Monday, February 22

Coconut Coir vs Peat Moss

I've been reading up on the latest fads in gardening, and it seems that everyone is buzzing about coconut coir as a germination medium since it is more renewable than peat moss (which is renewable, but takes a long time to grow). So I thought I'd give it a whirl. All I have to lose is money, right?

I bought two types of coir - bricks, which should be soaked in a tub of water, and pellets, which are meant to replace the jiffy disks in germination trays. The bricks remain to be opened, as only one flat of seedlings was planted today, they were $2.50 for ~8 quarts.

For about $5, a box of 72 pellets were plunked into the tray, and warm water added to make them expand and get damp. Be sure to place them in the tray oriented vertically, with the circular sides of the cylinder on top & bottom. Horizontal pellets will expand into the sides of the cell, and remain rather dense (a small screwdriver helped break up the clumps), one cracked the cell wall of a recycled tray. Vertical pellets will expand upwards, looking a little too much like Canadian goose poop, but pouring water over the top helps them settle flat. They expanded quickly - within a few minutes, much faster than peat pellets.

I found the pellets to be a bit small for the cells (perhaps they'll expand more overnight), and didn't fill the cavities completely. But for ease of use and rapid expansion they get high marks. I'm not thrilled at the cost, especially compared to the bricks of coir. Perhaps I can find a different supplier that sells them bulk.
So what did I start you ask?
Garlic Chives
Regular Chives
Spicy Globe Basil
Dark Opal Basil
Creeping Thyme
Lemon Balm
Sweet Basil
Flat Parsley
Curled Parsley

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