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Post  S. Smith on 3/7/2010, 5:22 pm

While shopping for container gardenting last spring I found compact bails of coconut shreddings. It is advertised as being a good substitute for peat moss, because it is a renewable resource. As I recall it also costs less. Has anyone tried it? It seems to have the same qualities for gardening as the peat moss. Maybe just not as acidic, not sure I would use it for blueberries.
S. Smith

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peat moss -v- coconut Empty Peat vs. Coco

Post  WardinWake on 3/7/2010, 7:29 pm

Howdy S. Smith:

In England using peat moss is not considered "cool" as the peat bogs were not managed properly and have declined and coconut husk is used as a substitute. I have not heard wheather the husk is considered to be equal, better than, or not as good as peat moss. Maybe someone there can help answer the question.

God Bless, Ward.

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Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/7/2010, 8:02 pm

This is from the Planet Natural site:

Coco coir is a proven best alternative to any growing media. Its use as a growing medium outperforms any other medium used for growing vegetables, ornamentals and tree plants. Its soft structure promotes easy root penetration and healthy growth. Coco coir is 100% environmentally friendly. It is a renewable resource that is consistent in quality. Coco coir has the best physical and chemical properties to promote better plant growth.

• Coco has high water-holding capacity. It can hold water up to eight times of its weight and release it over a period of time.
• Coco has ideal pH in the range of 6-6.7
• It has excellent drainage and air porosity for better plant growth
• Coco is very low in EC and carries mostly potassium salts, which is an essential major plant nutrient
• Cation exchange capacity is very good
• Coco coir has some anti-fungal properties that help plants to get rid of soil borne diseases. It inhibits pathogens like Pithium
• Coco is very easy to re-hydrate after being dehydrated
• It is a biodegradable source that degrades very slowly and has a life of three to four years
• Contains significant amounts of phosphorous (10-50ppm) and potassium (150-450 ppm)

As mentioned above Coco coir is not just a natural product with very good properties for plant growth - it also has some winning advantages over other growing mediums.

Advantages of Coco Coir
• It is a 100% renewable resource
• Coco coir is light in weight
• It is consistent in high quality
• Coco coir is completely environmentally friendly
• The top of the product layer in grow bags/pots always remain dry, leaving behind no chances of fungal growth
• Coco coir never shrinks, cracks or produces crust
• It promotes better root systems in a short time
• Coco coir is odorless, pleasant to handle, and uniform in composition

I also found a peat/ coconut comparison at this site: http://www.usu.edu/cpl/PDF/CoconutCoirPaper.pdf

Hope this helps.
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Post  SirTravers on 3/7/2010, 8:24 pm

I'd think if you could get it in bulk at a reasonable price coir would be a great option. I'm growing some strawberries in a hanging basket full of the stuff. I haven't had a need to water it in over a week as it's still damp and the plants look very happy. Must be some good stuff.

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Post  S. Smith on 3/8/2010, 9:33 pm


This article is worth the read. I found it very enlightening. It has pictures of the studies done. I think I will go with the peat moss. It seems that if you use the coconut you might still need to add things like calcium to the soil. Mel's mix should be fine by it's self, who wants to keep amending the soil. The article also mentined that the worlds peat moss suply is not going to get scarce any time soon.

Thanks so much for your help and advice. I can hardly wait to get started!
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Post  Amy in Idaho on 3/31/2010, 2:02 am

I am happy someone asked this. I was thinking about using Coconut Coir but now I changed my mind. That article answered all my questions. Obviously the plants did so much better in Peat than Coir. It saddens me though that there isn't a renewable alternative.
Amy in Idaho
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Post  Lavender Debs on 3/31/2010, 10:19 am

@Amy in Idaho wrote:snip ....It saddens me though that there isn't a renewable alternative.

There has to be one Amy, we just haven't figured out what it is yet. What are they using in Europe? I think about this often. It is the number one reason to compost and work on soil in some corner of the garden. There are places that have no soil to speak of and others that are crazy blessed.

A kayak paddle across the bay from me (or a ferry ride) is the island my dad grew up on. Sweet black soil being pushed aside and pounded into hard-pan for housing BUT it is rich and black and grew amazing food and flowers for my grandparents. Places like Whidbey Island are natural places for gardening in loam. There are places in Canada and the US that do not have much in the way of healthy loam, shallow topsoil, people with artificially bad soil because of what modern construction and agribusiness does to topsoil, we need peat today AND research by those who love the process rather than the profit (ie I DO NOT want a Monsanto type company to make soil root anchors for me) We will find it, we have to.

Until then we have a limited amount of peat (though it can be nature made, the carpet of logs on Spirit Lake at Mount St. Helens has made a modern peat bog on the lake floor but it took a disaster plus a few years of the log mat grinding and moving about the lake plus the lake will need to drain away) and need to use it with respect.

Deborah ….where did that come from?
Lavender Debs
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Post  chocolatepop on 3/31/2010, 10:44 am

This is really nice to know. I wonder how plants did with less coir content? I thinking experiment in one of my containers...

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