Sea of Green Growing cannabis is surprisingly simple: all you need are a few seeds, pots, water and light. If, however, you want to maximise yields and also save time, you will do best with a Sea of Green. No other growing approach will allow you to harvest so much in so little time.
The pioneering spirit of the Dutch is the stuff of legends. Want some examples? The telescope and the microscope, stock exchanges, Fairtrade, CD’s, Bluetooth are all Dutch inventions. It was also the Dutch who developed a new way of growing cannabis in the 1970s, which would change commercial growing forever.
We are talking about the Sea of Green method, which combines two major benefits: maximum yields and minimum time invested. Sound too good to be true? Not at all! With a few simple tips, any keen gardener can successfully grow cannabis.
Sea of Green
The cultivation of cannabis indoors presents the grower with the same challenge every time: how do you make best use if the (limited) space available and how do you ensure that the plants get as much light as possible? The answer: Sea of Green.
This approach to cultivation uses a lot of small plants, instead of a few large plants. The growth phase is deliberately kept short, so that the space is completely filled and the light efficiency can be maximised.
Which cannabis varieties are suitable for a Sea of Green?
It is important to use a suitable variety of cannabis and the best idea is to use clones from a single parent plant. This will ensure that the plants all grow in the same way. Growing identical plants for a short period is the main key to success with a Sea of Green.
Auto-flowering cannabis varieties shift automatically to the flowering stage within a few weeks of germination. They are a popular choice for a SOG. On the other hand, auto-flowering seeds tend to develop a branch structure with a wide reach. In addition, because of their Ruderalis genes, they will never develop buds as large and potent as those from seasonal cannabis.
Going from growth to flowering phase
The ideal pot size is around 15 cm, holding 4 to 6 litres. This means the plants will be fully mature at a height of 30 to 50 cm.
Anyone living in a small apartment, or working with a Micro Grow Setup, will understand the benefits offered by only needing a small vertical space. Experienced growers can even use shelves to stack several growing levels on top of each other.
A common mistake is to assume that the pots need to be placed as close together as possible. This creates a seamless plant surface area, which initially sounds like a great idea. But what this actually means is that the plants are competing directly with each other, with the result that they try to outgrow each other. This “jungle effect” causes stress for the plants, which in turn leads to less biomass or less bud formation.
It is better if the plants do not initially touch each other. The ideal timing for a Sea of Green is not during the first one or two weeks of the vegetation phase, but instead from about the fourth week of the bud formation.
Opinions differ as to how long the vegetation phase should last. There are growers who trigger the flowering phase after just a few days, but it is better to wait 10 to 14 days before doing so. The plants are still very young at this point.
If you then change the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness, the plants will devote all their energy to creating one main bud. Now is the time to check that the light sources are hanging high enough to avoid creating any hot spots. Incorrectly placing the lamps is one of the most common errors in the cultivation of cannabis.
Uniformity is the answer
Proper care is everything when it comes to successful SOG cultivation. All the plants must be treated equally. This applies to the lighting and supply of nutrients, as well as watering and pruning. Drip systems have proven useful, because they ensure that all plants receive the same quantities of water and nutrients.
It is worth carefully pruning the plants during both the vegetation and flowering stages. If you remove the lower branches, then the plants have more energy to put into forming buds. The goal is for the plants to put all their energy into forming the main bud.
Superfluous leaves and spindly side branches should be removed during the flowering phase. A welcome side effect of this is that it improves the circulation of air.
Important: Great care must be taken with any intervention on growing plants! If you remove too many leaves or branches at once, you run the risk of the plants going into shock and ceasing to grow normally, or producing fewer buds.
Quick summary of the pros and cons of Sea of Green:
+ maximum yields in minimum time
+ multiple harvests per year
+ multiple layers growing above each other
+ not much vertical space required
+ very well suited for commercial growers
+ particularly well-suited for Indica varieties
– Indica and Sativa varieties cannot easily be combined
– more time needed to tend the plants (large number of plants)
– because a large number of plants are needed, you may end up breaking the law
– pests and diseases can spread very quickly
The perfect method of cultivation? There is no such thing!
Every growing method has its pros and cons. Depending on where you are, the available space, equipment, experience, and not forgetting personal preferences, one method or another may be best for you. Getting your hands dirty beats book learning here. It generally takes a few test runs before you master any particular approach to cultivation.