Coco coir is a relatively new growing medium available these days for the hydroponics soil less culture. Coco coir is being produced as a bi-product of the coconut tree. Coconut husk is processed to produce fibrous material for use as a growing medium.
Coconut coir (fiber made out of coconut shells) has been used in different parts of the world for many years. Initially this fiber had been used for making twine, mats and brooms by western civilizations, but it had never been looked at as a growing medium for plant growth in the western world, although it had been used as a growing medium in ancient India and China. The use of this product as a medium for plant growth started in the late ’80s, and moved into the commercial sector in the early 90s. Since then its use has increased day by day in home gardening, growing roses and vegetable production, and in the hydroponics industry in general.
Coconut coir is one of the most versatile materials man has ever extracted from Mother Nature. It has traveled a long way since its humble beginnings as the ubiquitous tying ropes. Coir today is used to make everything from door mats to rugs, rubberized coir mattresses, decorative rugs, garden supplies and growing medium. It is not just a natural product – it also has some winning advantages that make this product a premium choice for modern soil less growing systems.
Coco coir is a proven best alternative to any growing media. Its use as a growing medium outperforms any other medium used for growing vegetables, ornamentals and tree plants. Its soft structure promotes easy root penetration and healthy growth. Coco coir is 100% environmentally friendly. It is a renewable resource that is consistent in quality. Coco coir has the best physical and chemical properties to promote better plant growth.
- Coco has high water-holding capacity. It can hold water up to eight times of its weight and release it over a period of time.
- Coco has ideal pH in the range of 6-6.7
- It has excellent drainage and air porosity for better plant growth
- Coco is very low in EC and carries mostly potassium salts, which is an essential major plant nutrient
- Cation exchange capacity is very good
- Coco coir has some anti-fungal properties that help plants to get rid of soil borne diseases. It inhibits pathogens like Pithium
- Coco is very easy to re-hydrate after being dehydrated
- It is a biodegradable source that degrades very slowly and has a life of three to four years
- Contains significant amounts of phosphorous (10-50ppm) and potassium (150-450 ppm)
As mentioned above Coco coir is not just a natural product with very good properties for plant growth – it also has some winning advantages over other growing mediums.
- Advantages of Coco Coir
- It is a 100% renewable resource
- Coco coir is light in weight
- It is consistent in high quality
- Coco coir is completely environmentally friendly
- The top of the product layer in grow bags/pots always remain dry, leaving behind no chances of fungal growth
- Coco coir never shrinks, cracks or produces crust
- It promotes better root systems in a short time
- Coco coir is odorless, pleasant to handle, and uniform in composition
Coco is available in disks, bricks, or blocks. Simply break the blocks or bricks into smaller pieces.
Soak these broken Coco blocks (smaller pieces) in water for a few hours.
Removal of Excess Salts (Untreated Source)
There are many untreated coco coir products available in the market, and a few that are already treated. For those untreated products, after soaking, add additional good quality water and let it stand for a few hours. This will bring out the excess of sodium and chloride in the solution. Drain the coco in order to get rid of the excess sodium and chloride. This coco is now ready for use. Use in containers or in bags for better growth of any kind of plants.
Coco coir can also be used as compost in gardens after plants have been harvested. With the use of coco as a medium there would be no problem of over or under watering. Once it is filled in bags, coco coir can last up to three to four years. It has naturally occurring potassium. Coco coir also has 60% water-filled space, and the rest is air-filled space which makes the product a very good choice for better plant growth.