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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Post  SeanM 9/17/2015, 4:27 am

I am investigating coco peat as an alternative to peat moss

Is there anything against using this approach.

Thanks
SeanM
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Post  Goosegirl 9/17/2015, 7:11 am

Welcome to the forum SeanM!  Coco peat, also known as coir or coconut coir pith, is a perfectly acceptable substitute for peat moss.  In some areas rice hulls have been used as well.  In the mix, peat moss loosens the mix and does not break down quickly so it keeps the mix loose for years.  Coir serves that purpose very well. Type 'coir' into the search box in the top left corner of the webpage and you will find lots of discussion!

Have you read All New Square Foot Gardening 2nd Edition yet?  It is a fast and delightful read, and is the basis of the gardening method supported here on the forum.

Again, welcome
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Post  Scorpio Rising 9/17/2015, 7:32 am

glad you\'re here Sean! You will find lots of helpful advice here on SFG!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/17/2015, 8:16 am

Hi Sean.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA (SE USA).  We're glad you've joined us!

The only question is if you have dogs.  Cocopeat can kill them.  There have been numerous cases on the internet.

We like photos...  And we love to cheer people on and to do experiments with our gardens.
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Post  donnainzone5 9/17/2015, 11:36 am

SeanM,

Several years ago, a study was done in Washington State comparing tomatoes started in peat moss vs. those started in coir.  The ones planted in peat moss did far better.

You may wish to visit this link at Dave's Garden for further discussion:

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1127572/#b
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Post  sanderson 9/17/2015, 3:08 pm

Hi Sean,  Welcome to the Forum from California, U.S.!  glad you\'re here   Some one from Queensland, AU joined last night. We in the Northern Hemisphere LOVE those of you "down under!"  Your gardens are booming while ours are starting to bust with winter approaching.  We also love photos so please post your gardening journey.

Coir, washed to remove salts, is an acceptable substitute for peat moss when PM is not available or prohibitive in cost. (basically the same reason because of shipping costs   Very Happy )  The number one ingredient is the Compost from as many different sources as you can find.  Many of us make our own. Please feel free to ask questions. We are a gabby and friendly (and benign) group. Very Happy

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Post  plantoid 9/18/2015, 4:50 pm

Sean ,
I've been using nutrient added water re-hydrated composted coir waste for nearly five years , it decays a fair bit  faster than peat as peat has been aerobically well preserved by the de oxygenated water in the bog over many years .
 The nutrients were added for the initial bed filling exercise in some cases as like peat it is bereft of any at the beginning  & didn't have enough home made compost to hand .

  I have 21  x 9 sq foot or bigger veg beds & 8 x 9 sq ft or bigger flower beds

 That said , it is a workable substitute , if you work the beds when it's really wet the vermiculite will disintegrate  and combine with the decaying coir to give a fairly dense heavier growing medium that is still good for growing and absorbing water .
 
Two beds have had lots of coarse woody looking 2 yr old compost added  in Feb this year ....... made from mulched leaves , woody plants , mulched twigs  and household kitchen waste, plus  about 10 pounds of straw bale .
I added at about two & a half cubic feet of it per 9 square feet of bed.

Worked well in during March  this year ,  both beds have given a good account of themselves . One bed with some really big yellow strong eye watering onions and the other bed with lots of celery and some French climbing beans .
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Post  camprn 9/19/2015, 5:54 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Hi Sean.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA (SE USA).  We're glad you've joined us!

The only question is if you have dogs.  Cocopeat can kill them.  There have been numerous cases on the internet.

We like photos...  And we love to cheer people on and to do experiments with our gardens.
I have never hear that coconut coir is poisonous to dogs. Perhaps you are confusing it with cocoa shell mulch?
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/poison-control-okay-or-no-way

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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/19/2015, 6:52 am

That's a good possibility, Camprn...
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Post  donnainzone5 9/19/2015, 11:48 am

I believe that Camprn is correct.  Cocoa and coconut are two different things.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/19/2015, 4:09 pm

She is.  I double-checked.  I was pretty out of it when I sent that...  You'd think I'd know better....   Embarassed
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Post  jimmy cee 9/19/2015, 10:55 pm

@SeanM wrote:I am investigating coco peat as an alternative to peat moss

Is there anything against using this approach.

Thanks
I know your in New Zealand and this material is not likely to be there yet. However just for info purposes, a company in Pittsburgh, PA. USA has developed a peat moss alternative and it's called Pitt Moss. I was fortunate enough to acquire some at a local greenhouse last season, it is really nice.Everything grew as it should. This Co. is negotiating with some of the big box stores, even had a presence on Shark Tank, an investor reality show. You can see some videos on youtube regarding this product.. I am for it to replace my peat moss when Pitt Moss is available.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/21/2015, 8:04 am

Oh, I remember seeing them, Jimmy.  Haven't seen it in stores yet, though...
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Post  jimmy cee 9/21/2015, 9:16 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Oh, I remember seeing them, Jimmy.  Haven't seen it in stores yet, though...
The last bit of info I heard was, negotiations were going on with the big box stores.
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Post  walshevak 9/22/2015, 10:55 pm

According to sfg4ukim, they are still waiting on patent issues.  She met the owner in Pittsburgh this past weekend

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Post  SeanM 3/4/2016, 5:38 pm

Just an update, I ended up using Bark Fines and this worked well.

Early Autumn now so need to consider what to do through this period in the garden.  Still having days of 31 degrees though.
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Post  sanderson 3/4/2016, 6:12 pm

Sean, Will you be planting a winter garden? If I counted on my fingers correctly, around April 1st you should be able to set out some seedlings.

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Post  plantoid 3/4/2016, 9:12 pm

@SeanM wrote:Just an update, I ended up using Bark Fines and this worked well.

Early Autumn now so need to consider what to do through this period in the garden.  Still having days of 31 degrees though.
  Make quality compost Sean , lots of it you , just can't have enough of it .

Make seed lists of stuff you like order them if you don't have any of them ,  then draw up the sowing charts &  plans ready for the off when your new growing season starts .

 You'll be surprised how short your winter appears to be when you do the above . Just don't try starting the season off too soon .
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Post  OhioGardener 11/27/2018, 9:16 am

@jimmy cee wrote: However just for info purposes, a company in Pittsburgh, PA. USA has developed a peat moss alternative and it's called Pitt Moss. I was fortunate enough to acquire some at a local greenhouse last season, it is really nice.Everything grew as it should. This Co. is negotiating with some of the big box stores, even had a presence on Shark Tank, an investor reality show. You can see some videos on youtube regarding this product.. I am for it to replace my peat moss when Pitt Moss is available.

Jimmy, how has your experience been with PittMoss since this post? Are you still using it? Has it been a good alternative for Peat or Coir?  Advantages/Disadvantages? Cost/Value?

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Post  plantoid 11/27/2018, 10:54 am

Ohio , 
 Three years ago in 2015  I had a bigger than usual SFG bed that needed a lot of topping up as I used steamed ground up coir in the MM instead of peat ( it rots much faster in the ground than peat ) 

As the bed had been fed a few months earlier and over wintered in an empty state come spring I  topped it up with two bags of steamed wood pulp (aka wood waste with the valuable oils steamed or boiled out of it etc etc.) possibly dosed with a liquid feed  good enough for " Up to six weeks growing " as stated on the bag  .  It looked very similar to Jimmy's pulp stuff & was very easy to mix in . The bed was not due for any more feeding 

 I mixed it in to the bed a month or more before planting and tried to grow 60 x 3 inch dia yellow onions it . Most grew poorly and flowered , whilst the bulbs stayed very small ( golf ball sized ) even though they were Golden Senshu heat treated Japanese onions which I normally have a great crop of .
  
Which has led me to believe that it is almost pure wood pulp waste and thus needs a lot of nitrogen & time to rot it down fully before being of much use in an  SFG bed .


 It will be interesting to hear what Jimmy has to report .
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