One thing I really like about gardening is that there’s always something new to try. A new plant, a new technique, a new tool or a new challenge does keep things from slipping into the mundane. Sometimes, though, new isn’t always better and why does someone somewhere decide to change the botanical name of a plant when I’ve finally memorized it? Why does Senecio greyi now have to be Brachyglottis? Like that’s a more attractive name for a plant?
As frustrating as that is it’s not what I’m writing about today. Instead I’m writing about a fairly new product to come out on the market that makes sense to me. I’ve tried it and I have to say I see a bright future for it.
Coconut coir is the latest, greatest in the soil amendment category. It’s actually been around for a while but just recently it seems to have hit the local horticultural industry. It is an environmentally sustainable alternative to peat moss and can be used in many gardening applications. I’ve used it in my vegetable garden, mixed it with soil for container growing and my daughter germinated seeds in straight coir for her science fair experiment. We’re also using it at the garden centre mixed with Sea Soil for potting up trees and plants.
Coir fiber is found between the husk and the outer shell of the coconut. It has wonderful moisture holding capabilities and doesn’t repel water like peat moss is known to do. Team that up with excellent aeration, disease resistant qualities, a pH of 5.7 to 6.2 and the fact that it’s a renewable resource and you’ve got a winner.
It’s available as loose fiber (already moistened) or as hard, compact bricks that will expand with the addition of water. It only takes about 10 minutes to expand a brick in a bucket or wheelbarrow with some warm water. It doesn’t over saturate either so you’ll never have a real soggy mess to deal with. Just drain the excess away.
In an industry of different pronunciations of the same word (tom-ay-to, tom-ah-to) I’m sure ‘coir’ is going to be right up there at the top of the list. I believe it’s pronounced ‘koi’ with a ‘er’ at the end but don’t quote me. Best to say ‘coconut fiber’ and sound like you know what you’re talking about instead of announcing that you’ve come to see the choir or that you want some hard core.
We carry bricks and bagged loose coir at the garden centre along with Sea Soil Potting Mix and Container Mix using coconut coir in place of the peat moss. The peat moss versions are still available. A lovely bunch of coconuts if you ask me and I look forward to using them in my annual containers and garden this year.
For more information on Sea Soil products check out their webpage at http://www.seasoil.com/