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Coco-Peat: the new era for farming practices

coco-peat-farmingCoco peat (cocopeat), also known as coir pithcoir fibre pithcoir dust, or simply coir, is made from coconut husks, which are byproducts of other industries that use coconuts. Coir waste from coir fiber industries is washed, heat-treated, screened and graded before being processed into coco peat products of various granularity and denseness, which are then used for horticultural and agricultural applications and as industrial absorbent.

Usually shipped in the form of compressed bales, briquettes, slabs or discs, the end user usually expands and aerates the compressed coco peat by the addition of water. A single kilogram of coco peat will expand to 15 litres of moist coco peat.

cocoroosAdvantage of coco peat:

  • The properties of Coco Peat make it resistant to bacterial and fungal growth.
  • Coco Peat holds water rather than shedding it like traditional peat does! It holds 8-9 times it’s weight in water.
  • Coco Peat has the ability to store and release nutrient to plants for extended periods of time. It also has great
    oxygenation properties which is important for healthy root development.
  • Enhanced root penetration
  • Coco peat extends the life of compost.
  • Contains natural substances and beneficial microbes for plant growth
  • The coco peat has a tendency to expand in its volume, ie. Four to five times from its original volume provided.
  • It has a pH of 5.2-6.8 which is neutral to slightly acidic. This makes it great for alkaline garden soils.
  • Easy to use –  Just put your compressed Coco Peat brick in a container, add 4 quarts of warm water and let it sit until the water is absorbed, fluff it up and you are ready to use Coco Peat!
  • Coco Peat can be reused for up to 4 years.
  • Coco Peat is very slow to disintegrate; it only begins to break down when it is 10 years old, long term benefits.
    It is very light and easy to handle.
  • It can be combined with any of the normal ingredients and use as a mixer or a stand-alone product.
  • Weed free, pathogen free, insect free and odorless
  • Excellent medium for growing worms.  It’s actually good for them and increases worm growth by 25%.
  • Has high air filled porosity
  • Much lighter than soil
  • Environment friendly and non hazardous
  • Mixed with sand, compost and fertilizer to make good quality potting soil

Technical Specifications:

Water holding capacity 600 to 700%
Nitrogen 0.50%
Phosphate 0.03%
Potash  0.25%
Organic Carbon 10 to 12%
pH 6.5 to 7.5 % 
Conductivity Less than 0.5 milli/mhos  
C/N Ratio 1:0.02
Total Organic Matter  75 to 85%

cocopeat-side

How to use coco-peat:

The normal use of coco-peat in foreign country are the use of coco-peat block form. Then if we need to expand the whole block later immerse the block in a large tub capable of holding at least 25 litre of water. Remove the wet expanded cocopeat that floats in the water. While continuing to add water to the tub till the complete block is expanded. The cocopeat in the bag are light in weight and easily transported to the nursery area or rain shelter greenhouse. For a large grower who needs to expand large number of cocopeat blocks, place the cocopeat blocks vertically with a distance of about 1 feet between them. Spray water from a hose on the cocopeat blocks while working on the blocks with hand to expand them into moist cocopeat. Another method is to use machinery to crush the block into powder and then use the dust.

The use of low compression cocopeat for absorption purposes, normally we advise the farmers to simply break and crush the block into powder in the palm of your hand. This method practical for those fragile cocopeat either for locally produced cocopeat or imported cocopeat. The use of cocopeat for potting mix we advise the user to mix the expanded cocopeat with leaf mould or homemade organic manure in the ratio of 1:1. Add red soil or sand in small quantities for large plants, otherwise the cocopeat will not be able to hold the weight of the plants as they grow. Red soil tends to compact over time (despite the cocopeat), so take care not to mix more than one third of the mix. For germination, mix cocopeat, leaf mould and sand in the ratio of 1:1:1. If you are using commercial organic manure, it would be better to mix cocopeat and organic manure in the ratio of 10:1 as commercial organic manures are often of high strength.

coir-handIf the cocopeat are the hydroponics medium, the techniques for hydroponics it is better to throughly wash and buffer the cocopeat before use as most of the nutrient formula available on the web are not meant for growing in coir. First expand the cocopeat block as instructed earlier. Wash the expanded cocopeat in a large tub of soft water for a few minutes. Drain the water and repeat the process. If the cocopeat you bought is unwashed, you will have to repeat the process a couple of times more. Dissolve calcium nitrate in water in the ratio of 1 g per litre and allow the cocopeat to soak in the solution for 12 hours. Drain any remaining solution and wash the cocopeat again in soft water a couple of times. The cocopeat is now ready for use as a hydroponics medium. The use of cocopeat replace the conventional use of topsoil as planting media. More new agriculture technologies are adapted and towards vertical farming system to increas per square meter productivity. The sowing technology today depend on cocopeat and peatmoss as efficient and practical medium for seedling preparation.

About Araju Patel

Araju Patel -A grand son of Farmer, Management Graduate, Technopreneur. Creativity and Knowledge sharing is his passion. He is passionate about agriculture and technology. Agriculture is in his blood and technology is first love. So, He become a Founder as well Editor-in-chief for TheAgriReporter.com.

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One comment

  1. in what form can the nutrients (N,P,K) be mixed in the coco peat to increase t’s productivity & in what ratio to replenish them after one cycle of crop cultivation ?

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