Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stumbling upon cocopeat

I sent Superman shopping.

He always has to go with a list written in big clear letters because he takes his little yellow scooter and scoots to where he needs to go for the bits and pieces but he can't wear his glasses with the helmet. So I wrote P O T T I N G  S O I L on his list.

I needed him to get the potting soil for repotting of the tomato seedlings last weekend as they were ready for the next step up. Tomatoes benefit from repotting about 3 or 4 times before they are finally planted out. This builds a strong stem and root structure so that when they finally land in the bed, they are well established and can handle the summer heat.

Superman came back with cocopeat.

I looked at the bag with huge suspicion as when I see the word PEAT all I can think about is the peat beds which are being dug up to extinction for unwise gardeners wanting an acid growing medium.

Peat bogs are in serious danger of running out and there are so many other ways to create an acid soil.

I have used rooibos mulch on my acid loving plants, old tea and teabags and even have had my kids collect pine needles on our walks to mulch around these plants.

I researched the cocopeat and was quite excited with what I read...so without trying to turn into Wiki, here is a simple précis of what it is:

There are many coconut products that require the flesh and milk but the husks have always been thrown away as useless. It is now being recycled through processing it into a potassium rich product which can be used in potting mixes or as a mulch.

I happily mixed it into my last bit of potting soil and got busy repotting tomatoes.

I ran out towards the end and just used some of my own sifted compost for the last few plants...a week later the results showed for themselves....

Tomato after 1 week in cocopeat mix
Tomato after 1 week in normal compost
So I went shopping.

I went and bought another bag of cocopeat and mixed it in with a bag of potting soil and potted all the cherry tomatoes that were ready and the chilli plants. Let's hope it does the same wonderful thing.

So here's the downside...

It's EXPENSIVE!

Well...from the local hardware store that is! But there are places online where you can buy it cheaper in a dry brick and then you can rehydrate it yourself.

As we are over our main seed sowing push I can budget for this for next season, when in a couple of months time we start preparing our autumn crops.

Have you tried cocopeat? What is your favourite growing medium?

3 comments:

Olive's mum said...

Thank you for this info. I have a few coconut trees at home and will research on how to make the peat.

Anne Anderson said...

Hi Wendy, I was at Stodels Kenilworth this week and they are selling cocopeat!! I had just seen your post so bought some! It is R24.99 for a block that makes up 10 litres of peat...

Zikhona Tefu said...

You can also use it as a worm bedding!! Worms love it..