Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Indoors

I love growing vegetables in coco coir indoors but it works great outside too. There are a lot of advantages to coco over potting mix.

26 Most Productive Vegetables To Gr...
26 Most Productive Vegetables To Grow In Pots and Containers

I love growing vegetables in coco coir indoors but it works great outside too. There are a lot of advantages to coco over potting mix.

Once you try coco coir and see the faster healthier growth it can produce you will be hooked.

This article will show you how to do it and you will never go back to using soil after you try coco coir.

Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Indoors

Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Indoors

Choosing Your Coco Coir

In order to get off to the best start, it is important to choose the right coco. Not all coco coir is the same.

Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir With Canna Coco Bricks

Coco coir is made from coconut husks. Coconut palms grow by the seashore and absorb a lot of salt.

The palms are salt-tolerant plants but your vegetable seedlings are not. So it is important that this excess salt is leached out.

Not all coco coir is used for growing plants. A lot of it is used as bedding for pets. It is cheaper to buy but not really a bargain.

Canna Coco Bricks

I have been using Canna Coco for years. I have tried other brands. Some were good and some not so much.

But Canna Coco has always consistently had the highest quality coco coir so that is what I recommend.

Coco is a popular grow medium but you may have trouble finding it locally. You can find Canna Coco here on Amazon.

It is available loose in bags or as bricks. The bricks need to be rehydrated and it’s easy to do. I prefer the bricks.

Rehydrating Coco Coir Bricks

If you buy bagged coco you won’t need to do this but it really isn’t that hard to rehydrate coco coir.

Each brick will make about 5 gallons of ready-to-use coco. I generally break the bricks in half and put a half-brick in a 5-gallon bucket.

I add 3 ml of CalMag to about 2.5 – 3 gallons of water in the bucket and drop the brick in. It takes about 30 minutes before it’s ready.

If you are impatient the brick gets soft pretty fast and it is easy to break apart and speed the process along.

Why I Prefer Coco Bricks

They are easier to carry around and easier to store. Fungus gnats can be a problem using coco coir and are more likely to be in bagged coco.

I don’t think their larvae can survive in the dry bricks. I never have had fungus gnats using bricks but I have from bagged coco.

But they are annoying but rarely damage plants and they are easy to catch on yellow sticky traps so don’t worry too much about them.

Coco coir can certainly be used outdoors too. I use it outdoors in Gro Buckets here is the article: GroBucket Garden Kit How To Easily Grow Great Veggies In 2022 (indoorvegetablegrower.com)

Here is an article describing how coco coir is made, its different types, and its advantages.

 Coconut Coir Benefits

  • Superior rooting medium offers good water retention, good drainage, and excellent aeration. Roots love it!
  • Coco coir has a neutral pH range naturally.
  • Coco coir has natural bacterial and antifungal properties that help prevent root diseases.
  • Coco is an environmentally friendly and sustainable resource.
  • Coco coir is reusable
  • Coco coir stays loose and does not pack down and get tight.
  • Coco coir is much lighter than soil
  • Coco reduces the pot size needed by 50%

I encourage all gardeners to use coco coir rather than peat-based potting mixes because of coco coir’s sustainability.

Peat is strip-mined from our wetlands. It takes thousands of years for a peat bog to form and only minutes to destroy it.

Coco Coir Downside

There is only one downside to using coco coir and that is that fungus gnats are attracted to it.

This is much less of a problem when using coco bricks and is one reason why I prefer them.

But although they are a nuisance they rarely cause any damage to a healthy plant.

Yellow sticky traps can help get rid of any fliers. There are ways to control their larvae too.

Some ways are chemical but one natural way to control them is to put a layer of sand or diatomaceous earth on top of the coco.

This prevents them from laying eggs in the coco. Flyers your trap does not catch are probably hatching from eggs laid in the coco.

Fungus gnats only live for about 28 days so they are pretty easy to get rid of.

The Most Important Things To Know About Coco

Coco coir is a growing medium only. It does not provide nutrients. Many potting soil mixes may have nutrients added to them.

Coco coir needs to be fed nutrients. Coco needs the same nutrients and micronutrients as a soil-based medium.

But coco coir has a much higher need for calcium and magnesium than other grow mediums.

It is simple to meet this need for these elements with CalMag. I only use  Cali Magic it is the best calmag supplement on the market.

In addition, coco coir has a tendency to store too much potassium. By using calmag you can help prevent it from building up.

You can use any well-balanced fertilizer for coco but you will get the best results using a nutrient designed for use with coco like this one.

A couple of other things about coco that is different is keeping it wet. Don’t keep it soaking wet but don’t let it totally dry out.

The other thing is never water with just water. Always add fertilizer to your water.

You want to feed coco every time you water. If you use just water you will throw the nutrient profile out of balance.

These tricks can help you grow better crops in coco. Unfortunately, most people don’t tell these grower tricks.

Choosing Pots For Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir

Coco works equally well in plastic and fabric pots. The great thing about coco is you can use smaller pots and they weigh less too.

Roots grow so well in coco you can cut your pot size by 50% compared to soil.

I prefer fabric pots and use 2-gallon pots for all my vegetables. A 3-5 gallon pot can be used if you are growing really large plants like citrus trees.

Fabric pots provide more aeration for the roots. They also air prune roots that try to grow through the pot.

This air pruning produces better root branching inside the pot. In plastic pots, the roots circle the pot instead and can get rootbound.

Planting Seeds In Coco Coir

Coco coir is the ideal medium for starting seeds. It is light enough that seedlings can easily sprout through it

It provides a stable moisture level for good germination and transplanting the seedlings is easy too.

You can also just direct seed into a pot of coco coir and thin out plants as they come up.

I fill my fabric pots to within an inch of the top and gently pack down the coco coir. Then I water it so it has a chance to settle.

What Vegetables Can I Grow In Coco Coir?

Just about any vegetable you can think of does well in coco. Anything that can be grown in soil will do better in coco coir.

Because coco does not compact and stays looser than potting mixes it is particularly good for root crops.

If you want straight carrots without any forking try coco. Potatoes do fantastic in coco too.

Tomatoes and pepper grow great in coco coir. I really can not think of any vegetable that does not like growing in coco.

Coco really allows plants to grow a bigger healthier root system. The old saying bigger roots equal bigger fruits really is true.

Gardeners often focus on what is going on above the ground but what goes on below the ground is even more important because it affects a plant’s ability to feed and grow.

Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Indoors Final Thoughts

Coco coir is an amazing grow medium and is great for growing vegetables indoors.

It weighs half as much as potting mix and allows you to get great results while using smaller pot sizes.

But in order to get the best results from coco coir, you need to use it right. Coco is not soil and needs to be treated differently.

Coco coir is actually a hydroponic growing medium. If you treat it like soil you will get soil results.

But if you treat it like a hydroponic medium you will get explosive growth and yields from it.

Once you experience the results coco coir can provide you will never go back to potting soil again. Happy gardening!