Have you ever been confused on what to buy now since the Department of Environment Food & Rural Affairs ie DEFRA along with the Royal Horticultural society are calling out to us gardeners & Horticulturist
For Peat sake Choose another compost
Well I’m here to ease your worries as I have done extensively researched each product old and new. & what i found is that are at least 3 known growing mediums available on the market today .
So what are they?
Well lets start of with one that you know most about .And That is
What is Coir
Coir or coco peat is a fibrous material found between the hard shell and the outer coat of the coconut.
And depending on the uses whether it used for upholstery or Horticulture – the brown fibre from the ripe shell of coconut to the white fibre of the unripe shell – for brushes ect. Comes into two shape & forms
Lets deal with the Horticultural and Environmental side of coir . As we are looking into it the alternatives of Peat.
From what I managed to source about coir fibre products is that they come in very shape and forms for example Coir logs Coir Blankets for environmental problems like landslides to biodegradable coir pots.
Lets start with the ones we know about first :-
Pure Coconut Coir
As I mentioned before the other alternative to peat which the RHS is pushing is the use of Coco peat compost . Made out of brown coir fibre found ” between the hard shell and the outer coat of the coconut.”
What are its advantages
- Because its very fibrous its an ideal growing medium to grow young seedling or mature plants as it promote good active root growth.
- It is also a very sterile medium too hence its use as disc and brushes – this means no fungi spores can thrive on it and it repels diseases
- Cause of this the Horticultural disc are ideal for mulching around young plants .
- It is very light to carry as it either comes in blocks which you have to soak over night if you want to use the next day or the loose form
- It is said to repel slugs – this is because of its bristly nature that they don’t like
- Coir biodegrades easily
What are the Disadvantages
here are a few disadvantages that I know by experience as horticulturist that because all coir fibre products
- Is the cost all Horticultural Coir fibre products esp Coco peat are made over seas the products tend to be very higher than the other compost on the Market.
- Although saying that after the out cry a few years back about the same thing Many top end names have switched there peat to coco peat.And maybe now the price has dropped to encourage buyers to switch
- Coco peat tends to be alkaline – so try and avoid putting it around acid loving plants
- As I said before coco peat blocks needs to pre-soaked over night to allow you to use it – a bit of inconvenience better prepare them before
Other Coconut Coir fibre products are ;-
Advantages of Coir Pots
- These biodegradable Coir Pots are ideal because of the nature of the coir fibre products it allows the young white tap roots to grow though fibre as you can see from this picture
- This means that plants can be transplanted straight outside or re-potted without putting the plant under too much stress
Disadvantage of Coir Pots
From My experience in working in my clients greenhouse is that :-
- Coco peat is very free draining
- Thus watering has to monitored carefully other wise the plants will just wither & die in the Coir pots
This can be counter measured if the coir is treated before hand
- And since these are biodegradable coir pots – be careful not to over water as well as the pots will disintegrate
These are used as another alternative to mulching around young plants especially Tomatoes where it avoid splash back from the soil where the pathogens live and gives the plant a chance to grow .
Made from woven coir fibre in a circular form these can be used in conjunction of these biodegradable coir pots
The only disadvantages is that you still have to clear the leaf litter from it for it to have an effect an example of Cocopeat Ring mats can be seen below
Coir Erosion control products
There are two Erosion products that I know off :-
- (1) Coir logs.
Coir logs, silt checks, dewatering bags and silt fencing. This combination of both synthetic and natural fiber materials helps to address runoff requirements around construction sites, storm drains, streams and inlets
Coir logs are biodegradable coconut coir pith measuring 1 – 6 metres in length and 10 – 0 60 Metres in length These are tightly packed in a tubular coir fibre netting made from coir twine
It’s a very efficient way of reducing water velocity at the base of slopes ,shoreline & stream banks.
Coir Blankets are a biodegradable product designed for long-term erosion control in steep areas and demanding areas . Products are made from several all-natural materials to create erosion control that is effective and biodegradable .