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Hydroponics Coco Coir, Part Three: How to Use it Right

Coconuts give us hydroponics coco coir Coconuts give us hydroponics coco coir

We’ve been talking about coco coir, which is one of the most popular growing media in hydroponics. If you’ve read Part One and Part Two of this series, you’ve discovered what coir is, how it is processed, that it offloads potassium and locks up calcium and magnesium and is a more neutral (alkaline) medium than peat. Now let’s go on to other important topics regarding hydroponics coir.

The coir potassium issue is a big concern, especially during bloom phase when you load potassium via bloom boosters and base nutrients, because K (potassium) creates larger hydroponics harvests. Unfortunately, if your coir is releasing lots of its own potassium and you’re adding potassium too, it affects your plants negatively. Potassium toxicity interferes with other nutrient absorption and can derail your heavy harvest dreams.

Avoid problems by scaling back your use of hydroponics products that are heavy in potassium. You may have to experiment with this for a while until you know exactly how much to deviate from recommended feed programs. You can also help keep potassium in balance by augmenting a small extra amount of nitrogen, even during bloom phase. And remember that you are adding Sensi Cal on a regular basis to deal with the fact that coir tends to hold onto calcium and magnesium rather than release it.

I prefer Grodan rockwool over coir, but professional growers who use coir that is properly sourced and decomposed, charged with calcium/magnesium, and low in sodium content tell you that their hydroponics seasons are easy and their harvests large. Benefits of coir include the fact that even if it’s fully saturated, it has a 20 percent air capacity. This means that overwatering and drowning your plants is less likely to occur with coir.

Another plus is that quality coir has onboard hormones that promote root growth and protect roots. Not only that, but when you treat coir with hydroponics enzymes that break down root zone debris, you can reuse coir. If you decide to throw coir away, it’s a lot more environmentally friendly than rockwool, and it lasts longer as a grow medium than peat.

Coir’s positive qualities led the horticultural giant Jiffy to create coir-based cubes and starter pucks that are ideal for growers who tend to overwater. Jiffy makes two “Preforma” rooting cubes that work great for starting seeds and rooting clones. One of them is made from a special organic blend, and the other is made with a coir-based organic blend.

In testing conducted by horticultural hydroponics specialists, Jiffy Preforma way outgunned products like General Hydroponics Rapid Rooters to produce larger root mass, faster-growing roots, faster-rooting, and less root zone disease. I’ve had grandmaster growers who previously used General Hydroponics Rapid Rooters call me up wild with excitement about the incredible root development they got after they switched to Jiffy Preforma. They are sorry they ever used the General Hydroponics stuff!

What’s the best hydroponics coco coir media to buy? I’d go with Canna Coco. The company has done a great job of making its coir conform to the highest horticultural standards. One word of advice though, Canna tries to sell you their special brand of “coir fertilizer” so they can make more money off you. Word is that Canna’s nutrients products don’t work well in their coir, other brands of coir, or any other hydroponics media. Check out this big dose of information about growing in coir, and if you’re unhappy with your peat, rockwool or other hydroponics root zone materials, consider coir.

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Tips on how to use coco coir
Last modified on Friday, 17 August 2012 15:37

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