RECENT ADVANCES IN COIR AS A GROWING MEDIUM
In intensive greenhouse production (controlled environment agriculture) improving the root environment not only becomes feasible but necessary. Soil is not a good option and over the past 50 years the only products to gain general acceptance have been rock wool and peat. Peat is now considered to be a limited resource, and the production of rock wool is energy demanding with the additional problem of disposal after use. Coir (cocopeat) is obtained from the husk of the coconut, and is essentially a waste product. It has been used for at least 10 years as a potting medium, and is slowly gaining acceptance as a growing medium because of its excellent aeration and water holding characteristics. Grading coir for particle size by sieving, and then appropriately mixing the different size grades provides an opportunity to optimize the physical characteristics of the mix and thus match the medium to the crop, and thus enhance crop productivity. Quarantine has become a concern in some countries, and the potential for developing a carbonized form of coir as a substitute for rockwool is being considered.
Nichols, M.A. and Savidov, N.A. (2009). RECENT ADVANCES IN COIR AS A GROWING MEDIUM. Acta Hortic. 843, 333-336
size grading, quarantine, carbonization