What is coco coir? Coco coir is a soil-less growing medium made from coconut husks. It’s a sustainable, natural material that has the ability to make your vegetables and herbs grow up to three times as fast! Coco Coir for Microgreens FAQ will answer all of your questions about this new trend in gardening.
Can You Grow Microgreens in Coco Coir Only?
While you can grow microgreens in nothing but coco coir, it’s somewhat difficult to do so. Coat the coco coir with nutrient solution, which will make it considerably easier to do.
In fact, this is probably your easiest option when it comes to growing any kind of crops on top of a coco coir mat. You could even mix it with soil if you wanted to, but it’s usually harder to get crops to sprout this way.
Nutrient solutions on a pure coco coir mat will generally be your best bet.
Is Coco Better than Soil for Microgreens?
The fact that coconut coir readily absorbs so much moisture makes it a more attractive option than soil in many cases. It also includes natural fertilizers because it’s made from all organic materials.
While there are still those who prefer soil over coco mats, they really can help crops to sprout more quickly if you don’t mind the additional maintenance that comes with using it.
Is it Better to Use Coco Coir Bricks or Mats for Microgreens?
Mats are easier to use, but some coco bricks could possibly have more nutrients in them. If you get a coco brick, then you need to break it up and spread it around your tray before using it to plant.
Laying a mat out is as easy as putting it down across the bottom of a tray. That makes it simpler to install, though growers who use bricks extensively do feel that they’re more effective.
Is Coco Coir the Same as Coco Fiber?
Coco fiber is more or less the unfinished product while coco coir is ready to ship. Fibers come as light or dark threads that are removed from the outer husks of coconuts.
Lighter fibers are usually made into ropes and other related materials while darker fibers can be tufted into coir using a process that’s very similar to making a piece of carpeting.
Can You Reuse Coco Mats for Microgreens?
This is a hotly contested topic in the microgrowing scene, but the fact of the matter is that you can reuse coco mats. You’ll want to make sure that you’re growing similar or identical crops on it to avoid cross-contamination.
You’ll also want to check the mat for mold every time you reuse it, because the moisture it picks up in the process makes a perfect environment for growing mold.
How Do You Use Coir Mats in Microgreens?
A majority of crops will grow comfortably on a mat that’s been rolled into its tray and coated with at least some degree of nutrient fluid. You’ll want to make sure to water it, but other elements like soil usually aren’t necessary because the coconut material in the coir mat can actually help to provide minerals to your plants.
Watering should only be slightly less than what you’d normally give your plants. Keep a close eye on it to make sure that you don’t give them so much water that they end up filling up with water, which can encourage the growth of mold over time.
Should I Water Coco Every Day?
You may not have to water microgreen crops grown on a coco coir mat each day. Palpitate the mat itself using a cleaned tool and see how much fluid is in it.
If there seems to be a large amount of water, then there’s a good possibility that your mat already has more than it needs.
What is the pH of Coco Coir?
In general, coco coir should have a neutral pH that becomes increasingly acidic as it gets wet. The lowest you’ll ever see is somewhere around 5.2, but more often the pH is closer to the 6.7-6.8 range.
That makes it a perfect growing substrate for crops that love an acidic environment and may not thrive in alkaline soil.
How Much Coconut Coir Do I Need for Microgreens?
You would usually need one mat per tray of crop that you’re growing. In general, you’ll need about half a brick of material if you decide to go that route.
That means you could buy half as many bricks as the number of trays you have, assuming that they’re of sufficient size.
What Can I Do With Old Microgreen Coco Liners?
Some might prefer to compost them, though it takes a long time to do so. A few people have found that those that haven’t gotten moldy can be reused several times before they even think about throwing them in the compost heap.
What Do You Do With Coco Coir Brick Material After Harvesting Microgreens?
Like with mats, some enterprising microgreen farmers have actually been able to reuse this material. Others have found that they could simply use it as part of a potting soil mix for other plants.
Since it’s organic and made of coconut fibers, there’s nothing wrong with putting it around your garden or even into a compost box to eventually break down.
What is Coco Coir Made Of?
Coco coir is literally made from the stringy fibers that are stuck to the sides of coconut shells. When farmers shell coconuts to sell them, coir is basically what they have left over.
Mats are woven coco coir fibers, which are usually tufted tightly until they resemble carpet fibers in a way. Bricks, on the other hand, are pressed together and are ready to be taken apart once you get them.
While you’re likely to find sharp disagreements on which one is better, they can both produce nearly identical crop yields. Slightly different micro-farming practices are needed for each, however, and mats may require slightly longer trays to fit.
Does Coco Coir Expire?
Since coco coir is made out of natural coconut fibers, it will eventually break down into smaller material over time. However, it doesn’t really expire and an older mat could theoretically produce the same yields as a newer one.
The problem is that an improperly stored mat will eventually grow mold. You shouldn’t ever try to grow microgreens on top of mold, because it can take over your crops.
Do You Have to Wash Coco Coir?
While you could probably get away without washing it, most microgreen gardeners will give their mats a watering and mix in some nutrients while they’re laying it into the tray. That gets the mat prepped for growing and makes it possible to immediately seed it and place it into the frame where your microgreens will actually grow.