coco peat as a medium

theflgardenerMarch 1, 2010

I have been using cocopeat for a very short while, mostly as a nursery and most of my plants are starting to outgrow it and will soon be in need of a transplant. I have 2 questions.

1.) Is it necessary to sanitize the peat before starting a new crop or do I just toss it out.

2. has anyone used the wick method with cocopeat as the medium.

I guess thats 3 questions.

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I have been using coco fiber for a very short while as well. All I can tell you is what I've researched, not personal experience. So take it for what it's worth.

1. If your planning on reusing the coco,which you can, I would flush it with plain water.

2.I don't know anything about the wick method with coco. From what I've read, coco doesn't like wet feet and the top drip method seems to be the most popular. I'm using coco in a flood and drain table. So far so good, but all I've read hasn't been to keen on the idea, since coco holds water like a sponge. I'm flooding once every 2-4 days.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 4:06PM
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I sanitize my coco coir fiber since I grow indoors and don't want bugs nesting in the medium. Thorough flush is fine if it's going outdoors.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 6:47PM
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@pepperot what do you sanitize your system with?

@urbangardenerfarmer thats a great idea, im sure you save a lot of water and power that way, as far as the wick method wouldnt it just absorb less water if it were soaked? would that be an invitation for root rot?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 8:50PM
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Hard to tell because coco holds so much water to begin with. It makes me wonder if it would ever dry out enough? I say go for it. You might be on to something. I might try one as well.

The key to no root rot is good air flow.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:57PM
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I think Aeration would end up being a problem, I remember someone mentioning mixing it with perlite. I will try it without first and if I run into an issue just add some.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:17PM
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urbangardenfarmer has brought up 2 important points here. 1. Any coco related medium (husk chips, peat, fiber, etc) retains humidity for very long. Any technique or method has to consider (can even exploit) this fact. 2. Ebb and Flow was originally conceived to be an economic and low tech method. Hence ebb/flow cycles were actually supposed to not be frequent simply to save energy. Even though some newer uses do not consider this fact, it's good to be remembered about that initial idea ;-)

For seedings and later states (especially plants that do not like wet feed, in fact do not draw enough oxygen in wet and dense medium) I can recommend/do prefer a mix of 50/50 perlite coco(peat). Using coco peat with a wick system looks possible to me, as there is nothing I can see why it shouldn't work. Still, when having coco peat (only) permanently moist (due to a wick), one has to consider the "wet feed" issue for sure. It might indeed not be suited for some plants!

PS: as coco peat is a relatively inexpensive material, I'd not recycle it for hydro purposes, not toss it either - but use it as a substrate component for pot plants.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:19PM
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I agree with lucas. Use some sort of 50/50 mix, either perlite or hydroton. I'm using a product called Maidenwell from Australia. It's a silica stone which I think has some trace minerals in it. I tried to mix it 50/50, but it looks more like 60coco/40stone.

Is the pepper plant considered a "wet feed" plant?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 12:11AM
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Thats good to know, I love the Substrate idea. I will probably use it for as long as I can though. Do you guys know where there might be a list of "wet feed" plants?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:39AM
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>>Is the pepper plant considered a "wet feed" plant?It f****** is LOL.
Well peppers can indeed be a very difficult customer. Then again, if you got it right they grow like a charm. I've found that some species or varieties behave very differently, some are very sensitive, others quite hardy.

I guess you got it right with your (actually particular) technique urbangardenfarmer. With flooding coco and letting it drain (nearly) dry before flooding again! Pot size matters too, because if your pot size is too small, humidity is hard to control - in fact either the medium dries out too quickly or is permanently somewhat too wet. This is the actual (and often reported) cause of the problem when growing seedlings in coco only.

I've grown peppers successfully in rough coco chips (only) and with several drip and recycle systems some time ago, I should post some pics. ;-)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:54AM
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@Lucas were gonna have to wash your mouth out with soap sir. you should post those pics, would love to see em

I like cocopeat so far, granted I havent used anything else yet lol. I just made another brick and transplanted my green onions(they were together with some Tomatoes in another cocopeat container)Now my boys have plenty of room. So far so good with the cc

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 7:15PM
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More pics! More pics! Damn lucas you didn't have to curse me!:~)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:33PM
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    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Cocopeat is very useful medium for gardening. I have grown plants with less water and with good yield. Before implementing any procedure for soil formation, one has to analyze the soil and then accordingly set the procedure to meet the plant expectation to grow it effectively. Many information available to optimize the soil, but it's better to stick good one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Idea Of Gardening With Less Water But Having A Better Yield

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 6:03AM
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i planted a tomato in a 5 gallon bucket with no drain holes using pure coco peat and fertilized with an organic fertilizer. i watered to a depth of two inches never exceding three inches. they call it global buckets aka SIPS system. if you do try this system i recomend you drill a half inch hole 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of the bucket and mix the fertilizer way above the wáter line so the fertilizer wont go anerobic. the tomato grew beautifuly but i terminated it when it had its first large green tomato. oh the frtilizer i used was growmore fruit & vegetable 4-5-3

    Bookmark   February 6, 2015 at 12:09AM
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To quote a now famous song... "I'm in love wit da coco..."

Good old coco quoir Such a versitle medium.

Now before i start, just have to say its all down to the grade. Meaning, the way you want to use coco will determine the grade you need.

I like the finer,more pulppy grades,with less hairs. It honestly wouldnt work in containers as is without perlite. In 11lt pots i use about 40-45% perlite to coco and it works great in a hydro setup. Drainage is rapid,meaning plenty of air in the rootzone,while the coco acts pretty much like vermiculite would.

I buy the compressed bricks, as they are cheaper, but do need a wash and buffer before use. THIS is where i disagree somewhat with what urbangarderner said. Yes, you can first wash it with plain water,preferably hot water, but after, the coco needs to be recharged. When growing with say, just coco/perlite, the coco actually draws in extra Ca,Mg,Fe and K, to fill the C.E.C

Once full , the coco will give readily to the plant and not mess with your fert ratios. Whenver I 'flush'/wash coco I throw in some form or fert, usally epsom salts or CalMax at an EC 0.2-0.3 to make sure that CEC is okay..

Also, with coco, you can effectively, like any hydro setup, use a smaller amount of medium/pot size to grow larger plants. You just have to adjust watering times. i love the root growth you get with coco. You can also push plants to the limit, and its very forgiving. For example say you are seeing salt build up/leaves curling etc. you can just increase the runoff from the pots.

Coco was what got me into hydro/soil-less cultivation.

I feel you never want a 'dry period' with coco, just a wet and moist cycle. Hence why drip systems work so well with coco.

Also, coco is great in a compost pile, and it goes into my garden when my fruits are done.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 20, 2015 at 11:39AM
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i water everyday with runoff. beautiful roots no rot or bugs i just use an enzyme addative to keep it clean. from what the guy at the grow shop says it's prettymuch impossible to get root rot with hygrozyme or something similar

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 7:11AM
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oh ya, i use half the dosage on the bottle.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 7:13AM
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I use coco coir with a wicking system. Works very well. However, I don't use it as the wicking material. I use vermiculite as the wick and use only one container for both the water and growing media.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 10:19AM
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