If you've been gardening, you've no doubt seen the words “coconut coir” thrown around. But what exactly is coconut coir and how do you use it in gardening? Basically, coconut coir is a type of mulch that's environmentally friendly, as opposed to other commercial mulches.
What is Coconut Coir & How to Use It
Coconut coir, also known as coconut fiber, is a natural waste product that comes from the processing of coconuts, also known as the husks. Before shipping, the fibers are separated, cleaned, sorted, and graded.
Because it's so environmentally friendly, coconut coir has become very popular among gardeners and is used instead of commercial mulches.
Benefits of Coconut Coir:
Renewable Resource: coconut coir, unlike peat moss for example, is a renewable resource, making it much better for the environment. Peat bogs are slowly diminishing, while the harvest of coconut husks does no damage to the environment, save from the transportation of the husks from and to its final destination.
Water Retention: coconut coir can actually hold up about 30% more water than peat moss, making it an excellent water retention medium! It also absorbs water very easily and drains very well.
Compost: Add coconut coir to your compost pile as it is rich in carbon. Do this by adding two parts coconut coir to one part green material, or use equal parts coir with equal parts brown material.
Soil Amendment: Use coconut coir as a soil amendment to improve poor soils. For example, coir can be added to sandy soil to help retain moisture and nutrients.
Soil pH: Coconut coir has a neutral pH level, as opossed to peat moss which is slightly acidic.
How to Use Coconut Coir as Mulch:
You can purchase coconut coir from your local nursery or hardware store and it will usually come in compressed bricks or bales. It's easy to use, but it first must be soaked in water for about 15 minutes to soften.
Use a large container to soak the coconut coir, as it will greatly increase in size once it expands. Once soaked, apply the coconut coir anywhere where you might apply mulch by laying down 2-3 inches of the material.
So now that you know what is coconut coir and how to use it, it's time to roll up your sleeve and get to gardening!
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