Has anyone used coconut coir in soil?

ButchieMonadOctober 7, 2012

I started seeing Miracle Grow's new "Expand N Gro" soil at the hardware stores this summer. I was intrigued, since it supposedly contained a special soil that would expand 3x. Despite its high price tag, I gave it a try for my garden.

It worked well, though I think I got much closer to 2x expansion than 3x. But I liked the consistency - the bag said that it used coconut coir, a byproduct of coconut husks which is a great soil amendment. And I had to agree - it's light, fluffy, and appears to have very desirable characteristics similar to peat moss and vermiculite as a soil amendment - expanding to store water when saturated, and shrinking when dry. This stuff will really help aerate soil and improve drainage extremely well.

So I did some research online. I figured, if Miracle Grow even states that coco coir is a byproduct, and it's light as a feather...why is it so expensive? Turns out, it's not. Miracle Grow is just jacking up the prices, they must be making an insane profit margin on these bags. Plus they add their nasty artificial fertilizer.

Came across this stuff on Amazon and gave it a try:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003MOD2HY/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00

It expanded to fill over a whole 6 cubic foot wheelbarrow with it - probably equal to 4-5 bags of the Miracle Grow stuff for the price of 1 bag. I love the consistency, and mixing about a third of this in with standard potting soil, it works great.

So I just wanted to pass this along, and was wondering if anyone else heard of coconut coir. I think it is superior to peat moss, vermiculite and perlite as a soil amendment, and it's cheaper too (if you find the right source). I think the heaping pile of fluffy coir that filled up my wheelbarrow was greater in volume than the big bags of peat you get at the hardware stores for the same price.

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I just buy the bricks of coir from local or mail order gardening places. I like to use it in place of or in combination with seed starting mixes for seed starting. I like using non-peat alternatives since peat is not a sustainable product.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:41AM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

I see this is priced 11 pounds for $15.95 and free shipping. In the comments, customers say when the bag arrives it says it weighs 8 pounds. So that's $2 a pound. Does anyone get it for less and if so, where? I don't think I can find it locally. They're pretty good at looking at me like I'm from the moon when I ask if they have stuff like this. Looks like a good product.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:10PM
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lucillle

I have heard coir has a lot of salt?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:19PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Had lots of seedlings start in it. If it was super salt heavy I wouldn't think that would happen.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:53AM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

I've never used it but I've had coconut milk before and it's not salty at all. If I'm understanding correctly, the coir is what lies in the coconut under the coconut meat. Seems like, if the coir had a lot of salt in it, the coconut and milk would be salty.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:18AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The coir is the big, fibrous husk that few people have ever seen. It can be salty because some plantations are located where salt water might be taken up by the roots and translocated to that huge husk. I'm not talking about the inner hard shell. The salt can be rinsed out, if it already hasn't been during the packing process.

Coconut forests crop up at the edge of tropical oceans and seas. The coconuts drop off when ripe and are carried off in ocean currents until they make landfall elsewhere. They are genetically programmed to germinate and grow in salt water.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 6:09PM
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