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Using Coir

Posted by karilynn22 z5,MI (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 30, 06 at 2:36

I chopped up and shredded a coir wire basket liner and soaked it overnight. I plan on mixing it with a professional growers potting mix and slow release fertilizer. Do most of you use just the pure coir, or a mix? Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Using Coir

There are different grades of coir and sometimes I've even seen mold grow on the surface of lower grade coir when I've planted in 100% coir. Since it's hard to determine quality among the various kits, I personally I save the discs and give them out along with bulbs. I use my own mix of 50% potting soil (supersoil) + 20% canadian sphagnum peat moss (a mold repellant) available at home depot or lowes + 30% perlite.


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RE: Using Coir

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 30, 06 at 11:05

Hi! I happened to cruise by this forum and the word 'coir' caught my eye. I'm a complete African violet nut and just went through a whole nightmare with coir. For a year I touted it to everyone who didn't run away, but then my plants started going downhill for no obvious reason. In my researches, some kind soul pointed me towards a Utah State University study of coconut coir. The news wasn't good. Side-by-side with peat, properly rinsed and mixed with perlite, plants growing in coir were stunted, yellow, and generally unhealthy. They're doing another study to find out why.

Here's the link if you want to see the study:

http://www.usu.edu/cpl/research_coconutcoir.htm

Korina, still upset because I really loved that stuff


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RE: Using Coir

the link didn't work for me but i found this over the web:

USU CROP PHYSIOLOGY LABORATORY: RESEARCH: COCONUT COIR

Coir has been considered to promote excellent plant growth but there are few rigorous studies that have compared it with peat moss control plants.

Vavrina (1996) found that there were no adverse effects of coir to tomato and pepper transplants, but a subsequent study in the same lab (Arenas et al., 2002) found that media with more than 50% coir had reduced growth compared to peat-grown control plants.

Their data indicate that high concentrations of phenolic compounds in fresh coir are at least partly responsible for the growth reductions observed in other studies.

www.usu.edu /cpl/research_coconutcoir.htm (429 words)


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RE: Using Coir

Thank you all for the input. I will not be using the coir. Actually, I did have two inexpensive amaryllis bulbs that came with the disks. I rehydrated the disks and had the stuff sitting in a bowl in my kitchen for two days. When I went to use it, it did have moldy-looking stuff on the top. I pitched it and that is when I decided to try the coir from a basket liner. Guess I will stick with my regular mix that contains peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and grit.


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RE: Using Coir

  • Posted by korina 9b, Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 30, 06 at 12:23

It's not a link; you have to copy and paste.

Korina


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RE: Using Coir

The link won't work with cut and paste--it has space between edu and the foreward slash.

Try the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: US Crop Physiology report on Coir.


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RE: Using Coir

If you all could remember, Hans Werner, a regular forum member and great contributor to this forum, used ONLY coconut coir as his medium and grows beautiful and healthy amaryllises besides his magnificent hybrids. I think the thing with coco coir is using the properly salinized ones. Coconut produce and by products is one of the main export materials of the Philippines. Chopped coconut husks (used in growing Anthuriums), coco coir basket liners and coco coir had to go through a long and repetitive process of soaking in water and throwing away of this red water until it's almost clear before it could be approved for export to other countries. Unproperly salinized coco coir is not good for plants.


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RE: Using Coir

"Their data indicate that high concentrations of phenolic compounds in fresh coir are at least partly responsible for the growth reductions observed in other studies. "

Perhaps "aging" it will take care of that? But what, other than letting it sit for awhile, would work?

Robert.


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RE: Using Coir

Raydio..."aging" is a good word for that process. And letting it sit for a while is not enough. To check if the coco coir you have is already properly salinized, soak it in maybe a day or two, and look at the water's color. If it is reddish, throw the water out and do the whole process again until the water's color is almost clear. Anthurium and Orchid farms who are in the international cut flower business in the Philippines would have a whole yard of chopped coconut husks that are exposed to sun and rain (sometimes hosed down with water and turned over) with very good ventilation for several months before they use them in the plants. They had to use a soilless potting mix to be able to enter the export business. We do not have peat moss, perlite or vermiculite there and importing would cost so much. We had to do with what was available and cheap. Thailand nursery growers also use coco products as their planting medium.


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RE: Using Coir

Hans Werner uses coir only for the top 4-5 cm of his soillless potting. The base is probably perlite. I saw a picture that he posted on this forum with the roots of his hippeastrums.

try a forum search for potting or seeds or something similar and you might find the picture


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RE: Using Coir

Since alot of people are discussing coir it seems timely to bring up this discussion with the link to the USU coir study and also Mariava and Radio's insights. Also I have read an interesting discussion on using soil-less mixures with pine bark fines by tapla on the container gardening forum. I will see if I can figure out how to link to it. Sorry if I am not successful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container soils and water in containers (long post)


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RE: Using Coir

In my own research on coco coir products, I ran into several articles that say to be sure the coco product you use has been properly processed to remove massive amounts of salts associated with processing for other industries (or something to that effect), and that it has been aged enough for use as a growing medium... as Maria states in her above posts.

In everything, there are two sides... those that have good success with a product, and those that haven't... also, be aware of who actually funds a study of a product... is it an independent study? or is it funded by a company that sells an opposing product? or by a company that sells the product being tested? Each of those studies would most likely be in opposition to the other, with the exception of the independent study... (rather like the medical industry, where a pharmasutical (sp?) company funds studies of their own products, and the results are always good.)

I, for one, am going to give a coco coir mixture a try... I am experimenting with a mix of coco coir and vermiculite, which made a nice fluffy mixture, and added fertilizers. I will monitor the fertilizer levels, ph, and moisture... and hope it works as good as I think it might.

One thing is for sure... plain potting soil is not the answer for healthy bulbs. Although, my Minerva has never been grown in anything but potting soil, and I've never had a problem. She's as healthy as a horse! Is it good luck? Or is it that the variety, Minerva, is just a hardier bulb?

Lots of questions...


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RE: Using Coir

I'd like to add a few thoughts to my above post...

Anyone can pull pieces of a study out that compare to the poor results they've had with a product... but it takes a lot more research than reading one study by one university to really have the whole picture...

Not all manufacturers of coco coir process their product the same! As Maria stated, the coco product has to be composted, washed, de-salted, washed again, and so on... and even after it's designated as an inert product ready for shipment, it STILL has to have food added by the person who buys and uses it! Every plant type has different feed requirements, therefore, each application has to be treated differently.

For me, it's certainly worth the cost of a meter that tells me the PH, fertilizer levels and moisture... so I can add to the cocopeat accordingly... I think it's a great product, as long as you understand that every type is different and that it needs to be chosen carefully, and it needs to be added to to properly feed your plants.


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Amen Jodic...well said!!!

Lora mentioned before that she had a problem with the coco coir that she used in her hippies. They were from Vietnam. Oooops, no offense Xuan. I think it was like not salinated correctly or something. So choose wisely on your coco coir purchases, submerge some of them in a bucket of water and observe first. If it produces a very red water...BAD. You will have to go through the process of salinizing it until the water turns almost clear, then it will be safe to use on your plants. I wish I knew which brands of coco coir to recommend. Mine is brought in to US by my mom. Anybody out there have recommendations?


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RE: Using Coir

I did quite a bit of research before ordering my coco coir, or cocopeat, as it is commonly called... Anyone interested in purchasing cocopeat should do the same. Make sure you are aware of the different grades, such as shredded, long fibre, short fibre, ground, etc... and the different methods of preparation of the product, such as whether or not the excess salts have been removed, before you order anything... and keep in mind that cocopeat comes with no nutrients whatsoever. You will have to add your own fertilizers as you hydrate the cocopeat.

That said, I ordered some large bricks from G&G Organics and Hydroponics located in Compton, California. There are many Hydroponics stores and websites that carry coco coir products. Google Hydroponic growing medium, or coco coir, or something to that effect, and you should find many places that sell this product. Be prepared to spend a little cash, as the good stuff isn't that cheap. You get what you pay for, though... and why would you want to use a cheap product on an expensive bulb?

I hope I did it right... the link to G&G Organics should show up below.

Here is a link that might be useful: G&G Organics and Hydroponics


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RE: Using Coir

I don't know why I am not a fan of coco coir... I just bought another Minerva kit from Home Depot, so I will see if this time I like it or not.
I remember that I thought first time that it was too heavy, retaining a lot of water and never willing to dry out enough... I will see how it does this time Maybe it was just the brand.


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Soultan - try amending it with a bit of perlite or vermiculite... it makes a huge difference!


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I bought both, so probably will. I will not throw the pressed coir away for sure.


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So far, so good on the bulbs I planted with the coco coir/vermiculite mixture... it is not staying too wet and soggy... it looks to be behaving like a good potting mix should.

If the results are good with the coco coir and vermiculite mix, I might just use that for everything... I do want to "tweak" it a bit, maybe add a little bit of crushed charcoal, some perlite... maybe even a pinch of sand... I'd like to experiment a little to see what "feels" right. It should be light and fluffy, but not to light... and it should hold moisture, but not too much...

Growing medium is another thing I must look into deeper... I have a lot of research to do to keep my Hippis happy!


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Right now, what I like about Miracle Gro Planting Mix is that when it dries out, it becomes almost weightless, so when I lift the potted bulb, it feels like I only lift the bulb itself. That tells me that it is time to water again. I am bad at watering inside, so I need tricks like this.


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RE: Using Coir

I do that with my hanging baskets of spider plant, english ivy and lipstick plant,... lift them up, and if they are light, they need watering.

With all my clay pots, though... it's a little trickier... I learned a long time ago that the soil ball should feel like a wrung out kitchen sponge... not too wet, and not too dry. I've always used the "stick my finger in the soil" method to check for dryness... but now I have a 4-way meter, and it makes the whole process so much easier and more precise!

I use it to test for moisture so I don't over-water. It's too easy to think that a plant is dry just because the first inch or so of soil is dry. In reality, the area around the root ball could still be very wet! And when it is time to water, according to my meter, I can also check for fertilizer levels so I know to feed or not. And... I can check the soil PH, and the amount of light the plant is receiving where it's sitting. I think the meter was a very good investment, at a measly $24 and change! It can help save the lives of the plants that I would otherwise kill with kindness!


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I put my bulbs in plastic pots inside, for they are easier to handle while they are blooming and I can easily slid them into a decorative glazed clay pot, then when they have finished blooming, I just plant the plants out in the amaryllis bed, so they don't stay long in the plastic.
I tried the unglazed pots last year, and they were too unattractive and quite hard to handle when I was trying to slid them into the decorative shell, so I gave up on them.
If I were to keep my bulbs in pots all year round, I might opt for the unglazed clay though. It dries out easier than the plastic.


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