Coir is an increasingly popular growing medium derived from durable coconut husk fibers. It’s an effective and eco-friendly addition to mulch, vegetable and flower gardens, and hydroponic systems. It typically comes bagged in compressed blocks or discs that require rehydrating before use. Fortunately, with coir bags, you can just add water and break the material apart to produce a useful organic soil amendment.
Benefits of Coco Coir
Recreational and professional growers incorporate coir into their gardens for a variety of reasons:
- Coco coir has excellent water-retention as well as draining properties, keeping plants hydrated without becoming waterlogged.
- It helps aerate the soil to promote healthy roots.
- Coir helps the soil preserve nutrients that are important for plant growth.
- Coir has a neutral pH that many plants thrive in.
- It’s organic, biodegradable, and renewable.
Watering Compressed Coco Coir
For manufacturing and shipping purposes, coco coir often arrives dried and compressed in bags. Upon receiving and opening your coir bags, just add water to rehydrate them before use. Place the block in a large container, such as a tub or wheelbarrow, that’s at least seven times the volume of the compressed coir. Slowly add about 5 gallons of water to the vessel (one gallon at a time) and use your hand or a small spade or fork to fluff the coir until it has expanded completely. This should take at least 15 minutes.
Once you have about 2.5 cubic feet of nicely fluffed coir (be sure you haven’t overlooked any dry clumps), you can add it to garden soil or planters immediately. If you’re adding it to existing soil, simply work it into the desired area. You can typically mix up to 40 percent coir with other growing mediums.
If you’re rehydrating smaller coir discs rather than blocks, the process is essentially the same but requires less water and time.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Although rehydrating coir is straightforward, you might encounter a few challenges. For instance, it’s possible to overhydrate coir block or discs, particularly if you’re doing so with a hose rather than gradually with a bucket. Even though it can retain seven to 10 times its weight in water, coco coir does have its limits. If you see water pooling, you’ve oversaturated it. To remedy this, place the coir in a container with holes in the bottom for draining. After about five minutes, the excess water will have drained and your coir will regain its fluffiness.
Another issue might be hydrating a portion of compressed coir when you don’t need the entire block. You can either saw off and water just the amount you need or wet and collect a corner using a watering can. Place the remaining coir back in its bag for storage. This long-lasting material will persist for years before it begins to break down.
Coconut coir bricks and discs are effective and easy-to-use soil amendments once rehydrated and broken apart. Upon buying a coir bag, just add water and fluff the material before working it into your garden or pots.