View Full Version : Growing with COCO COIR
05-11-2007, 05:53 AM
Okay to start things off though I want to list some things that are important that has to be done to your coco ,coco/other soiless like perlite ect. mixes before you can plant in it and also note the main differences between soil and coco and why the coco is getting to be the preferred method of growing indoors.
1. No matter what brand of coco you get I would flush it out as much as humanly possible with HOT water. Hot water will dissolve the sea salts that has built up in the coco and it will leach out of the bottom of whatever container you decide to do the "flushing" in.This decreases your chances of a too saline medium.
2. Coco is best mixed with either hydroton or perlite at a rate of perlite/hydroton to coco of no greater than 50/50. 70/30 or 60/40 coco to perlite/hydroton is the most commonly used method.
3. You MUST buy yourself some epsom salts or a Calcium/ Magnesium supplement! This is IMPORTANT because the coco witholds Ca/Mg and releases (K).
4.Any good fertilizer line will work with coco.(Botanicare, Metanaturals, Fox Farms..ect.) There really isn't a need for coco specific nutrients.
5. Before planting small seedlings or anything into the coco it is suggested that you pre-fertilize with 1/4 strength nutrient solution with some epsom salts/CalMag mixed in as the COCO is barren of all nutrients.
6. Try not to let your COCO completely dry out between waterings.
7. It can be treated like either soil or hydro and has the benefits of both as you can water as much as once to twice a day(treating it like hydro) you can get tremendous growth as the coco ( if mixed with perlite/ hydroton) pretty much can never be overwatered...ever.
8. Or you can treat it like soil and water it every 2-3 days.
9. When mixed with perlite/ hydroton the mix has an almost perfect air/water retention ratio of 50/50.
10. Keep your ph between 5.5 and 6.0 to avoid too many problems if you are using the coco as hydro. 6.5-6.7 if you plan on treating it more like a soil.(i.e. adding amendments and watering on 2-3 day schedule)
05-11-2007, 05:54 AM
What is Coco Peat (Coir) and why is it desirable as a soiless growing media?
This info courtesy of cnowy grower on hg420.com
Coco (Coir) is the outside layer of husk that surrounds the shell of the coconut.
It consists mainly of fibres, which have traditionally been used to manufacture rope, carpets, doormats, upholstery stuffing, brushes etc.
Between these fibres is the corky substance called coir pith or coir dust which has recently been widely recognised as the superior growing medium in which to grow tomatoes, roses and many other crops.
The horticulture industry often calls this substrate coco-peat or coir-peat. Sometimes it is known by similar sounding brand names
Why Coir you ask...
For starters it has excellent "Air Porosity qualities":
Coir maintains excellent air porosity even when saturated and gives better crops with faster developing roots and more flowers and fruit per plant when used correctly.
It also has excellent "Water Retention" qualities:
Coir has better water retention qualities then peat and other growing media...
That all means that coco has an excellent air/water ratio for horticultural purposes .
It quickly Reabsorbs Water From A Dry State:
Coir peat absorbs moisture immediately, even from a dry state, unlike sphagnum peat which tends to shrink when dry and form a crust.
This causes water run-off from the top surface and water loss between the peat and the inside edge of the flower pot. Thus plants growing in coir tend to recover quicker from dry conditions.
The ease of re-wetting and the quick drainage characteristics of coir means that coir needs to be irrigated less frequently and for shorter periods.
This leads to reduced leaching losses of nutrients and lower water use.
Faster Germination Times And Quicker Seedling Rotations:
The inherent qualities of coir and the optimum water/air availability are ideal for quick rooting and propagation. ..
Environmentally Preferable to the Alternatives:
In its unprocessed state, coir dust is a waste product in its country of origin.
Its use therefore, does not involve the destruction of peat bogs and natural wetland wildlife habitat.
It is a renewable resource with no hazardous disposal problems (unlike some alternatives such as rock wool).
Having carefully researched the question, Horticultural Coir Ltd (who's website this article is from) is quite satisfied that the fossil fuel consumption associated with the transport of coir from Asia are no greater, and most likely significantly less that the fuel costs involved in the production and transport of peat-moss and rock-wool...
It degrades Slower Than Many of Its Rivals:
The lignin content of around 45% ensures that the excellent water/air ratio is maintained over a longer period of time.
Thus, for example, good performance is maintained over the commercial life of a rose plant which my be over 5 yeas.
It is free from Soil Diseases:
Because Coir originates above ground, it does not contain any soil diseases.
In fact several studies have indicated that coir substrate brings increased resistance to pythium and other root diseases.
The Production Process (How it's made):
The entire coconut husk is soaked in water and the fibres removed at the fibre factory for the production of brushes, rope, carpets, matting, etc.
The coir pith is unused and becomes a bye-product of the fibre factory process.
Depending upon many factors including the local climate, the soaking method and the particular processes used in the coir fibre factory, the coir pith may be suitable for horticultural use.
If it is of suitable quality, it is moved from the coir fibre factory and the coir pith is then sieved to remove large fibres.
Sieve size and thus particle size will be determined by customers' requirements.
Usually, coir pith is washed at this point to reduce the unwanted salts before being dried to less than 20% moisture.
The coir will then be compressed into a less bulky form suitable for shipment.
This may be in the form of grow-bags, small 650-gram briquettes or larger blocks. Compression will vary according to customer's requirements but in most cases it will usually be between 4:1 up to an 8 To 1 ratio.
05-11-2007, 05:54 AM
Here is some more from Snowey Mountain over on HG420 ... all credit goes to him...
More Coco (Coir) Trivia
Coir is a coarse fibre extracted from husk, the fibrous outer shell of a coconut.
The individual fibre cells are narrow and hollow, with thick walls made of cellulose. They are pale when immature but later become hardened and yellowed as a layer of lignin, is deposited on their walls. Mature brown coir fibres contain more lignin and less cellulose than fibres such as flax and cotton and so are stronger but less flexible. They are made up of small threads, each less than 0.05 inch (1.3 mm) long and 10 to 20 micrometres in diameter. White fibre is smoother and finer, but also weaker.
The coir fibre is relatively water-proof and is the only natural fibre resistant to damage by salt water.
Green coconuts, harvested after about six to twelve months on the plant, contain pliable white fibres. Brown fibre is obtained by harvesting fully mature coconuts when the nutritious layer surrounding the seed is ready to be processed into copra and desiccated coconut. The fibrous layer of the fruit is then separated from the hard shell (manually) by driving the fruit down onto a spike to split it(De-husking). Machines are now available which crush the whole fruit to give the loose fibres.
The fibrous husks are soaked in pits or in nets in a slow moving body of water to swell and soften the fibres. The long bristle fibres are separated from the shorter mattress fibres underneath the skin of the nut, a process known as wet-milling. The mattress fibres are sifted to remove dirt and other rubbish, dried and packed into bales. Some mattress fibre is allowed to retain more moisture so that it retains its elasticity for 'twisted' fibre production. The coir fibre is elastic enough to twist without breaking and it holds a curl as though permanently waved. Twisting is done by simply making a rope of the hank of fibre and twisting it using a machine or by hand. The longer bristle fibre is washed in clean water and then dried before being tied into bundles or hunks. It may then be cleaned and 'hackled' by steel combs to straighten the fibres and remove any shorter fibre pieces. Coir bristle fibre can also be bleached and dyed to obtain hanks of different colours.
The immature husks are suspended in a river or water-filled pit for up to ten months. During this time micro-organisms break down the plant tissues surrounding the fibres to loosen them - a process known as retting. Segments of the husk are then beaten by hand to separate out the long fibres which are subsequently dried and cleaned. Cleaned fibre is ready for spinning into yarn using a simple one-handed system or a spinning wheel.
Brown coir is used in brushes, doormats, mattresses and sacking. A small amount is also made into twine. Pads of curled brown coir fibre, made by needle-felting (a machine technique that mats the fibres together) are shaped and cut to fill mattresses and for use in erosion control on river banks and hillsides. A major proportion of brown coir pads are sprayed with rubber latex which bonds the fibres together (rubberized coir) to be used as upholstery padding for the automobile industry in Europe. The material is also used for insulation and packaging. The major use of white coir is in rope manufacture. Mats of woven coir fibre are made from the finer grades of bristle and white fibre using hand or mechanical looms.
Coir is recommended as substitute for milled peat moss because it is free of bacteria and fungal spores.
Total world coir fibre production is 250,000 tonnes. The coir fibre industry is particularly important in some areas of the developing world. India, mainly the coastal region of Kerala State, produces 60% of the total world supply of white coir fibre. Sri Lanka produces 36% of the total world brown fibre output. Over 50% of the coir fibre produced annually throughout the world is consumed in the countries of origin, mainly India.
05-11-2007, 05:56 AM
Best Alternative to Mined Peat Moss.
CoCo Coir Peat is a proven natural alternative to mined peat moss, therefore using it helps slow down peat extraction from environmentally sensitive swamps world wide. Used as a growing medium/potting medium CoCo Coir Peat outperforms most of the popular brands of Peat and Sphagnum Peats.
Healthy root growth is easy with CoCo Coir Peat 100% natural organic coir. Derived from the husk of the coconut, it is an excellent growing medium for both commercial and home gardening applications. The Hydroponic and Horticulture Industries have observed that plants grown with the aid of coir develop larger roots, stems and blooms. This is because unlike ordinary soil, which is usually compacted, CoCo Coir Peat provides more breathing space and aeration for plant roots, resulting in better growth
CoCo Coir Peat can retain moisture up to nine times its own volume while maintaining excellent air filled porosity, providing vital oxygen to the roots and soil. It's fibrous and sponge-like structure is ideal for any soil condition, whether breaking up the heaviest of clay soils or retaining moisture in sandy soils. It is by far the most efficient and economical way to rehabilitate degraded soils without the risk of contamination. CoCo Coir Peat has a naturally high lignin content which encourages favorable micro-organisms around the root zone. Having a slow degradation rate, it conditions the soil and promotes the development of an optimum pH level. CoCo Coir peat has been universally accepted as an excellent plant growth substrate as well as a soil additive
CoCo Coir Peat is the future of growing mediums and will last three times as long as Peat Moss and Sphagnum Moss. CoCo Coir Peat is hydrophilic and will re-wet easily without the use of chemical wetting agents and is capable of holding and releasing nutrients.
Applications of CoCo Coir Peat.
Hydroponics, Golf course greens, Potting mixes, Cut flowers, Propagating, Re-planting, Mushroom farming, Bonsai mixes, Turf farming, Garden beds, Bedding medium for Earth worms, Vegetable gardens, Rose cultivation and general garden uses.
05-11-2007, 06:02 AM
For any beginner, coco peat or coco coir is an awesome medium!
05-28-2007, 12:59 PM
hey mr wake&bake cool thread!! Coco is definately good for a beginner and for a experienced grower as well! coco yields awesome way better than soil. i know a guy growing with coco right now 3 buckets lemme show you.
tell me coco isn't badass! ;)
I am growing in soil cus i started with it BUT my next grow is gonna be all coco baby!! :cool: