Benefits of Reusing Coco Coir
Save Time and Money in Gardening
By reusing the very substrate used as growing medium, the cost of repurchasing new one is saved. Also, the time spent purchasing and preparing is also exempt from the process of preparing for a new growing cycle.
Environmentally Friendly Gardening Solution
Coco coir by itself is biodegradable, but practically will take up to 7 years depending on the quality. So by reusing them, they will not end up in land waste and avoid taking up lots of space, effectively decreasing the amount of waste outputted to the environment.
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Factors to Consider Before Reusing Coco Coir
Understanding the Structure of Coco Coir
Based on the physical attributes to decide whether to reuse coco coir or not. Coco coir tends to degrade at a faster rate after the first reuse with washes and buffers as the main reason. As they come closer to their end of use cycle, they become smaller and more packed in structure, losing their sponge-like characteristics. This means that they gradually lose their aeration, providing less drainage, and less water retention. Therefore, when you reuse your coco coir for the third/fourth time if your coir is provided, you should add 10-20% fresh coir or perlite for a successful harvest.
Evaluating Coco Coir’s Pathogen History
Another thing to look out for is the pathogen history. This is important to keep note of as they affect the plant’s condition and reaction, even in small amounts. Therefore, be extra picky when choosing coco coir to reused based on their pathogen history.
How to Reuse Coco Coir Properly
Reconditioning Coco Coir for Reuse
Follow the simple steps below:
- Harvest from pots, grow bags, hydroponic systems, remove plant roots or debris. Enzymes can be used to assist in this process.
- Rinse the coco coir with lots of water, then soak them in water for 24-48 hours to totally rid it of salts and impurity.
- Buffer and monitor the pH. Make changes to the pH if its not in the balance
- Optional sterilization.
- Dry the coco coir with necessary means, then store for future use in container or bag.
By reconditioning your coco coir, you not only save money but also reduce waste, making it a sustainable choice for your gardening needs. This is just the barebone process, feel free to optimize this with anything fitting for your convenience.
Important Considerations for Successful Reuse
Cycles after cycles, the more time they get reused, the less efficient the coir gets as the minerals and chemical compound leftover accumulated- which include salt, and too much salt is fatal by locking out other nutrients, causing deficiencies can kill crop if left unattained
Also, as the product is reused, it loses some of its lignin structure. Because of this, most growers only reuse coco coir two or three times before replacing it. Meanwhile, some growers choose to mix new coir into old ones to extend its life. Overall, to a certain point of reusing, your coco coir will begin to break down and won’t be as capable of holding roots or maintaining an optimal moisture level.
Using Advanced Nutrients Enzymes for Breaking Down Dead Root Material
At some point using coco coir, you will need to break down root material, this is where enzymes step in. By breaking down old, dead root material, you free the coir space, release them and allow them to get back into a sponge-like structure, providing their intended benefits.
Enzymes transform root material into sugars by attaching to substrates. Once the enzymes transform root material into sugars, beneficial microbes in the rhizosphere consume the sugars for energy. Then, they create more enzymes, continuing the cycle and clearing up the root zone.
Conclusion: Give Coco Coir a Second Life in Your Garden
If cared for properly, coco coir can last for as long as you want it to, but not eternally. Of course, you could use your coco coir once and buy a new one once you’re done, but if you’re an eco-conscious gardener and you want to be super-green, then you have the option, and now the knowledge to do so.