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Ask a Grower

Ask-a-Grower #114

What is Coconut coir?

Coco coir, or more commonly known as coconut fiber, is rapidly becoming one of the most popular growing mediums in the world. It’s the first 100%, totally organic, growing medium that offers premium performance for both hydroponic and soil systems. Coconut fibers used for gardening are a byproduct of the coconut industry. After the coconut has been harvested for its milk and fruit the fibrous outer shell is collected and processed.

There are many advantages to coconut coir. It maintains a larger oxygen capacity and has superior water holding ability when compared to rockwool. This is a significant advantage for hydroponic systems that have intermittent watering cycles. Coconut fiber is also high in root stimulating hormones and offers protection against root diseases including fungus infestation. Growers have found that a mixture of 50% coconut fiber and 50% expanded clay pellets is a top notch growing medium. One word of caution about coconut fiber, you must be careful when you purchase coconut fiber. Cheap, low grade coconut fiber that is high in sea-salt can be toxic to your garden. Low grade coconut fiber will lead to disappointing results when used in hydroponic system so always make sure to buy pre-washed and or leached coconut coir. Additionally, coconut coir tends to attract fungus and gnats. But proper maintenance can eliminate and reduce the risks of those pests from your garden.

As far as the environment is concerned, coco is pretty awesome. It’s the byproduct of coconuts, its organic, and after initial use, can be mixed in with any compost pile. Unfortunately, it should only be used once then used in your compost pile.