Coco Coir The straw alternative?
Posted 14 January 2009 - 12:35 AM
Found this on wiki.
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Coco Peat (cocopeat), also known as coir pith or coir dust, is a byproduct of extracting fibres from the husk of a coconut. Coco peat is the binding material that comes from the fibre portion of the coconut husk.
The coir dust is washed, heat treated, screened and graded before being processed into various Cocopeat products for Horticultural and Agricultural Applications and Industrial Absorbent
Cocopeat is usually shipped in the form of compressed bales, briquettes, slabs and discs. The compressed cocopeat is converted into fluffy cocopeat by the addition of water. A single kilogram of cocopeat will expand to 15 litres of moist cocopeat.
Necessary nutrients will have to be added according to the plant that is to be grown exclusively in cocopeat. Cocopeat from Sri Lanka and India contains several macro and micro plant nutrients, including substantial quantities of Potassium and several micronutrients. Cocopeat may also be mixed with sand, compost and fertilizer to make good quality potting soil. Cocopeat generally has an acidity in the range of pH - 5.5 to 6.5. It is a little on the acidic side for some plants, but many popular plants can tolerate this pH range.
In horticulture, cocopeat is recommended as substitute for peat because it is free of bacteria and fungal spores, and is sustainably produced without the environmental damage caused by peat mining.
Cocopeat has high lignin and cellulose content which makes it ideal for growing mushrooms which thrive on the cellulose. Being a good absorbent, dry cocopeat can be used as an oil absorbent on slippery floors. Cocopeat is also used as a bedding in animal farms and pet houses to absorb animal waste so the farm is kept clean and dry.
Now that that product is better understood, it has been found that some sources provide a product that can permanently damage the growth of the crop. Many studies are carried out to find out whether cocopeat is a suitable product for horticulture on the long term. The results are yet inconclusive.
Coco peat is not fully decomposed when it arrives and will use up available nitrogen as it does so (known as drawdown), competing with the plant if there is not enough. Poorly sourced coco peat can have excess salts in it and needs washing (check electrical conductivity of run-off water, flush if high). It has a similar cation exchange capacity to sphagnum peat, holds water well, re-wets well from dry and holds around 1000 times more air than soil.
Trichoderma is a naturally occurring fungus in coco peat, it works in symbiosis with the roots to protect them from pathogenic fungi such as pythium but is not present in sterilised coco peat.
Coco peat can be re-used up to 3 times with little loss of yield, never re-use peat from diseased plants.
Hope this isnt old news.
Posted 14 January 2009 - 02:37 AM
Posted 14 January 2009 - 05:51 AM
Posted 14 January 2009 - 06:51 PM
coir is a suitable alternative as a bulk substrate,
as many awesome coir grow logs here easily show.
the gardening type of coir is deliberately laced with trich as it benefits plants
so only use the coir found in pet stores as reptile bedding
Posted 14 January 2009 - 07:50 PM
Coir is not and alternative for straw as is low nutes. Also coir is used as a casing layer because its low nutrive value.
The original poster's question about coir/castings is an excellent one (old news though)
50/50 coir/castings is an excellent pulk substrate after pasteurization (to deal with the trich you're worried about)
40/40/20 mixes of poo,castings,compost/coir/verm or 50/50 are excellent