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Our Newest Soilution? Coco Coir

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Our Newest Soilution…Coco Coir!

Soilutions, Inc. is pleased to introduce the newest addition to our family of soils and amendments: Coco Coir.  Over the last decade coco coir has made its way into the hearts and minds of growers, gardeners and propagators in the United States (not to mention into the bags of potting soil on the racks of garden centers).  Now we are joining the party, in the most Soilutions of ways.  Bulk coco coir!

A Brief Introduction to Coco Coir

When we see coconuts in the grocery store, we only see about 50% of the fruit (technically a coconut is classified as a drupe: it is a fruit, a nut and a seed). The unseen 50% is what makes up the coir. During processing, three distinct materials take shape, but horticulturists are mostly interested in the pith, a grainy not quite woody material that resembles peat moss in texture.

coconut-structure

 

Coco Coir (pronounced Coy-eer) is the fibrous pith of coconut husks. Pretty simple.  It’s a natural byproduct of something we already love.  For decades horticulturists throughout India, Mexico, Sri Lanka and other equatorial climates where coconuts grow, have been using coco coir for a number of uses.  If you’ve ever bought a potted plant or a propagation tray, you’ve probably used coco coir already and never known it.

There are many reasons people love coco coir, but the basics are:

  • holds up to 9 times its weight in water
  • drains excess water so roots don’t drown
  • little to no compaction allows air flow and full, strong root development
  • totally neutral substrate, plant nutrition and amendments can be controlled
  • holds 22% oxygen even when fully compacted

An Eco-Friendly Potting Soil and Soil Conditioner

Coco coir is an abundant natural resource.  Each coconut tree can produce up to 150 coconuts annually, and coir has long been treated as a waste product. Some farms douse the coir piles in kerosene and burn them to dispose of unwanted coir.  But that was the past. Unlike peat moss which takes 10-15 years to regenerate, coco coir is generated with every coconut harvest. What once was waste is now a sought-after growing media.  Coco coir is nature’s way of upcycling.

Whether used as a soil conditioner or amendment to garden beds and raised beds, or used as an additive with mulch, coir can be part of the solution to water conservation here in the dry high desert. Because coco coir retains moisture without holding excess water, just a small amount added to your garden could reduce the frequency and length of your watering.

Coco Coir and Soilutions, Inc.

 Until now, the only way to get coco coir in New Mexico was in bagged amendments or compressed blocks.  Our coir will be available in bulk, fully rehydrated and rinsed.  Coir has always been expensive and labor intensive. We offer 3 blends of coco coir mediums designed for general needs:

Enchantment: a 50/50 blend of our nutrient dense compost and coco coir. Perfect for indoor and potted plants, or as an amendment for raised beds.

El Dorado: Coco coir and pumice, a great medium for hydroponic systems and controlled nutrient growing.

Vulcan Mix: Coir, compost, pumice, and red cinder designed specifically for native plants, succulents and for use as a sponge in the yard.

Of course, we offer just coco coir as is, or blended with your favorite compost and amendments for a soil that’s completely yours.  These are just some of the benefits of adding coco coir to your arsenal of soil solutions here in New Mexico. Keep checking back for more information on how coco coir can be used to help in your garden or greenhouse!

 

FAQ’s About Coco Coir:

What is coco coir (pronounced kȯi(-ə)r ; coy-eer)?

Coco Coir is the fibrous outer husk of a coconut. It is processed into fibers for textiles and pith for a growing medium.

What is coco coir used for?

There are many uses for coco coir.  It is commonly used as a seed starter in greenhouses and as medium for succulents and hydroponic gardening and farming. It is also found in many popular potting soil mixes.

Why use coco coir?

Coco coir acts like a sponge. Coco coir is able to absorb up to 9 times its weight of water but drains excess water efficiently. It does not compact easily, so the area in the root zone remains stable but makes water and nutrients available when the plants need them.

Is coco coir organic?

Yes.  Coco coir is all natural and no chemicals are used in processing. Soilutions, Inc. sources coco coir from an OMRI certified grower.

Is coco coir sustainable.

Yes.  Coir is made from parts of coconuts that generally go to waste. More coir is produced with every crop of coconuts grown, and until recently much of the coir in Southeast Asia was burned as a way to dispose of it. Many commercial products and growers are switching to coco coir because it is far more sustainable than peat moss.

 What is the pH of Coco Coir?

Coco coir has a neutral pH range of 5.2-6.8.  Variables such as amendments, nutrients, and even the water you use will change the pH.

What is the Electrical Conductivity of Coco Coir?

Our coco coir supplier lists the EC at .4 mS/cm. Our fully expanded coir is re-rinsed during the expansion process which may drain any remaining salts.  Because of the nature of the process there cannot be a static number.

What is Electrical Conductivity?

Soil electrical conductivity (EC) is a measure of the amount of salts in soil (salinity of soil). Too much salinity in soil can inhibit nutrient uptake, resulting in delayed plant development or nutrient starvation in plants even when nutrients are available.  EC levels are effected by many factors including water and fertilizers.

 Is Soilutions, Inc. coco coir buffered?

 No.  While many growers and manufacturers choose to buffer coco coir with a calcium / magnesium solution. Soilutions planting mixes that contain compost will naturally buffer the EC and increase the cation exchange capacity (the ability for the soil to retain nutrients in available forms).

 

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