10 percent of the trichomes turn amber or brown. Please refer to our guides on ripening your plants and harvesting your plants. If you want the best cure, you will want to check out Kyle’s amazing guide to curing your weed. Now you’re all set!
Sea of Green Strains
The best SOGs need the best seeds, here’s our top recommendations for a successful Sea of Green.
Northern Lights “Northern Lights is a compact, fast, dense vegetative plant capable of producing several trouble-free crops per year.” Kyle Kushman
White Widow “It has enormous power and a reassuring longevity that make it a stoner’s favorite.” Kyle Kushman
Early Skunk “If ever there was a cannabis product to have you counting down the hours at work, waiting to clock off, then this one’s it! It’s weighty and narcotic and will make your stresses and strains dissolve like a sugarlump in hot cocoa.” Kyle Kushman
Grape Ape “Thankfully, the aroma is far more grape than ape.” Kyle Kushman
The Pros and Cons of the Sea of Green
Pro: Sea of green increases yield and can double the number of yearly harvests.
Con: You have to buy more seeds to begin with.
Pro: A sea of green is very easy to execute.
Con: Any infestation will quickly spread among the tightly-packed plants.
Pro: The shorter cycle means fewer nutrients, less power and less water. This is good for the environment AND your bank account.
Con: More plants mean more maintenance, though the actual maintenance needed is basic.
Sea of Green Yield
The sea of green method is an easy way to improve yields WITHOUT sacrificing quality. It’s popular with commercial growers and a great way to produce high yields with limited space and time.
If you are trying to decide between a SOG and a SCROG (screen of green) please check out this article: What is the screen of green method?
If you’re still undecided then check out SCROG vs SOG with Kyle Kushman for an in-depth comparison of the two growing techniques. And, as always, if there’s else anything you need to ask about setting up a sea of green or actioning a sea of green, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
About the Author
Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing – he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!