If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you are probably excited about spring (provided of course your locally imposed lockdown isn’t keeping you from going outdoors), after all it is the season of new life and the best time to develop your green thumb. If you’re feeling experimental or in need of a challenge, then perhaps one of the many exciting growing techniques are worth considering. We’ve discussed indoor vs. outdoor as well as soil vs. hydroponics, but the things that you can do in a cannabis garden certainly don’t end there. Growing cannabis can be very easy, especially if you just leave everything up to nature. It can also be quite challenging, particularly if you put yourself in control of everything, but the results here can be just as rewarding, if not more.
Acronyms to the rescue: SOG vs ScrOG
There’s no shortage of acronyms in the cannabis world and upon first glance, any acronym might seem daunting, especially if you’re a novice. Although their descriptions might seem a little too advanced for a few gardeners, both are easier than they sound. On top of that, the results might even turn you into a convert. Let’s first have a look at the ‘less complicated’ of the two, ScrOG aka Screen of Green. The ‘green’ part of both techniques are rather clear, so what is this screen all about and what makes it so special? The screen is a type of netting that goes between the plant canopy and the lights. A greenhouse setup is also suitable for the ScrOG method, though outdoors things may get very tricky very fast as photoperiod plants are at the mercy of the sun, which means less control for the grower.
Stable, sturdy netting is placed just above the canopy so that once plants reach a certain height just above the net, they can be pulled right back down, thereby exposing their bud sites. With more parts of branches exposed to light, the plant will continue to grow very large buds in multiple locations, versus on just the main cola. By training plants to do so, they will not stretch as much and as a result will be shorter, yet bushier than untrained plants. You will also save space and yields will noticeably increase. With this technique, maintenance is rather low and even stretchy, narrow-leaf varieties (i.e. sativas) can look more like their indica brethren, which might be a concern for those with limited space.
The SOG or Sea of Green method is quite different in terms of setup and operation, but the yields can be just as impressive as the ScrOG technique. With the ScrOG method, seeds or clones (cuttings) can be used, however the SOG technique is based around clones as this method is also better in saving you time. In short, many cuttings are taken from a mother plant before she begins to flower. Rows of cuttings are arranged over the grow space to create a ‘sea’ of little plants, which don’t end up growing as large as plants using traditional methods, but each and every one of them will develop one large, luscious-looking cola at a much faster rate. With just one cola, trimming the plant is also a breeze compared to other techniques. Indica or indica-dominant hybrids are also much better suited for the SOG method as they take up less space while producing some big yields, something to consider if you don’t have much room in your grow. Flowering times are much faster in this case, so sativa varieties might not be as desirable since some can take more than two months to fully mature. The biggest disadvantage of the SOG technique is the amount of maintenance required. Since it is much faster than other methods, issues such as molds and pests don’t have that much time to develop, however if they do, they must also be dealt with faster, so be prepared to keep a constant eye on your grow. In both techniques, having a good light setup is also key, though the ScrOG method can be a little more forgiving as it allows for more time to take in light. Depending on your skill level and your available resources, both methods are very doable with a bit of instruction and practice, but once you get the hang of either, you might not want to turn back.
For the ScrOG method, give Chimeran Blue a try. For the SOG method, Northern Dragonaut is a suitable option.