My favorite loose growing medium is coconut coir, otherwise known by trade names like Ultrapeat, Cocopeat and Coco-tek. Coco coir represents a major step forward in organic soilfree growing mediums. It combines the water retention of vermiculite with the air retention of perlite, however it is a completely organic medium made from shredded coconut husks. Why coconut husks? The coconut husk serves its seed two purposes: (1) protection from sun and salt while floating in the ocean; (2) a hormone-rich and fungus free medium to speed germination and rooting upon landfall. Finely shredded and steam sterilized, coconut coir offers plants an ideal rooting medium that also offers protection against root diseases and fungus. And unlike peat moss, which is rapidly becoming depleted from overuse, coir is a completely renewable resource. You can now find several variations of coir on the market. The most popular is the compressed briquette format, which requires soaking in a gallon of water before use. During soaking, the coir re-hydrates, expanding up to six times the size of the original briquette, resulting in about 1/3 cu. ft. of loose coir with a consistency and color that most closely resembles fresh ground coffee. As an added benefit, coir doesn't soil your hands, clothes, or carpets. It brushes off readily, without any residue.
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