A rising star in the gardening world, coir has begun to compete with peat moss as an ideal addition to garden soil. Peat moss, or peat, is a natural, limited resource, harvested from bogs that have formed over hundreds of years. It is considered an unsustainable resource, even a fossil fuel by some, and environmental groups have worked to protect bogs from which peat is often harvested.
Coir, on the other hand, is a much more sustainable alternative. Coir pith is the byproduct of coconut production. It comes from the husk of the coconut, which is normally processed into longer fibers for things like ropes and baskets, and powder or small fibers, which form coir pith. This byproduct is washed, dried, cleaned, and compressed into bricks or powder. This product is not eaten or used as fuel, but it is great for promoting plant growth, making it an eco-friendly substitute for peat moss that’s ideal for home gardening and composting.
Gardening Benefits of Coir
Coir has exceptional water retention, nutrient density, and airiness. It is pest and mold resistant, has a neutral pH level, and improves soil drainage. Its use will save you money since you don’t need to add limestone to balance the pH of your soil as you do with peat. Coir also breaks down slowly, meaning it will last for a long time. As it slowly composts, it creates air pockets, which allows coir to improve a garden’s moisture management.
Environmental Sustainability of Coir
Coir pith is commonly used to replace peat moss in gardening. In this way, it serves as a soil amendment, providing elements that gardening soil alone cannot. Coir is highly sustainable in comparison to peat moss, which is harvested from bogs that form over hundreds of years. Removing materials from these bogs also has a detrimental impact on the earth’s carbon footprint. This is because peat bogs contain up to 25 percent of the earth’s carbon, and by harvesting peat, this carbon is released.
In comparison, coir comes from coconut processing as a natural byproduct. The typical coconut tree produces 50 to 100 coconuts per year. Each harvest coconut is separated into its parts (kernel and husk), leaving what was once considered waste — the coconut coir. It is therefore eco-friendly, sustainable, and sensible to use this product, rather than adding it to a landfill.
There are a number of ways to use coir in your gardening, as you support this eco-friendly substitute. It has risen in popularity for hydroponics because it adds the right amount of nutrients to roots. It can be used as an addition to soil, or as a soil-less medium for certain plants. It can also be used more than once due to its long shelf life, and can also be added to compost and vegetable gardens.
When it comes to eco-friendly gardening, even the smallest efforts can lead to widespread changes. Choosing coir as a regular addition to your gardening supplies means you’re supporting environmentally friendly efforts around the world.