As the name implies, coco coir comes from the natural fibers of coconut husks that have been recycled and extensively processed. Nowadays, it has become an increasingly popular media choice for growing cannabis. Many growers swear on its convenience and efficacy as the best medium, especially for indoor grows. In this article, we cover coco coir grow tips, issues, and questions to help you unlock the magic of becoming a coco master.
Brief Introduction of Coco Coir
In the marijuana community, coco coir is nothing but a discarded product and would have remained as such if its application as a great growing medium was never discovered. It is the loose stringy material that falls off when coconuts are processed for their husks and meat. This growing medium, however, is not new to the gardening scene. This fibrous material has been around since the 1980s and was used widely in Holland to grow lilies and roses on a large scale. They were used mainly for their excellent promotion of root growth, great aeration, moisture retention, and drainage. They were also proven to not only be safe and effective in cultivating any garden, but they were very cost-efficient. For novice gardeners or those who have yet to master the important coco coir facts, however, this can spell lower growth rate, potency, and harvest.
Coco Coir Grow Tips
In recent years, growing in coconut fibers is quickly becoming one of the most preferred and popular mediums for cannabis gardeners. Most manufacturers of soils these days recommend and practice blending their substrate with coco coir. This new medium has a pH level of 6.5 to 7, making it extremely similar to a soil that has not been fertilized, and can be used in both indoor and outdoor gardens.
Different types of coco coir. There are three common types of this medium available in many local grow stores. Usually, these materials come in compressed bricks or bags, blends, or pellets.
Coco coir bricks or bags
There is no difference between the bricks or the bag version of the coco coir. The bricks must, however, be pre-soaked in water, which breaks them up and makes them pliable enough. They will then have to be pulled apart before they can be used. The bag form, on the other hand, has already expanded and pulled apart. These types of coco coir come in many sizes depending on the gardener’s growing needs.
These types take out the need to soak in water before being used. They typically contain a mixture of perlite, clay pebbles, and coco. Some manufacturers add in moss, worm castings, compost, bat guano, and many other beneficial ingredients to their blends.
These are small round disks of coco coir that are used as an alternative to seedling trays and peat pellets. To use the coco pellets, you just need to add water and the pellets will expand to become a self-contained pot with the started plant inside. As a result, no transplant shock occurs once the seeds have germinated and are ready to be transferred into a larger container with your preferred substrate later on.
Regardless of what type you choose for your garden, it is important to purchase a high-quality brand as this will determine the quality of your final harvest. Poor quality coco coir can be over-dried or may contain high salt content and other harmful chemical residues. The quality of your coco medium will depend a lot on how the husks were sourced, the age of the husks, and where they were produced, among others.
Feeding your cannabis plants in coco coir. Coco coir looks and feels like soil, but it performs nowhere near like soil. Coco coir is highly likened to hydroponics. Generally, coco coir cultivation is a simple transition for hydroponics growers. As mentioned, it has a pH level that resembles soil that has not been fertilized with any nutrients so keeping a consistent feeding schedule is very important. Make sure to purchase high-quality nutrients with pH perfect levels.
One of the many advantages of coco coir is that it is rich in copper, iron, manganese, potassium, and zinc. It holds onto these nutrients well and releases them at a steady rate when needed. It, however, tends to store calcium, magnesium, and iron. That being said, it is best to keep this in mind when looking for fertilizers for your growth. Add “Cal-Mag” supplements to your crops to avoid nutrient lockout of these important nutrients.
Watering coco coir. Another thing that you need to consider when feeding your plants in coco coir is that coco coir retains water – sometimes too well. Coco coir can absorb up to ten times its weight in water. This means that you will have less stress about leaving your roots dehydrated. However, if you are one of those cannabis growers who tend to overwater, then this is something you need to look out for.
Unfortunately, you cannot tell if the coco coir is retaining too much water or not just by looking at it. You need to, first, squeeze the media and check if water runs out of it or not. If water runs out of it, then you have overwatered it. If there is no moisture, then it is time to water again. Ideally, the coco coir should be watered when it is at least 60% dry. If you want to be sure and not run the risk of drowning your precious cannabis roots, invest in a tensiometer, a device designed to accurately measures soil water tension. If you can maintain airy but moist coco coir, your plants will enjoy better drainage and healthy, rapid root development.
Coco coir is an increasingly popular method of growing cannabis nowadays – and for good reason. Growing in coco coir offers several advantages, including convenience, great aeration, lowered costs, and massive yields. However, just like most other grow mediums, you will need how to use it to be able to enjoy these benefits. The coco coir grows tips above will be extremely helpful for novice and experienced weed growers alike.