How to prepare cocopeat in hydroponic farming

How to prepare cocopeat in hydroponic farming

Coconut fibre, is a natural fibre extracted from the outer husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses.

Coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir (made from ripe coconut) are in upholstery padding, sacking and horticulture. White coir, harvested from unripe coconuts, is used for making finer brushes, string, rope and fishing nets.

It has the advantage of not sinking, so can be used in long lengths on deep water without the added weight dragging down boats and buoys.

Hydroponics farming is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants, usually crops, without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent.

Terrestrial plants may be grown with only their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid, or, in addition, the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as pumice, cocopeat, perlite, gravel, or other substrates.

Despite inert media, roots can cause changes of the rhizosphere pH and root exudates can affect the rhizosphere biology.

The nutrients used in hydroponic systems can come from many different sources, including (but not limited to) fish excrement, duck manure, purchased chemical fertilizers, or artificial nutrient solutions.

Plants commonly grown hydroponically, on inert media, include

  • tomatoes,
  • peppers,
  • cucumbers,
  • strawberries,
  • lettuces,
  • marijuana, and
  • model plants like Arabidopsis thaliana

Preparation

Cocopeat is used as a growing medium for hydroponic crops, plant preparation and bedding of plants.

it is 100% organic and eco-friendly media for horticulture, floriculture and hydroponic farming.

Types of cocopeat

There are different types of cocopeat for different reasons because of the difference in quality.

  • Fine cocopeat best for top dressing on preparation trays
  • Medium size ideal for seedlings propagation and cuttings.
  • Sky one best for roses with 20% fibre 80% cocopeat.
  • Sky two 30% fibre and 70% cocopeat ideal for supplementing to pumice.
  • Sky three ideal for tomatoes and vine growing in hydroponics
  • Coco chips are ideal for regulating the aeration as it is ideal air to moisture ratio for the plants roots.

Advantages of cocopeat

  • High water retention capacity
  • Little water is required
  • Improved aeration and prevent root rot in plants
  • Longer retention of fertilizer especially during dry seasons

Steps and procedures

  • Break down  the cocopeat block into small pieces, crush the cocopeat into powder form
  • Add at least 30 litres of clean water and wash carefully to remove sodium salts (Sodium Chloride, Sodium fluoride and any other unwanted salts)
  • Take the Ec (Electrical conductivity) reading using a digital pH meter.
  • Remove the cocopeat from water by squeezing a handful of amounts and placing them on a clean surface.
  • Ensure all the cocopeat is removed by sieving the water using insect net provided while ensuring that the decanted sodium salts are discarded.
  • Repeat this procedure at least 3 times until the Ec of less than 600 is achieved.
  • Measure 20 litres of water, add 10gm of calcium nitrate and mix thoroughly
  • Soak for at least 12hrs
  • Remove cocopeat from soaking water by squeezing a handful amount, put the cocopeat back in the bucket and add at least 20 litres of clean water, test the pH and adjust accordingly.
  • Remove the cocopeat from water by squeezing a handful amount and spread evenly on a clean surface (polythene paper) to dry out.
  • Once dry it is ready for seedlings propagation and hydroponic media.

N/B Decantation is very crucial. Visible sodium salts should be observed after the first wash and must be discarded.

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