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Coco coir is an excellent medium for growing vegetables and I want to show you my garden and tell you about the benefits of growing vegetables in coco coir.
Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Video
I am growing vegetables in coco coir inside my kitchen garden. Here is a quick tour of my kitchen garden. All plants are being grown in coco coir.
Most plants are in fabric pots or self-watering planters with a few in 5-gallon buckets.
The Benefits Of Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir
• Coco coir is a renewable resource, unlike peat which is strip-mined and destroys wetlands.
• Coco coir can be reused several times, unlike potting mix.
• Coco coir has a natural pH of around 6.0 while peat is very acidic and needs to be limed before use.
• Coco coir holds water well but still provides better aeration than peat.
• Coco has great wicking ability and is easy to water. Peat is very hard to wet once dry so wetting agents are added to it.
• Roots grow extremely well in coco coir because it doesn’t compact.
• Coco is much lighter than potting soil.
• You can reduce your pot size by almost half using coco coir instead of peat-based potting mixes.
How To Grow Vegetables In Coco Coir
Coco coir works great for growing vegetables but you need to use it correctly to get the best results from it.
Coco coir is much closer to a hydroponic medium than it is to soil.
Many potting mixes are pre-fertilized to provide nutrients to your plants but coco coir is fairly inert. It provides a great home for your roots but you need to feed it nutrients.
Coco coir should always be kept moist. You don’t want it soggy but you don’t want it to dry out either.
Coco should be watered and fed every time. Most potting mixes feed then water then feed but coco should be fed every time you water.
Coco coir should be watered until there is some runoff. This will help prevent salt buildup.
Coco works well in any pot that provides drainage holes. It works fantastic with fabric pots.
You can place plants in pots into a tray and bottom water them. You will need to reduce nutrient strength if you do this.
Coco coir has superior wicking capabilities to soil mixes which makes it ideal for bottom watering and use in self-watering planters.
Bottom watering works really well with fabric pots. Often getting water on foliage can cause problems and bottom watering keeps it dry.
Fertilizing Coco Coir
Fertilizing coco coir is different from fertilizing potting soil too.
Coco coir tends to store potassium at the expense of calcium and magnesium.
So you will need to add additional calmag to any fertilizer mix you use.
I use CaliMagic because it provides more calcium and magnesium than its competition and also has a lower nitrogen amount.
Many were made for cannabis growers but they work fantastic for vegetables too. Canna Coco A+B is the best in my opinion.
Not All Coco Coir Is Created Equal
Coco coir is made from coconut husks. Coconut palms grow by the seashore and are very salt tolerant and as a result, they absorb a lot of salt.
This needs to be leeched out before it is suitable for growing plants. Not all coco coir is treated this way and much cheaper coco coir is used as bedding for pets.
You don’t want to use it for growing vegetables even though it may be cheaper.
There are many brands of coco coir being marketed for growers and gardeners.
I prefer to use bricks. They are much easier to store and very easy to rehydrate.
But it is also available loose in bags if that is what you prefer.
Coco coir can attract fungus gnats and I believe it is possible for larvae to survive in loose coco coir.
The bricks are bone dry and I never had fungus gnat problems using the bricks.
Coco Coir Benefits FAQs
The practice of growing vegetables indoors using coco coir has gathered a following due to its numerous advantages over traditional soil or peat-based mediums.
However, as with any gardening practice, certain questions tend to crop up as enthusiasts delve into this indoor gardening method.
Here we address some frequently asked questions that provide clarity and aid in harnessing the full potential of coco coir for indoor vegetable cultivation.
Q. How often should I water vegetables grown in coco coir?
A. It’s vital to keep coco coir moist but not soggy. Watering should be done until some runoff is observed.
It’s advisable to feed with nutrients every time you water, as coco coir doesn’t inherently contain nutrients.
Q. Is special fertilizer required for vegetables in coco coir?
A. Yes, vegetables in coco coir will need a nutrient mix that includes additional calcium and magnesium, as coco coir tends to store potassium.
A product like CaliMagic can be used alongside a base nutrient mix that provides NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium).
Q. Can any type of pot be used with coco coir?
A. While coco coir works well in any pot with drainage holes, it thrives in fabric pots or self-watering planters due to its excellent wicking properties, making it ideal for bottom-watering systems.
Q. How do I choose the right coco coir for vegetable growing?
A. Opt for brands marketed towards growers and gardeners, ensuring the coco coir has been treated to leech out salt absorbed from coastal environments where coconut palms typically grow.
Brands like Canna Coco are recommended for consistency and quality.
Benefits Of Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Final Thoughts
Coco Coir is a fantastic growing medium for vegetables. It is considered a hydroponic medium.
If you are used to growing with a peat-based potting mix you will need to make some adjustments.
The tips in this article should get you on your way to growing better vegetables faster and with higher yields.
Here is more helpful information about the benefits of growing vegetables in coco coir.