When it comes to gardening, some products are better for the environment than others. Coconut coir is an all-natural material produced from coconut husks that not everyone has discovered. Gardeners, however, are finding that it’s an excellent growing medium or soil additive. Hydroponic growers, in particular, appreciate that it holds air better than Rockwool, absorbs water without ruining the fibers, and assists with pest control. The question of how to make coconut coir during the manufacturing process can help you decide which manufacturer is best for your needs.
Coconut Coir Types
You can find two types of coconut coir on the market. White coir is coconut coir that’s made from seeds that weren’t completely mature. Because it’s from a younger nut, the fibers aren’t as durable as those from a more mature seed. Brown coir is made from mature coconuts. This fiber is more durable and stronger than white coir. Often, you’ll find brown coir being used in hydroponic systems and gardens.
How to Make Coconut Coir
Coconut coir is made using the coconut’s husk. Most people only think of the inside of the coconut when it comes to the usefulness of this seed. Many consider the coconut’s milk and flesh to be a delicacy, but it’s the thick husk that protects the treasures inside and acts as a valuable resource.
During harvesting, the coconut husk’s natural fibers are turned in coir. Some coconut coir manufacturers will use freshwater to soften the fibers, while others use saltwater. Because coir is very tough, it doesn’t break down when sitting in saltwater, as other natural threads might. However, coconut coir will absorb high levels of sodium from soaking in saltwater. For this reason, and particularly if you intend to use coir for hydroponics or gardening, it can be more beneficial to find coconut coir that was made using freshwater. Using coconut coir that was created using saltwater can be harmful to your crops.
Look at the label of the coconut coir product you’re considering purchasing to determine if it’s right for your needs. Often, decorative coir has been treated using saltwater. While this type is cheaper than coir intended for hydroponic purposes, it’s not as suitable for your crops.
The Timing of Coir Processing
Coir processing can take a long time. Brown coir can be harvested from the nut and worked with soon after, but white coir often needs to be stored longer to prepare it. Because coir fibers can be stored for years, they do risk becoming infested with pests or pathogens. Some coir is processed with chemicals or steam to sanitize it, but this can be harmful to the coir’s overall quality. Find a company that uses proper storage methods to prevent organism growth in its coir rather than resorting to chemicals.
The method of how to make coconut coir can play a role in deciding which product to use. When using coconut coir for growing purposes, you might want to avoid those that have been manufactured using saltwater, chemicals, and steam.