Using coconut coir for weed seeds

Coco Coir and Cannabis Production

Over the last decade cannabis production has come out of the closet, quite literally. The first person I knew to have grown his own cannabis (or marijuana or pot or whichever name you prefer to call it) grew several pots of it in his bedroom closet, hidden away from his parents. And while some folks may grow cannabis in places unseen by parental and other authorities’ eyes, at-home and/or commercial legal cannabis production is now A-OK in 18 states and Washington, D.C. with more coming on board every year.

If you’re just beginning to grow cannabis legally, you’ll want to grow it correctly. While we won’t get into the day-to-day details of cannabis production here, we will explain how to get your cannabis crop off to the best start possible. It all starts with your growing media (and we know growing media). Specifically, one growing media of choice for many growers is coco coir.

What Is Coco Coir?

Professional cannabis cultivators all agree that drainage and aeration are key to a successful crop. Many achieve this by using coco coir as their growing medium. Coco coir, if you’re not familiar, is produced from the humble coconut, specifically the fibrous material found between the husk and the coconut itself. This material holds water well but also allows for good drainage. (I know it’s hard to wrap your brain around being both water-holding and water-draining at the same time, but let’s chalk it up to science.) Well-draining growing media allows for good air flow, which is good for root growth. And a good, healthy root system is the secret to a great crop of pretty much anything, including cannabis.

Coco coir has another beneficial aspect that is good for not just cannabis but also the planet. It’s a renewable product. Coir’s water-holding-and-water-draining characteristic allows it to be a great substitution for peat moss, which is not a quick-to-renew resource. Less peat being used means less mining, which means less damage to the sensitive and diminishing peat bogs of the northern hemisphere. We came across an article in the New York Times that explains the peat and climate change situation HERE.

The Science of Coir

I mentioned “science” above, and it turns out “science” is a key aspect of why coco coir is an ideal medium for growing cannabis as well as other crops. Some of the properties of coir that allow crops to thrive when grown in it include:

Neutral pH. Its pH is close to neutral (6), so coir can be used straightaway. Peat is acidic (as low as 3-4) and needs to be treated with lime before use. This neutrality is good because it allows the user to add the nutrient mix of their choosing.

High cation exchange rate. This allows nutrients to be stored and used as needed, except for calcium and magnesium, which coir tends to hold on to. Adjust your nutrients accordingly. A calcium and/or magnesium supplement is a must do when growing in coco coir.

Packed with nutrients and biostimulants. It’s a formerly living thing, so it comes packed with its own set of nutrients, such as potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, to name a few. Again, you should take this into account when considering what nutrients to apply. It also contains biostimulants, which act as growth enhancers and give whatever is planted in it a boost.

Watch for salts. If there is a downside of coir it’s the fact that the product in its raw form contains salts. You, the end user buying coco coir products, don’t really need to worry too much about the salt level because it has been processed and washed extensively before you receive it. But if for some reason you’ve found some compressed blocks of raw coir, do know the salts need to be rinsed away or else it can harm your crops.

What Makes Cocodelphia Great

We at Organic Mechanics think our Cocodelphia coco coir product is one of the best on the market. Why? For one thing, we buy our coir from just one farm in India, so our variability in quality is essentially non-existent. That farm washes the coir several times and relies on the monsoons of Southeast Asia to accomplish this. Once we have received the coir, it’s washed again as we rehydrate the air-dried, compressed coir blocks. Essentially, Cocodelphia is triple washed.

Our Cocodelphia is also continually tested for heavy metals, and each test result comes back clean. Don’t just take our word for it! Our customers have done their own testing and tell us it’s the cleanest heavy metal-free coir for cannabis production around. And for you professional cannabis growers out there, you know cannabis that fails a heavy metal test means a lost crop and lost profits.

Cocodelphia is also ready to go straight out of the bag. Add in some other beneficial amendments such as Biochar Blend or Worm Castings for a punch of nutrition. Or plant in the bag and save yourself the time of potting.

For more information about coco coir, check out the great content on the Maximum Yield site, beginning with THIS ARTICLE.

Do Note! Cannabis production is not legal nationwide. While it may be legal to cultivate cannabis where you are, many states do still consider it illegal unless you possess a state-issued license. Check and abide by your state and local laws before you grow. If, however, you have the option to grow cannabis and you know you are doing everything legally, by all means, please do! And give our Cocodelphia a try while you’re at it.

Growing Cannabis in Coco Coir Perlite Mix

When planning to grow cannabis indoors or outdoors, cannabis cultivators have various options from which to choose and many decisions to make as far as cultivation methodology. In addition to deciding on the strain genetics, lighting, and nutrients to use, cultivators must choose the most appropriate grow medium—as well as whether the garden will be hydroponic, aeroponic, DWC, or soil-grown.

All cultivation methods have their devotees, who will debate fervently about why their way of doing things is superior, but the fact of the matter is that are widely used in the cannabis space, and both can produce outstanding cannabis.

This article will address two of the lesser-used grow medias: coco coir and perlite. Soil-based gardens can utilize a wide variety of ingredients for various soil mixes, including basic potting soil, coarse sand, sphagnum moss, wood chips, coco coir, perlite, fine gravel, and compost. As long as the grow medium has good aeration and drainage, cannabis plant roots can grow healthy and strong.

Combining perlite and coco coir as the only two ingredients in a potting mixture can yield excellent results.However, its use together is somewhat unconventional compared to more mainstream practices that utilize soil in the mix. Here, we will show you the pros and cons of coco coir and perlite and how to make your own soil mix.

Perlite

Perlite is heat-treated volcanic ash derived from obsidian. To create the form used in cannabis cultivation, it’s mined and then heated at very high temperatures in a specific manner and treated so that it assumes the small, lightweightgranular form that has a Styrofoam appearance and consistency.

Perlite is generally available in three grades: fine, medium, and coarse. Cannabis growers usually use the fine-grade perlite in their grow mixture to improve the drainage of the medium.

Perlite is a popular grow medium for use in both hydroponic and soil grows. The absence of conventional potting soil makes the mix less dense, with lots of aeration, promoting the development of cannabis root systems. Perlite is valuable for its ability to provide aeration to growing mixes.

Many cultivation mixes utilize either perlite or vermiculite, and both work well. Both are a common ingredient in mixes, and each accomplishes the same purpose—aeration—so rarely will you see both used together.

Perlite has some unique features that make it beneficial for both outdoor and indoor horticulture. It’s very lightweight—much like coco coir—so plant pots or bags will have much less weight when filled, which are easier to transport. Because of its lightweight, porous structure, perlite absorbs water like a sponge and retains it well, promoting water retention and aeration, which will prevent stagnation of dense soils and nutrient buildup.

It also has a neutral pH level. Perlite pH typically falls in the 6.5 to 7.5 range—which is the perfect level for growing high-quality cannabis.Since pH is neutral, it will not affect the water’s pH or EC.

When used with soil, perlite breaks up soil density and makes the mix less compact. It helps the soil retain water and provides vital aeration. Giving your roots more oxygen promotes faster growth.

Although a great way to grow cannabis, soil can become very compact, especially after repeated watering, which makes the soil settle and increases the risk of overwatering. Perlite is valuable for breaking up the dense consistency of settled soils and allows cannabis to grow unrestricted beneath the soil surface. Also, because it promotes a less-dense consistency to cultivation media, it encourages faster water absorption and runoff.

Perlite is inorganic and stable, so there is no risk of introducing harmful fungi or bacteria into a garden when using it. It will not decompose or break down to be a source of harmful pathogens. All of these benefits make it a great material for use with clones. A clone’s new roots can easily work their way through the lightweight structure of the grow medium with perlite, which is especially helpful if the roots are growing fast.

You can make your own perlite mix or buy prepared grow mediums that have perlite added to the mix. Generally, cannabis growers add between 10 and 50% perlite to the grow mix. For plants that use only a small concentration of nutrients and additives, 20% perlite mix is good. For plants that use a lot of nutrients, 50% perlite in the mix can improve drainage and help prevent nutrient buildup and lockout.

Coco Coir

Coco coir (pronounced “coy-er”) is a recycled, organic material that comes from the husk of coconuts. This coarse, fibrous material is an excellent medium for growing cannabis plants.

Coco coir is primarily grown in Sri Lanka and India. Since they have a similar consistency, many pre-made soil mixes contain either peat moss or coco coir, but coco coir can be sold separately in blocks, chips, or bags with loose material such as FoxFarm Coco Loco potting mix. Both materials can work well and have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Most cannabis cultivators have a preference for one or the other, with more of them opting for coco rather than sphagnum and peat moss.

Although similar to peat moss in its consistency, coco coir has its own unique set of benefits, which differentiates one from the other. One of the benefits of coco coir is that its pH typically runs 6.0 to 6.7, which is within the ideal range for cannabis—and very similar to the pH of perlite.

Since coco coir is harvested from coconuts, it’s a renewable resource—unlike peat moss. Generally, peat moss is unsustainable. It comes from bogs and grows very slowly. Harvesting peat moss negatively affects the ecosystem that thrives in this environment.

In addition, coco coir does not have to be replaced as often as peat moss. Peat moss breaks down quicker than coco coir. Coco coir can be used multiple times if it is properly rinsed.

Coco coir also absorbs water better and is easier to rehydrate if it becomes overly dry. It has excellent water-retention properties, retaining eight to 30 times its own weight. Like peat moss, coco coir is an outstanding habitat for microorganisms and is free of pests, pathogens, and weed seeds.

Coco coir is also durable and due to its lignin content, it breaks down slower than peat moss. Finally, coco coir is typically less expensive than peat moss—and this lower cost is something that everyone can appreciate.