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Any other coco lovers here?  My last few indoor crops have been in 100% coco, and I've also used it in outdoor mixes.  Oh, not supposed to talk about outdoors here, strike that  :P

 

Coco can be an excellent choice of growing medium for a number of reasons, including:

  • Simple
  • Cheap
  • Can be used almost like soil (i.e. hand-water from above once per day)
  • Can respond quickly to plant and nutrient changes like other hydro methods
  • all-natural organic medium, easy to dispose of if not reusing

 

There has been much talk about different brands of coco and how well they work, but I think it might be better to start talking about the right way(s) to use coco.  If we use it in the right way it becomes less important exactly which brand of coco we start with.

 

Rinsing

Coco is, of course, the shredded husks of coconuts.  Generally it's left to age and separate in open pools, frequently pools of salt or salty water.  This can result in high salt levels in the coco, very undesireable for growers.  To deal with this many coco manufacturers advertise their product as "rinsed" or "free of salts".  But is it really?

 

Since I grow in Smart Pots I find it easy to hydrate the coco in a smart pot, then measure the run-off ppm.  Whatever the brand I'm starting with, I rinse with 6.0 ph water until runoff ppm is close to the starting ppm of the rinse water.

 

Pre-Treating

Pre-Treating refers to soaking or rinsing the coco with a nutrient solution prior to using.  This is done to satisfy the coco's Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), defined as:

 

The cation exchange capacity (CEC) of a growing medium indicates the ability of the medium to retain nutrients for plant uptake between fertilization periods. Typically, the higher the CEC, the greater the ability of the growth medium to retain nutrients against leaching during irrigation and serve as a buffer from abrupt fluctuations in soil salinity and pH. (http://cocopeatsrilanka.com/tech_spec.html)

 

So, if you water coco with a nutrient solution, the coco may absorb cations from the nutes (primarily calcium and magnesium in our case) before the plant has a chance to absorb the nutrients.  If the coco has already had its fill of cations, however, all nutrients will be available for the plants.  Pre-Treating, then, is ensuring that the coco has aborbed all it can of the appropriate nutrients before introducing plants and trying to feed.

 

Again, some manufacturers say their coco is already pre-treated, but do we need to trust them or take the risk that it isn't?  I like to water well with a nutrient solution containing additional calcium and magnesium (last grow I used 6 ml/gallon of Cal-Mag for pre-treating with excellent results).  I've pre-treated with about one gallon of nute mix for each gallon of soil.  No idea if that's an appropriate ratio, but it seems to work for me.

 

Feeding and Watering  

There seems to be plenty of debate on this.  Some successful growers water multiple times per day, with drippers, ebb-and-flow, or any other hydroponic watering system.  Other successful growers water only once per day or every other day and still have happy plants.

 

I think problems are more likely to arise if you let coco dry out too much.  I like to keep the coco damp, watering by hand once per day just until run-off, with a fairly light balanced nute regime (last few grows have used Gen. Hydroponics Flora nutrients, 6ml Grow and 9ml Bloom per gallon).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what experience have you other coco lovers and haters had?

 

 

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Coco is quite a bit cheaper than hydroton, although I wouldn't pick one or the other on price alone.  More people seem to use hydroton than coco in ebb and flow setups, maybe because it's a bit harder to keep coco from running out of the pots, down into the reservoir, and maybe clogging the pump.  I have seen pics of nice ebb and flow grows of coco in smart pots.

 

Just read a tip yesterday to make sure to flush coco weekly (from the top?) in an ebb and flow setup.  Apparently the wicking effect of coco may result in nute salt buildup just above the ebb and flow high water mark.

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I've only heard of mixing coir 50 50 with vermicompost. then you dont have to mess with using any water caked in special nutrients. this urban farm in milwakee does it, check it out. if you want some tips on how to vermicompost, just ask. its super easy.

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Coco is quite a bit cheaper than hydroton, although I wouldn't pick one or the other on price alone.  More people seem to use hydroton than coco in ebb and flow setups, maybe because it's a bit harder to keep coco from running out of the pots, down into the reservoir, and maybe clogging the pump.  I have seen pics of nice ebb and flow grows of coco in smart pots.

 

Just read a tip yesterday to make sure to flush coco weekly (from the top?) in an ebb and flow setup.  Apparently the wicking effect of coco may result in nute salt buildup just above the ebb and flow high water mark.

 

 

I get 6-7 gallons of Coco mix for $3. Using the perlite, of course. It's a little GH block. I'd recommend mixing it anywhere between 4 gallons and 8 gallons. I've been playing with the ratios and seeing what it does.

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PS - It's perfectly cool to discuss outdoor growing. There is nothing in the State law preventing or limiting outdoor growing.

 

If I build my outdoor box in the coming 2 weeks, it'll be using Coco and perlite, maybe some worm castings too. That and all organic fertilizers.

 

I was even thinking of doing a gravity drip inside the grow box and maybe making a lowryder/autoflower box (with a 24hour flouro light source).

 

lots of funs stuff.

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Hey Greenleaf, thanks for the tips. I've used a mix outdoors of equal parts coco, local soil, and worm castings. I get the worm castings pretty cheap from a worm farm in northern MI. That mix plus some time-release ferts (Osmocote or similar) kept plants growing well and happy for nearly the entire season, I only had to add some more nutrients in about late August.

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Hey Greenleaf, thanks for the tips. I've used a mix outdoors of equal parts coco, local soil, and worm castings. I get the worm castings pretty cheap from a worm farm in northern MI. That mix plus some time-release ferts (Osmocote or similar) kept plants growing well and happy for nearly the entire season, I only had to add some more nutrients in about late August.

 

What is the name of the worm farm. I vermicompost at home right now, and I'm trying to find a way to get a large scale one going for Northern Michigan Univerity in da UP. Let me know if you want to make your own castings.

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  • 6 months later...

It is hard for me to understand why some growers are still using promix. I started using promix plus organic guano teas. After a year I was sick of playing with bat bullschuette and bog moss. I switched to coco a god send. I can get results as good as any hydro system still use pots but much smaller. Even for moms. If you check your garden every day bigger than a 1 gallon pot is seldom needed and actually using to big of pot can water log your plant if you dont let it dry a little. Ionic for soil and coco will blast em out. you almost always get a nitogen def. around day 21 of flower because Ionic is week on nitogen but the buds keep growing till finnish and you never get a bad nitrogen taste. I always use ro because of the rust n my water I just add back cal-mag. My feed goes as follows every water no flush till the last 10 days. Veg till three weeks Flower: Ionic soil & coco 4 tsp. per gal, Calmag 1 tsp. per gallon, Green fuse bloom and root stims 1 tsp. per gallon, liquid karma 1 tsp. per gallon,House and garden drip clean @ .4 ml/pg and 29% hydregon peroxide @ 2ml per gallon. After 3 weeks flower I feed I onic bloom 4 tsp. per gallon, Ionic boost 3/4 tsp. per gallon, greenfuse bloom stim 1 tsp. per gallon, liquid karma @ 1 tsp. per gallon, calmag 1tsp. per gallon, drip cleen @ .4ml per gallon then the peroxide. I ph my mix to 5.8 avg. and run my ec at 1.4 to 1.8 . I water to run off and let the coco dry a little in between waterings. with this formula and the right strain + corect watering equals 2# a 1000 watter for sure. The peroxide keeps root rot at bay plus roots sparkly white. It needs to be added to a bulk rez every 3 days. I use botanicare cocogro bags never the bricks. instead of perlite I amend with coco crutons. I ave also used the whole line of house & garden with coco and it worked good too. coco head for life hand waterd makes the best roots if you know how to feel the coco.

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  • 1 month later...

I've only heard of mixing coir 50 50 with vermicompost. then you dont have to mess with using any water caked in special nutrients. this urban farm in milwakee does it, check it out. if you want some tips on how to vermicompost, just ask. its super easy.

 

 

I began adding wormcastings to coir when the local hydro store ran out of coir. I mixed 50/50 to extend my grow medium. What a difference! I've used this mixture ever since.

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I began adding wormcastings to coir when the local hydro store ran out of coir. I mixed 50/50 to extend my grow medium. What a difference! I've used this mixture ever since.

 

I use a 50/50 mix of coir + sphagnum peat and then mix in organic nutrients + worm castings. The plants love the stuff and I use the same mix for all stages of development. No problems.

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  • 3 months later...

This is great information guys, thanks for cutting to the chase. I have just started my first coco grow using Roots COCO Fiber, (which is a perlite, coco, castings, organics, etc mix). Excited to see how I can rock em out. I am thinking of setting up 8 pot 5 gallon DTW coco. Would like to use organic nutes have been using the Buddha series & will continue as I think I have found the right drippers to not get clogged.... Thanks again for the great info coming from the Mitten.

 

2Dog

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I have made many mistakes but using coco has never been one of them in growing - good stuff and I use bricks . It takes a 5 gallon bucket to expand one . They work real well for people who have issues lifting heavy dirt up until their expanded . When I did hydro I used to put coco on top of my pots above the clay balls and waterline just keeping it moist as needed starting sprouts in place . Best tip on starting sprouts I was given was from the BACC . Just put seeds after soaking in water for min of 24 hours ( ones that sink will germinate but try all its ok to tap them and watch them fall but handle as little as possible especially sprouts later ) in a sealed plastic bag within folded moist paper towel 3 or 4 sheets and set it on the cable box leaving it alone for 4-5 days . If you dont have a cable box tape to the warmest wall in the house . Low or no light best . Have nice one inch or better sprouts each time . Just dont cover up all the air circulation siits on your cable box and the temp is perfect for 90% of strains .

 

For people new to growing medicinal Cannabis the most common mistakes , wrong PH , over water and over fertilization .( I still do them 3 years into this . ) Most fertilizers instructions err on selling more fertilizer .

Edited by Croppled1
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  • 11 months later...

If it ain't broke don't fix it . I just switched from cocotek to sunshine #4 advanced too funny how were all looking for a edge . I liked the sunshine mix because of the drainage and everything is in it . Also the 1 cu foot bags are manageable but coco is too expecialy cocotek bricks . One fills up a 5 gallon pail . I put perlite in mine with a few tablespoons of dolomite . Dolomite is all I add to the sunshime mix except for worm tea and castings when they get to a foot tall . Fighting to turn around my grows faster then 5 months . I was only using 400 watts going to try doubling everything electricity is cheaper then cannabis . Though I have to admit product from a good caregiver is worthwhile if your needs are low and you have the income to purchase as a stratagy .

Edited by Croppled1
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If it ain't broke don't fix it . I just switched from cocotek to sunshine #4 advanced too funny how were all looking for a edge . I liked the sunshine mix because of the drainage and everything is in it . Also the 1 cu foot bags are manageable but coco is too expecialy cocotek bricks . One fills up a 5 gallon pail . I put perlite in mine with a few tablespoons of dolomite . Dolomite is all I add to the sunshime mix except for worm tea and castings when they get to a foot tall . Fighting to turn around my grows faster then 5 months . I was only using 400 watts going to try doubling everything electricity is cheaper then cannabis . Though I have to admit product from a good caregiver is worthwhile if your needs are low and you have the income to purchase as a stratagy .

 

I run a perpetual grow so I try not to run out... ;)

 

Not looking for an edge really, just something a little better.

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  • 8 months later...

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