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Durgan
May 3rd, 2012, 02:43 PM
http://www.durgan.org/URL/?TQJJD 3 May 2012 Coconut coir (Beats Peat Brand)

This is the fibre from the hulls of coconuts which are abundant in many parts of the world. It is a totally renewable resource. It is used as a replacement for peat moss. Coconut Noir has as pH of 7 (neutral), excellent water retention properties, and has some body or long fibres, hence aeration properties. It is sold in compressed bricks, which is activated by placing in water for about 30 minutes, and the usual package (four bricks) expands to 3 cubic feet of product. My application is as an addition to my home made potting soil. http://www.durgan.org/URL/?PLAMH The present sphagnum peat moss sold is a powder due to the current processing (slurry dried). It use to have some fibre but this is no longer the case.I consider it useless for gardening operations.

BalconyFarmer
May 3rd, 2012, 03:06 PM
I use coir as part of all my potting mixes, and as a soil amendment for clay and sandy soils. Coir is superior to peat in every application that doesn't require an acidic soil mix (I still use peat for blueberries). Coir is always hydrophilic--it soaks up water even from the air. Peat, once it dries out, is hydrophobic--it actually repels water, so you have to re-hydrate it before mixing it into the soil. You actually have to rub the water back into peat once it dries out. I've never had to do this with coir.

Coir contains a lot of lignins, so it can last up to 8 years in soil. The lignins feed beneficial fungi in the soil and boost their populations. Beneficial fungi compete with plant pathogens; some are even predators of nematodes, capturing them as they pass through loops of hyphae and digesting them.

idigbeets
May 3rd, 2012, 03:25 PM
My only complaint about coir is it's harder to find in large bales.. and is at least double the cost of peat. I use peat moss as part of my potting mix recipe, and once mixed in I've had no problems with it drying out . I'll go through at least 6 bales per season just for use in the greenhouse. Lord help me if I was to use coir as a soil amendment....

I suppose if more people had access to it e.g. big box stores, that the price could drop... maybe?

Durgan
May 3rd, 2012, 07:10 PM
The processing of Sphagnum has changed over the last few years. They now make it into a slurry, dry, and process breaking the long useful fibres. It is now a dust and very hard to wet, also I suspect it is infective in many garden applications. It use to be a useful soil mix. The manufacturing and processing moss industry destroyed a fine product.

The coconut coir is about double the price of the sphagnum peat, but I only need a small amount so am willing to pay the price.

BWArtist
May 3rd, 2012, 10:23 PM
The processing of Sphagnum has changed over the last few years. They now make it into a slurry, dry, and process breaking the long useful fibres. It is now a dust and very hard to wet, also I suspect it is infective in many garden applications. It use to be a useful soil mix. The manufacturing and processing moss industry destroyed a fine product.

The coconut coir is about double the price of the sphagnum peat, but I only need a small amount so am willing to pay the price.

I prefer coir as well. My 3 parts coir and 1 part dehydrated worm castings mix far out performs what I used to get from peat mixes.

Virescence
May 4th, 2012, 05:11 AM
To clear a couple things up:

Coir is not neutral. The last pallet I got came in around pH 5.8
One has to be careful about the supplier. I always get mine from an inland source in Sri Lanka - some have eC measurements above 1.5 mS from being around salt water as it dries.

Peat: Most of it is mechanically dried now. This pushes the natural oils/waxes to the surface of the fiber. These oils/waxes are hydrophobic. That's why when a pot filled with a peat-based mix dries out, it doesn't absorb water regularly - all those oils/waxes are on the outside rather than evenly distributed throughout the fibers. There are still a few suppliers of peat (mostly blond peats from the PNW) that are naturally (usually sun) dried. These re-wet just like coir.

Nonetheless, I tend to always use coir since it is less acidic and coir is much more environmentally friendly in a renewable sense. However, it's probably not the most sustainable thing to ship it from halfway around the world....

Don't get me wrong, I prefer using coir over peat.

$0.02

idigbeets
May 4th, 2012, 06:33 AM
I've had to rinse coir in the past quite a bit, as some of it had salts and you're right the EC was off, good points to remember.

Durgan
May 4th, 2012, 06:28 PM
I've had to rinse coir in the past quite a bit, as some of it had salts and you're right the EC was off, good points to remember.

What is EC? How do you determine salt content? When is a bit of salt an issue?

pepperhead212
May 4th, 2012, 08:16 PM
I use a lot of coir fiber, but then, I don't do this for a living, so the cost isn't as much of an issue (I get some large compressed batches every season from a local nursery, with a gift card from my cousin - she knows what to give me, but then, she is another gardener).

EC is electrical conductivity, which is not really something home gardeners have to be concerned about, though there are some articles out there comparing coir from different regions (Mexico, Sri Lanca, and Phillipines, for some), but this is not home gardening. Also, some of those articles compare coir and peat moss in soil-less growing (hydroponics, for the most part) and the peat won out. Coir is known to have a lot of salt in it at times, but they have improved upon this in recent years (the EC and salt are closely related, which makes sense). It is a good idea to rinse the coir, which I do by soaking the bricks in excess water, then straining it out.

Nastarana
May 6th, 2012, 10:21 AM
I find coir to be far superior to peat moss for potting mixes, and, one hopes, a good source of extra revenue for tropical farmers.

Imzd1969
May 8th, 2012, 07:03 AM
I used a mix of 1/3 each potting soil, compost, and Beats Peat for my containers (5 gallon buckets & 18 gallon sterlite bins), and almost all of my plants are coming along quite nicely. I planted some garden beans in a sterilite bin with this mix 2 weeks after planting the same type of beans in a kiddie pool with just store bought potting soil (a mistake, I know, but it is my first time gardening, and it was before finding this great group.) the beans in the mix with the coir are almost 3x as big, much deeper green color, and already starting to flower. The beans in the potting mix are almost yellow in color, had some black fungus starting to grow on them from mushrooms that sprouted in the soil and have to be watered almost daily.

Temps have been in the 70s during the day, and low 50s at night, so I have been able to go 3-4 days between waterings. I chose the coir in hopes that I could get by with watering just once daily when the warmer weather comes along. I left some in a 5 gallon bucket in the sun, and 2 weeks later, it was still a tad bit moist toward the bottom, so I'm hopeful:)

I did find that the coir bricks were much easier to fluff up if I let them soak overnight.