Sea Of Green Tutorial
Sea of green for cannabis is a technique where a high density of plants is used to reduce vegetation times and improve the overall efficiency of the grow by utilizing the light source as much as possible. In this sea of green tutorial, we will cover different aspects such as, why do a sea of green for cannabis, how to do a sea of green for cannabis and more. So, let’s get started.
Why Do A Sea Of Green
Sea of green for cannabis (SOG) is about the most efficient plant configuration system there is. It is actually not a plant training technique per se, but a system chosen by the grower. The system typically works by filling a grow space with a relatively large number of plants. This provides more initial energy, which fills in the horizontal space more quickly. This means that you are making maximum efficient use of your light throughout the grow.
Regardless of the plant training techniques that you use, the goal is always to fill the horizontal space that your lights can cover. See our article, “Why You Should Train Cannabis Plants”. With a sea of green for cannabis, the larger number of plants means that each plant does not have to be very large in order to accomplish this goal. This can reduce vegetation time by weeks. In a SOG, plants can be kept in vegetation for anywhere from 1 to 3.5 weeks.
A SOG is only truly a SOG, when you do not have to train your plants to fill in the horizontal space. If you have the space to train your plants, then it is not technically a SOG. We provide specific advice for the number of plants you need in different set-ups below.
We recommend using clones rather than seeds for predictability and consistency. Seeds can vary more widely during early growth. This makes a less than ideal canopy and increases the difficulty in maintaining the grow.
The benefits of a sea of green for cannabis: Faster grows, higher yields, more efficient.
The drawbacks of a sea of green for cannabis: Need to use more seeds or clones, more plants to care for.
How To Do A Sea Of Green For Cannabis
Plants Per Square Foot:
Plants per square foot is a useful metric for working out the optimal range for SOG plant numbers. There is a minimum number of plants needed to run a SOG, but also a maximum number beyond which you experience diminishing returns. We recommend 0.56 plants per square foot as the minimum. With 1 plant per square foot being the ideal sweet spot. With fewer plants you would be advised to train them to help fill the canopy faster. At the other extreme, 2.25 plants per square foot is the upper limit. Within that range, higher densities allow you to achieve the maximum benefits of the SOG.
To calculate the ideal number of plants, you need to start with the square footage of your grow space. For example, the typical 4’ x 4’ grow tent has about 16 square feet. You then multiply by the proposed plant density, keeping in mind that higher densities reduce vegetation time. As stated above the density for a SOG should be between 0.56 and 2.25 plants per square foot. For our 4’ x 4’ tent that converts to anywhere from 9 to 36 plants.
Although different configurations can be accommodated as we describe below, the 1 square foot rule is a very effective way to plan a SOG. One square foot per plant generally requires a 2.5 -week vegetation period and is a good balance between speed and work required to manage the grow.
Grow Size, Plant Numbers & Vegetation Time:
The number of plants for an actual SOG set-up depends first on the grow area size. In any grow area different combinations are possible as we outline below. The density of the SOG has a direct bearing on the expected length of time needed for vegetative growth. Therefore, we provide both plant numbers and expected vegetation times for different grow area sizes.
The plants that you grow together in a SOG need to be arranged in a grid to make maximum use of the light. As a result, SOGs can be grown with configurations of 2x2 (4plants), 3x3 (9 plants), 4x4 (16 plants), 5x5 (25 plants), etc.
2x2 Grow Areas:
4 Plants (1 Plant Per Square Foot) = 2-week vegetation
9 Plants (2.25 Plants Per Square Foot) = 1-week vegetation
3x3 Grow Areas:
9 Plants (1 Plant Per Square Foot) = 2-week vegetation
16 Plants (1.77 Plants Per Square Foot) = 2-week vegetation
4 x 4 Grow Areas:
9 Plants (0.56 Plants Per Square Foot) = 3.5-week vegetation
16 Plants (1 Plant Per Square Foot) = 2-week vegetation
25 Plants (1.56 Plants Per Square Foot) = 1.5-week vegetation
5x5 Grow Areas:
16 Plants (0.64 Plants Per Square Foot) = 3-week vegetation
25 Plants (1 Plant Per Square Foot) = 2-week vegetation
36 Plants (1.44 Plants Per Square Foot) = 1.5-week vegetation
49 Plants (1.96 Plants Per Square Foot) = 1-week vegetation
The pot sizes needed is going to depend on the length of vegetation. You can base your expectations on the table above and use this guide to determine your transplant strategy and final container sizes. We recommend fabric pots for all containers
0-week vegetation: Start plants in 1-gallon pots, no transplanting.
1-week vegetation: Start and stay in 1-gallon or start plants in ½ gallon fabric pots and transplant to 2-gallon at the flip.
2-week vegetation: Start plants in ½ gallon fabric pots, transplant to 2-gallon 3 days before the flip.
3-week vegetation: Start plants in ½ gallon fabric pots, transplant to 2 or 3-gallon around day 18.
4-week vegetation: Start plants in ½ gallon pots, transplant to 3-gallon around day 18.
We provide vegetation times as a guideline but not as a definitive rule. Many variables such as the skill of the grower, light sources and more can affect the length of vegetation that will be required. You will want to vegetate your plants long enough so that nearly all horizontal space is filled by the plants before you flip to flowering. But still leaving enough space left for the flowering stretch to fill in. If you reach this point sooner go ahead and flip the plants to 12/12 lighting. If your plants have not mostly filled the canopy by the timelines we provide, then you should continue to vegetate them until they do.
During the process of growing your sea of green crops, care and maintenance is needed for healthy and efficient growth. This includes using techniques such as pruning or lollipopping, which will help direct energy to the main flowering sites. Also, although we say that a SOG means no plant training, if your plants need to be trained, then do so. Some forms of pruning may be beneficial to prevent crowding and overgrowth. This will need to be assessed throughout the entire grow, but remember, you want to focus on these practices during vegetation only, as it is not advised to perform high stress training during the flowering period.
Enjoy your adventures with a Sea of Green!