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Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

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Coco Peat

Post  gurgi1970 on 2/25/2013, 9:10 pm

So I just noticed that my local Home Depot carries this in 8lb bags (I think). Would this be something worth while in putting into my SFG to help the soil?

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Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

Post  Windmere on 2/26/2013, 8:54 am

I am just beginning a Square Foot Garden, and I have been reading Ms. Bartholomew's latest book. I cannot get Mel's Mix in my area. However, I have read that the harvesting of peat moss is not ecologically sound. Also, I have read that for the sake of the environment, coco (coconut) peat is a much better option than peat moss. I would like to use coco peat as 1/3 of my soil mixture. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Re: Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

Post  camprn on 2/26/2013, 9:08 am

Welcome to the Forum. There are quite a few old threads about this subject that you may find by using the search feature on the left.

Here are a few, just click on the links:

http://www.melbartholomew.com/whats-up-with-peat-moss/

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t13583-let-s-work-together-to-chart-alternatives-to-vermiculite-and-peat-moss?highlight=coir+++++peat

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t9757-peat-moss-and-peat-humus?highlight=coir+++++peat

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7452-mel-s-mix-how-strong-is-your-backbone?highlight=coir+++++peat

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Wow... so much information!!

Post  Windmere on 2/26/2013, 10:52 am

Thank you so much for your prompt reply to my posted question. I read EVERYTHING, from posts to linked references (took me about an hour). I feel much better educated on the topic of peat. I noticed that posts became quite heated at some points. It's clearly evident that there are some folks with very strong opinions.

I think one resource link that I found to be particularly helpful was the Utah State University study: A Comparison of Coconut Coir and Sphagnum Peat as Soil-less Media Components for Plant Growth.

Also Mr. Bartholomew's blog entry, "What's Up with Peat Moss?" I must confess that I am only at the beginning of Mr. Bartholomew's latest book. When I came across "Soil - Mel's Mix" on page 35, I became concerned about the mix containing 1/3 peat moss. I had read quite a bit of negative information about the use of peat moss. The information from the forum was very enlightening. I also found it reassuring that if I choose to use coir (coconut), that it is sold at the Square Foot Gardening Store.

I have a great deal to think about, but I think I know which direction I'm going to take. Thanks so much for all this information. I know I am going to feel right at home in this community! thanks

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Re: Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

Post  Turan on 2/26/2013, 11:45 am

@gurgi1970 wrote:So I just noticed that my local Home Depot carries this in 8lb bags (I think). Would this be something worth while in putting into my SFG to help the soil?

It would be the peat component of Mel Mix= 1/3 peat + 1/3 compost + 1/3 vermiculite

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I use Coconut Coir

Post  Hardcoir on 2/26/2013, 12:42 pm

Environmental issues aside, coconut coir is still superior to peat. I have found that it holds water much better then peat, and it wicks water much better.

If you try to grow in self-watering containers, you will find that the coconut coir wicks the water more efficiently than the peat moss.

I have not tried the coconut coir in an official SFG, but that will happen this Spring. We have our 1/3 coconut coir, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 homemade compost with some farm-purchased compost to add to make 1/3 for our mini-farm.

If you purchase the Growums containers, they come with enough coconut coir to fill one purple box, which is about 2 sf. If you were lucky enough to buy them when Lowe's closed them out in December and January, you could have gotten the whole thing for $9.99, which made the coir almost free. Since you use just 1/3 of the supplied coir, it leaves 2/3 of the supply available for raised beds.

Good luck with your garden.

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Re: Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

Post  camprn on 2/26/2013, 1:00 pm

@Hardcoir wrote:Environmental issues aside, coconut coir is still superior to peat.
Thank you Hardcoir, I will take this as an opinion unless you have some scientific studies to share.
We, all of us in the garden, have different philosophies and beliefs that we work with. In this instance I disagree that coir is superior to sphagnum. It is a fact that they both offer aeration and moisture retention to a soilless mix. I myself do not go out of my way to buy coir as I think it's production has more of an environmental impact in that massive amounts of fresh water that is required to process it to a usable form and that it is shipped half way across the world. Sphagnum peat is a domestic product and a product of Canada, much closer to me and less carbon impact. The environmental impact is important to me.

This is my opinion based on facts. My philosophy is to tread as lightly as I can on the Earth. For me sphagnum peat is my choice, as your choice is coir. Both will get the job done in a square foot garden.

____________________________

40 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


camprn

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We may both be correct

Post  Hardcoir on 2/26/2013, 1:17 pm

I am more concerned with maximizing my harvest so I can sell at an organic farmer's market. Coconut coir allows me to grow a lot more produce in less space with self-watering containers. If I had to water everything in containers the conventional way, I would be watering for about 3 hours a day, running our water bill up above $150 a month. When you have 50+ containers, self-watering is a must to minimize costs.

I have used both coconut and peat in my containers. Those with coconut require much less watering, as the coconut holds more water and wicks water more efficiently. I am not an agricultural engineer, so I cannot run some double-blind study and publish it in a peer-reviewed professional medium. I simply go by my own experiences and choose what works best for me.

Since you probably are not trying to make a profit in your hobby, you may have different needs, and peat may be your better option.

FWIW, I do not really pay much attention to the environmental footprint issue in this. Peat will continue to be in very high demand, and no environmental concerns will stop it or even put much of a dent in it. Environmentalists have promised that our world's oil supplies would dry up in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, etc. It reminds me of the economist that predicted 20 of the last 5 recessions.

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Re: Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

Post  Firefly on 2/26/2013, 7:10 pm

Just as an FYI...if you should choose to go with coir...some of the compressed packages require water to allow it to expand for the first time (rather than just expanding on it's own as many compressed peat bales do).

In the instructions for making Mel's Mix in the book, it mentions watering the mix as you are filling the box. I have found (in my experience with the above type of coir packages) that this isn't required (especially when you are impatient like me and soak the coir because it's taking too long to expand bounce ). When you mix it with the dry ingredients (vermiculite and compost blend) it tends to even out the moisture to the right level.

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Re: Coconut Peat vs Peat Moss

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