processing coconut husks

joffJanuary 18, 2006

Hey,

I'm interested in using coconut husks as a medium- I live in rural Costa Rica and am surrounded by them.

I'm looking for advice on processing them. I have some dry, dead husks (I assume they should not be green) with the pits removed. So far my plan is to put them through a wood chipper. Will that grind it up enough? I've never actually seen coconut husks that have been processed as a growing medium, so I don't really know what kind of consistency it should have.

Then I'm thinking maybe it should be sterilized with, say, a 5% bleach soak- they've been lying around for some time, God knows what's living in them.

Then a rinse with clean water? Left to dry out again? Whaddya' think?

Thanks,

Joff

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onewebfoot(z9 NorCal (SF Peninsula))

Coconut husks, as a growing medium, are frequently discussed in the citrus forum. people call them CHC (coconut husk chips), but this discussion also entails coconut coir (husks ground up to near coffee grain size). I use coir, 1/4" and 1/2" sized CHC in various things.

The only advisory i recall seeing, in relation to CHC or coir, is to ensure they it is rinsed/soaked quite heavily, as they reportedly have some salt content that needs purging. Husk distributors nearly always "rinse" husks before shipping for use, so no reason you can't do that. I envy your ready access to so much free CHC. My citrus trees, hibiscus, and schefflerra have loved CHC. Other plants (guavas, perhaps) might not be so compatible with CHC/coir. I've used 1/2" CHC mixed with hydroton for a great hydro media.

Here is a link that might be useful: One article about coconut husks, in general

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 3:56PM
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onewebfoot(z9 NorCal (SF Peninsula))

as for sterilization, it's funny you mention the bleach solution, as that is something that I have just tried with my in-house hydro CHC three days ago. I want to recycle it, so I soaked in that kind of a solution for several hours and very hot water, then rinsed twice, trying to squeeze the entire load from the top to push out the "bleachy" water. CHC does get softer and a little spongy when soaked. But I can't say if this type of home sterilization works yet or not cuz I'm having some leak problems in my system and need to resolve before I can launch it again with winter lettuce, radishes, chives, and onions. please advise if you learn more about sterilizing CHC yourself, or will wait for futher input from someone. -v

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 5:59PM
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joff

Thanks for the input, v. I went ahead with my plans and my stuff is shredded, not ground. Still, it holds water and drains remarkably well. I did bleach and rinse it.

One thing I leaned: wet down the husks before putting them into the chipper- I think I got as much in my lungs as in the bag.

As for your envy: Husking coconuts is not all it's cracked up to be. If I could buy it at the store, I probably would.

Thanks,
Joff

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 6:55PM
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onewebfoot(z9 NorCal (SF Peninsula))

Interesting!! I'll follow your progress quite devotedly (wish I could with all efforts around here). But I'm curious about something else now. Given that CHC (per se) didn't really hit the citrus community well (and frequently) untilo about 18-24 months ago, it seems fair to say that CHC hit the US (in general) amongst orchid growers first. Therefore, given Costa Rica's rich orchid accomplishments, are there orchid supply shops around that might offer processed CHC? Is there a Costa Rican supplier that processes (phase 1 - harvest and shredding) and exports or retails in Costa Rica? Stands to reason that processed CHC in your area could be a fraction of the cost in the US, but who knows? thanks. -vince

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 8:33PM
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parkman500_yahoo_com

Joff,

I am looking for a coconut vendor who exports to the US from Costa Rica. Do you know of any?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 5:56PM
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jimr007

To anyone trying to get rid of the chlorine smell after using bleach.

After washing coconut fibre and it still smells of chlorine, add some Sodium Thiosulphate Na2S2O3, and the chlorine smell will instantly disappear.

Sodium Thiosulphate is also known as "Photographic hypo".

Cheers,
Jimr007
Australia.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 5:12AM
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edurink(PH)

Here, in the Philippines, coconut husk is available in garden shops in various forms.

1. Plain husk - the inside of the nut is gouged out leaving only the solid husk. Coconut shape is retained with one end sliced off. It is very popular among orchid growers.
2. Husk in wedges - boat shape. Used in orchid growing. Was used in marcotting before the plastic sheet was introduced.
3. Husk chunks - chopped into chunks, used in orchid growing.
4. Fiber (from the husk) - plain fiber like "steel wool". Used in pots. Has not been used in hydroponics but I think can be used.
5. Coco pots - fiber mixed with a binder and molded into pots of different sizes, square or round. I've used this in hydroponics. No need do drill, burn, or punch holes. Discard at the end of the plant life. Plant food flows in and out of it. Growing medium stays inside undisturbed. Plant roots easily grow through it into the nutrient solution.
6. Coco bricks - fine dust, a by product from the processing of coco fiber, pressed into bricks. To use, soak brick in water until it disintegrates. Looks and feels like loam soil. It's used as a potting medium.
7. A coarser version of coco dust is sold in bags. Used also as a planting medium
8. Burnt coco fiber - Partially burnt fiber sold in bags. The fibers are still there but shorter plus some char. Consistency is like saw dust. Used as planting medium.
9. Coco-nets - coarse ropes made from coco-fiber and woven into coarse nets. About 3 meters wide and varying lengths, the nets are laid out on slopes to prevent erosion. Life span of the net is indefinite.

  1. Coconut charcoal - Made from the coconut shell. They come in large flakes and are easy to crush to a finer consistency. Used in orchid growing. Holds water very well. Can be used also in hydroponics.

The coconut tree is a wonder tree. Many things can be made out of it. Lately, health buffs have been talking about virgin coconut oil. It has anti-viral qualities. It's being tested among AIDS patients here, with some amount of success. Further testing still needs to be done. There is a forum on virgin coconut oil here in GardenWeb.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 7:48AM
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kaiser_salih_yahoo_com

to all,

i like to learn how to process coconut husks in commercial quantity that can be sold as a material for mattresses and sofa.

thank you.

regards,

kaiser

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 9:54AM
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pgborras_yahoo_com

in our town bulan, sorsogon, philippines, coconut husks abound but are simply wasted as they are not usually processed into a useful stuff for economic value. many rot in coco farms and some are flushed into the coastline during rainy season. i learned that the required machine to convert them into useful stuffs are expensive and may not be affordable. is there a way they can be processed using a low-cost facilities?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 11:10AM
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