Sea of Green (SOG) is a method of growing in which a large number of very small plants are harvested, having been brought to maturity early, so as to achieve the fastest possible production of flowers. Instead of letting just a few plants take a long time to grow, the same amount of space is used to pack loads of much smaller plants into and ripen quicker. This has important advantages, especially when looking at your monthly electricity bill.
A small group of plants can be being grown while another is ripening, thanks to which you can harvest all year round. Four plants per 30 cm2 is a good start for the seedlings. A single plant per 30 cm2 gives each plant enough space to form a long, fat bud, but not for the lowest branches to develop. But that’s just fine, as indoors these branches are always poorly illuminated anyway, and unless they’re given extra lighting will never develop very well.
Indoor growers soon realise that plants that are too tall do not develop their buds sufficiently, thanks to which the extra growing time is not worth the effort. The exception to this rule is plants that are grown in order to be moved outdoors at a later stage in the growth cycle, and it is unlikely that the issue of light and shade plays such a large role in this case. If the plants are sown at the same time, they have no choice but to form a canopy together that should make sure that most of the light they receive falls on top of each plant. Given that the plants are stood so close to each other, there will not be much light making it way down to the lower branches.
The grower tries to concentrate on the upper parts of the plant, and in as little amount of time as possible achieve as much as possible with the space and light that’s available. Tensioning a nylon chicken fence or some similar mesh above the leaf canopy gives support to the plants (once they’ve grown through the mesh) as they begin to bend from the weight of their buds. Stakes can also be used for this, but these are not as easy to position around the plants that are in the middle or at the back of the grow space.
It goes without saying that you want big plants, given that your harvest per plant is correspondingly bigger. But for smaller spaces it is usually better to grow smaller plants that ripen quicker and can be positioned closer to each other.
The Sea of Green method was developed in the Netherlands. Instead of growing four big plants, growers put 12 smaller plants on a plank above 12 more plants. The time duration between germination and harvesting is 3 to 4 months, and harvesting can be done every 45 to 60 days, given that the grower has reserved separate spaces for growing and blooming. It is not the dimensions of the plant that are important, but the quality and weight of the buds. Twice as many plants that are only half as big fill the growing space twice as fast, thanks to which harvesting can take place twice as often. Try to get hold of early flowering plants, and only grow plants that are of good quality.
It is better to grow two to four times as many plants, since they take up the same amount of space and deliver in a shorter time. Also, "training" plants with string is a good way of making them a bit more voluminous. To do this, take a plastic cord and tie this to the top of the plant, and then pull this so that the top is bent by 90 to 180 degrees, then tie the cord to the stem at the bottom of the plant. Let the plant stand like this for a week, and then untie the cord again. In this way the plant can be encouraged to take up less vertical space and develop a rounder shape, so that the grow space in nicely filled up, and the lower branches are forced to grow upwards and add themselves to the leaf canopy.
This technique is based on the fact that when the top is bowed, it triggers a hormonal reaction in plant that stimulates her to branch even more. The Sea of Green method is mainly geared to the harvesting of the top bud of the plant. The lowest branches are pruned for a better airflow under the "carpet" of growing buds. You can use these trimmed branches to make clones, since they do tend to root relatively easily.