How To Use Cocopeat
14 January 2016
Cocopeat is shipped in compressed form to reduce transport and handling costs. Converting cocopeat blocks to coir dust is easy. All you need to do is add water to the block and the block will puff up into moist fluffy cocopeat. Just add sufficient water to the block to make sufficient quantity of moist cocopeat. You can put away the unexpanded block for later use.
If you need to expand the whole block, immerse the block in a large tub capable of holding at least 25 litres 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.
If you are 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.
If you are using low compression cocopeat for absorption purposes, you can simply break and crush the block into powder in the palm of your hand.
Using cocopeat for potting mix: 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.
Using cocopeat as hydroponics medium: 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 (available in agri supply stores) 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.