I'm filling a stocktank to grow greens in. I will use alot of my own mix, but was wondering if any of you use organic coir? What is your experience with it?
I use coir for seed starting. Works well. As a soil mix amendment the only thing it contributes is aration and drainage.
Not sure there is such a thing as non-organic coir.
Coir is the husk of the coconut. While it is organic the big question is is this a sustainable product given the distance it is shipped. Given that there are other, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly sources of organic matter available in the United States should Coir even be sold here?
Container medium organic matter is not often available in decent quantity where it's needed.
Pine bark (fine/extra-fine shredded) is the most plentiful for a huge chunk of the US, but it's availability can be sketchy at best (so can where it's actually processed).
Coir (unprocessed and processed) is quite lightweight and can be heavily compressed...especially useful in pre-processing stages.
I heard coir could be high in salts, some flush the coir before using, wouldn't hurt to use caution. i would test any medium im growing in before loading my land and growing all my plants in, try a few beans/radish in a pot, if they grow OK, the coir probably dont have much salts.
Im personally not too fond of coir, I get the shredded coir like the texture of peat, it behaves just like peat, which isnt always good.. I prefer something less moisture retentive like bark, the 511 (5parts pine bark, 1 prt peat, 1 prt perlite) i'm really liking.. If you could do the 511, i advise that, if not, i would opt for the coarse textured coir(it gas more spaces for airflow, bigger particle, etc). If you cant get that, then you can use a peat mix. You can almost use peat and coir interchangebly, only difference i see is pH, which could be crucial to some plants and trivial to others.
Some good mixes are: 511
1 part coir
1 part perlite
1 part vermiculite
1 part perlite
2 parts perlite
1 part vermiculite
I like to go heavy on the larger, less moisture rententive materials like perlite and bark, that way the medium hold more air.. Aireation is one of the most important factors in container gardenering. Most mixes are just 10-20% perlite, which does nothing for aeration when you have soo much snaller peat particles incasing it(how much perlite do you have to add to pudding).
Now are you just using this stocktank is a container, like a pot? Or are you cutting the bottem out and using it for a raised bed? You dont want to add the potting mixes i described above to the raised bed, those are strictly for container planting. Now for your raised bed, if thats what you wish to do, compost, garden soil, and topsoil is what you are looking for.
Can't coir be non-organic if they have sprayed the trees? I'm not real familiar with coconut trees.
Kimmrs.........thanks for reminding me about the other environmental issues......all the distance it's shipped, etc.
I will use something else.
This is for a shallow stock tank that I will drill holes in the bottom of, and set on top of straw bales, to make it higher.
I have good aged compost/leaves/chicken manure, etc., so I think I'll just stick to the home-grown stuff.
Thanks for your replies everyone!
Commercial coconut farms are often heavy pesticide users. The husk will absorb a great deal of those chemicals.
I am sent from many different producers, all kinds of products to sample, test, and review. These products range from tools to fertilizers to organic pesticides to potting media.
I've not been a fan of the coir planting mixes across the board, not even when used as a small percentage of the total medium.
So could one say that "organic coir" is probably not even possible?
I've had the same problem with trying to find out about straw. The feed store and ag extension agent kept saying that they don't treat the straw, but don't they realize that the straw was once part of the wheat that they DID treat? I have trouble with their reasoning.
Thanks again rhizo.
So could one say that "organic coir" is probably not even possible? but don't they realize that the straw was once part of the wheat that they DID treat? I have trouble with their reasoning.
Not at all. Your problem with their reasoning is because you are taking the term "organic" to mean something "pure", something never-touched-by-anything. And that isn't what the label means at all.
There are numerous organic-approved supplements and sprays, likely you use many of them yourself. So instead it depends on what specifically they spray...on either coconuts or straw, and at what stage of development, and what the actions on the plant of those sprays are. Just because something is sprayed with something sometime does NOT make it non-organic.
For example, Cohibra is the largest commercial coconut grower in the world and producer of coir. They are certified strictly organic growers.
Straw, even that from a wheat field that was grown with synthetic fertilizers, goes dormant over the winter then dries in the field in the spring before harvesting the heads and the straw is baled. So exactly how much of those synthetic fertilizers added before planting the wheat remains in those hollow, dry, baled and weathered wheat stems? None. Tested it shows almost pure carbon only. Couldn't be more "organic".
Thanks for that info Dave.