|Tuesday Tools & Products: Coir|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Tuesday, 02 October 2012|
Coir is a fiber that is obtained from the seed of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), what most of us simply call a coconut. It is also a sustainable, renewable resource that is an eco-friendly alternative to peat moss, a finite resource derived from peat bogs. To obtain coir, the fibrous husks of a fully mature (brown) coconut are soaked in fresh--not salt--water (pictured above) to soften the fibers, which are then removed for processing. The fibers are then compressed into bricks or blocks, which can be reconstituted with water.
Although coir has been used in India for hundreds of years for various purposes including mattresses and ropes it was not used horticulturally until the 1980s when growers in Holland started using it to grow lilies and roses. Coir can be used to replace potting soil or as an amendment much like peat moss. It is resistant to bacteria and fungi and holds 8 times its weight in water, a property that is similar to peat moss. The difference however, is that coir contains no nutrients, so it's necessary to add an organic fertilizer. Coir also does not decompose or compact. Coconut coir is also used as a hydroponic growing medium.