So how important it is for growers to use coco coir safe nutrients?
Let’s summarize some key features of cocopeat. Coco mats have a pH range of 6 to 6.7, which makes them good for hydroponic growing systems. Coir has excellent water holding capacity and can hold upto 8 to 9 times its weight in water. It provides excellent aeration to roots and strong resistance to bacteria and fungus.
Michael Staumietis of Advanced Nutrients, writing in the July 18, 2008 edition of “American Chronicles” reports, the lignin in coco mats encourages beneficial bacteria in hydroponic systems and discourages harmful bacteria. He writes; “studies suggest that lignin helps suppress root rot diseases such as pythium and phytothora.”
Coir doesn’t come with nutrients unlike soil and we need to give a 100% supply of essential nutrients. Some of the cheaper quality coir contain lot of salts and are needed to be washed thoroughly but if you invest a bit more on the quality you are ready to use the product immediately.
If the nutrients you’re using are not designed to be coco coir safe, you’ll not only be missing out on the gigantic yields but you could be running the risk poisoning or starving your plants!
It’s true that calcium and magnesium both occur naturally in coco coir. But the amounts of each aren’t sufficient to feed your plants. However, calcium and magnesium are both naturally attracted to bind to coco coir! Chris Jefferson confirms this in his article post, “most coir contains lots of potassium, and it transfers some to your crops. Coir locks up magnesium and calcium and the only thing that defeats the lock-up is to add calcium and magnesium so your hydroponics plants can get enough of these two essential elements”. Which means only the highest quality; chelated forms of magnesium and calcium are able to succeed in a growing environment that uses coco coir. You need to charge your coir with calcium-magnesium mixture white watering it. Where Chris recommends Sensi Cal product from Advanced Nutrients, I suggest the same as Sensi Cal was designed to operate in a less-than-ideal environment and bring everything up to speed.
Remember, if your nutrients don’t use chelated magnesium and calcium, you’re missing out on better yields. A lot of inferior brands will try to add dolomite lime as a quick-fix to solve this problem, but don’t be fooled with the cheaper versions that aren’t effective it’s also true that if a hydroponic nutrient or supplement doesn’t account for the levels of potassium already present in coco coir, you risk potassium toxicity.
Coir on the other hand, is light in weight and retains nutrients against leaching. You’ll observe that it buffers supply of the nutrients at the same time. The product doesn’t shrink during your growing cycle.
Considering the above facts, it’s very important to ensure the hydroponic nutrient products you’re buying are coco coir safe.