Using coconut coir as growing medium

Coconut coir or coco coir is a fiber extracted from the coconut husk. Instead of discarding the coco coir from a harvested coconut, this can be a good, natural growing medium for many plants. A blog post by Gardening Know How tackled some pros and cons of coir planting. 

Its benefits are the following:

  • Sustainable – coconut coir is reusable compared to peat moss. Traditionally, coir is disposed and burned; which contributes more to the carbon footprint. Hence, through reusing coconut coir by making it a growing medium, it minimizes agricultural waste and becomes beneficial to our environment. With the use of modern techniques, this can be obtained with less energy.
  • Increases aeration and retains water – Coco coir is great for plants as it can provide good aeration. It is also absorbent; it can hold for as much as ten times its weight in the water. Therefore, the plants require less watering. Coir also makes better use of nutrients than soil mixes when it is used in hydroponic systems.
  • Convenient – It is recommended for coir to be combined with other plant amendments but can also be used right away without them. It contains anti-fungal properties which make it convenient to use as it reduces pest problems.
  • Inexpensive – Coir is cheap thus, it helps growers to reduce their cost. Coir is also lightweight so it is much easier to transport while keeping transportation costs low.
  • Various choices – having different types of coco coir, one can freely choose any from these options. Coco peat is one kind of the coco coir that has the ability to keep the roots wet. With this, it also requires proper maintenance. Another is coco chips, this great especially if mixed with soil because it retains water and creates air pockets.

Meanwhile, the disadvantages of coco coir planting are the following:

  •  Salt substance – Some also experienced coir having too much salt which can hinder the roots to absorb water and nutrients. Salt in coir is obtained from the saltwater when the coir is rinsed in the sea upon harvest. Too much salt may cause problems thus, freshwater must be used for rinsing it.
  •  Nutrients – a downside in planting in coir is that it does not contain any nutrients, so there may be a need to add fertilizer.

Coco coir has its benefits and downsides when used in planting therefore, it is important to take note of these in balancing things prior to using it as a growing medium.

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