Contributed by: Irishgi
Submitted: September 15th, 2004
Coco produces excellent results for the
soilless grower; it is comparable in result to
It is a great alternative
to the soil grower willing to experiment with a
?soilless? medium, yet get comparable results to a hydro
Coco can be used in a hydroponics system,
or just put into pots and watered by hand as with any
other soil grow. Countless grows for decades have been
produced in plain soil, mixed with organics, compost,
and perlite among untold other ingredients thrown in.
While soil does have its advantages, it
also has more drawbacks: inconsistancy, unwanted
(unknown) ingredients, increased chances of
over-fertilizing and over-watering. Nearly all of the
potting soil used has been sourced from nature contain
larva and insect eggs.
*Pics shown which I grew
in Coco are only 30 days into flowering, 60 days old
from seed, with an intentional N def. They are not as
yellow as shown. I have provided them to show the
crystal/pistil covering bud/leaves more common to hydro
in this stage of flowering, yet grown in coco-filled
pots The Definition of Coco
Many at first are misled by the use of the term
Coco. It has nothing to do with the Cocoa plant at all.
In reality, they are the brown fibers that make up the
husk of a coconut, which have been washed and buffered.
Pure Coco can be used as a substrate, or Coco can also
be mixed in with soil.
It can be bought loose in
bags; it is also pressed into planks (and bricks).
Coconuts are found near beaches, oceans, places that
have very salty air. To rid the coco of these salts, the
coco is first washed, and then pressure steamed to get
rid of salts, and bacteria, germs or anything else that
might have been in it. Coco is buffered using water,
enriched with Magnesium and lime. The quality of this
treatment is dependant to the quality of the Coco.
Coconuts cannot be bought from a store, pealed, and
mixed into your soil.
(Edit: low quality coco
may need to be washed to remove natural salts.)
Coco and PH
The buffering process
also means easy adjustment of pH in the Coco, which is
imperative when it comes to the optimum uptake of
nutrients throughout the plant?s life.
can be hard to change, since it takes time to correct,
flow check and restore. It takes longer to correct the
problem in soil, than it took to cause it.
PH of fresh Coco is marked on the bag from 5.0 - 7.0,
however all of the coco I've tested was always between
6.0 - 6.5. Changing the PH of Coco takes a few waterings
of pH-adjusted water, perhaps only one. The medium is
very reactive to the PH of the water given to it; this
gives coco growers rapid control over pH.
is important is that you use 6.0 - 7.0 pH water, 6.5
being optimal if in pots. Oxygen and Coco
Soil has a tendency to become finer after time. The
clumps of soil quickly disintegrate, leaving very fine
pieces of matter which hold moisture, creating saturated
spots, making the soil less and less aerated for roots
over the plant?s life. The soil at the bottom of the
pots can become a very hostile environment for the roots
to grow, making roots suffocate in mud. Coco users
rarely find this a problem. Coco almost never
disintegrates, leaving the medium well aerated,
supplying the roots constantly with enough oxygen, and
all saturated spots quickly even out. Reusing
Another advantage of Coco is the fact it
can be re-used. Because Coco is treated so well, you can
get up to three grows from the same batch of coco. Coco
is inert and does not absorb nutrients within its own
fibers, so plants uptake only supplied nutrient-rich
water; excess nutrients and salts are washed through
with the overflow.
I paid 8 Euros for a 50 Liter
bag of coco. 24 Euros in Coco, and I can fill a total of
9 seventeen Liter pots (4.5 gallon) 3 times over. Those
27 plants could go through flowering, and only averaged
to .88 euro per pot in coco.
coco, you must sift through the Coco looking for any
loose root fragments, missed decaying leaves, ect. and
remove them. Advantages and drawbacks
Coco overall has many distinct advantages over soil.
I have yet to grow a plant in Coco that hasn?t reached
2-2.5 feet in just 1 month from seed, without any
stretching until later in life (without Topping or
Fimming). The evenness of watering and the quick and
direct changes of pH compares to hydro. The cost isn?t
that steep because it can be reused up to 3 times,
making the average cost (for myself) .24 cents US
currency per US gallon. Well, after using coco, I?ll
never use normal potting soil ever again
only drawback to Coco I have found is that a massive
root ball forms very quick while in veg., all my plants
were detrimentally root bound in 7 Liter (1.85) gallons
of coco after only 3 weeks of growth from seed. If you
are ready for the growth, being in pots, and hesitant at
all to go hydro with supplies and adjustments, it's just
a small hurdle for all the benefits.