Coconut soil - advantages and disadvantages of growing in coconut fiber

coconuts

What is coconut soil

It might sound like a bit of a silly question to ask what coconut soil is, but it's not at all. Coconut soil is not just soil from coconuts, it is much more complex than that. Coconut soil is actually not soil at all, it has a few things in common with soil, such as how it looks and that you can grow plants in it, but then the similarities don't really go much further than that.

What is Coconut Soil Made of

Coconut soil is, as you can probably tell from the construction of the word, made of coconut material, in fact only coconut, no other substances are added.

Coconut flour thus consists of leftover material from the production of things like coconut oil, coconut milk and so on. This means that it consists of the classic brown shell that you know from coconuts, but also the slightly softer green/yellow shell that you see in nature.

It is therefore an extremely sustainable residual product, according to many it is even the most sustainable growing medium.

Sustainability

There are several reasons why coconut soil is hailed as being very sustainable, the first of which we touched on just before is that it consists exclusively of residual material, i.e. material that would otherwise have simply been thrown out or burned.

The second reason is that coconut soil is relatively recyclable. After you have harvested, you can cleverly use your coconut soil again, for a new sowing, you can do this several times, and you can therefore enjoy your coconut soil for a long time. Furthermore, it is also a renewable resource, as there will always be coconut trees.

Sterile and disease-free soil

A consequence of the processing process for coconut soil is that the coconut soil is almost completely sterile. So even though it looks like normal soil, it is the opposite of soil, completely impossible to grow in coconut soil without added fertilizer, so there are no natural nutrients in coconut soil.

This is both an advantage and a disadvantage, it means that you are forced to fertilize your plants yourself, but it also means that you are 100% in control of the nutrient composition.

The fact that it is completely sterile also means that it is completely free from harmful pestilences such as insects and plant diseases, which are found in normal sowing soil/prick soil, plant bags and garden soil.

Why you should start using coconut soil

There are many good reasons to start using coconut soil. The first reason is to help the environment and to have a better conscience. Coconut soil is really good, but it is not a miracle cure.

There are several other alternative growing media that can also grow plants as quickly as coconut soil, however none of them are nearly as sustainable. Kokosfibrene is, among other things, very suitable as a substitute for it environmentally harmful use of sphagnum, which increases the emission of CO2.

How to use coconut soil

Using coconut soil as your primary growing medium is not quite as simple as it is when growing with soil. There are both some advantages and some disadvantages that help to make it a little different to work with.

When you receive your package with coconut soil, you can't just pour it into a pot and start planting your seeds, unfortunately it's not that simple.

Coconut soil is delivered in heavily compressed "bricks" of coconut fibers, so that it takes up as little space as possible to store, and to save on the environmental impact of transport.

The compacted coconut soil has an extremely high absorbency. With just one "brick" of around 650 grams of coconut soil, you can add almost 4 liters of water.

After you have left the water mixture for approx. half an hour, you will have approximately 9 liters of nice clean coconut soil ready for cultivation!

Add liquid plant fertilizer

Before you mix the water with the coconut soil, you should mix fertilizer into the water. We at plantelys.dk recommend that you use liquid fertilizer produced in Denmark Big Plant Science, but depending on the type of plant you want to grow, what is the optimal fertilizer can vary.

Water buffer

With the high content of water in the "soil", it is almost impossible for your plants to dry out (if you remember to water fairly regularly).

Because of the way coir absorbs water, water is always available, but it is "stored" in the coir, so you don't have to worry about your plants drowning in water.

Furthermore, coconut soil is highly oxygenated, which ensures that your plants create a stronger root network!!

Addition to garden soil

If you feel that pure coconut soil is a little too big a leap to take, it is also possible to mix coconut soil with real soil, as an addition to your potting soil and garden soil. This is a really good technique, which we also recommend, as this way you get many of the benefits from both soil types, without it feeling too much like a drastic transition. 

Hydroponic cultivation

If you are very used to growing plants and vegetables with soil, but have a small dream before today to start growing plants hydroponically, coconut soil can also be a really good start.

Coconut soil is in many ways a middle ground between conventional soil cultivation and hydroponics, so it is a good project to embark on if you would like to have a slightly smoother transition to hydroponics.

Who knows, you may also love coconut soil farming and stick with it!

microgreens plant
Microgreens grown from organic seeds

For growing microgreens

Microgreens are also very suitable to be grown in coconut soil. Because microgreens are so small and so close to the ground, it is a huge benefit that the coconut soil is sterile so that you don't run the risk of "messing up" with your food when you harvest your microgreens.

If you have never heard of microgreens they are, in short, small and nutritious immature vegetable sprouts, they can be grown in a container or tray either in a kitchen or wherever you have space.

With a grow lights is it also possible to grow microgreens in dark rooms, such as the basement. Or as a nice edible decoration on your kitchen table, where it is grown with coconut mulch without harmful bacteria. We have many beautiful ones grolys lamps which you can have standing on your kitchen table. 

Microgreens are also called "real superfoods" because they contain many more nutrients than fully grown vegetables. You can read more about growing microgreens in our blog here. Or you can see our selection of microgreen seeds and accessories

Summary list of pros and cons of growing with coconut soil

  • Advantage
    • Peat-free planting soil made from coconut fiber and coconut shell
    • Much more environmentally friendly than both sphagnum and peat moss
    • The most sustainable growing medium/growing medium beyond hydroponics
    • Is a renewable resource, so the earth will never run out of it.
    • Faster plant growth and larger harvest than with normal soil
    • Is sterile and disease-free, and therefore very good for micro green
    • Super good beginner's step in hydroponics
    • Very high water retention properties
    • Airy and therefore gives stronger roots
    • Relatively simple and easy to grow in
    • Can be reused to grow plants multiple times
    • Low CO2 emissions
  •  Disadvantages
    • Good price for growing microgreens, but for a whole plant bed it can be expensive.
    • Bad coconut soil can contain a lot of salt due to the processing, but we only have high quality coconut soil
    • Coconut soil is sterile and without nutrients, therefore it is absolutely necessary to fertilize
    • It can be difficult to find coconut soil in the regular garden centers, but you can easily buy it here
    • It may look like ordinary soil, which may confuse some.
    • Easy, but more difficult than ordinary soil

If you need help or want to know more, you are more than welcome to contact our team of experts here