Coconut is grown in numerous tropical countries around the globe. The meat from mature coconuts is prized for food and other products. The oil from coconuts is also sought after as an essential oil used in a variety of aromatherapy products. Many natural health products contain coconut oil as a main ingredient.
Coir, or coconut fiber, is an entirely natural fiber extracted from coconuts and used primarily in products like bedding, doormats, pillows and mattress covers. Coir is the fine fibrous substance found inside the outer layer of a mature coconut and between its outer shell and its inner layer. It is produced abundantly on mature coconuts when they are fully mature and has a high water content. It is harvested by hand from the mature coconut using a small hand saw (often powered by electricity) called a coir cutter.
While most coir today is created using mechanical harvesting equipment, the actual process of cutting coconuts is more naturally occurring. Harvesting the coconuts in this way requires no chemicals. The coconut coir is harvested by hand using special instruments called ladders that reach the top of the coconut on ladders. A cylindrical stick or handle is first thrust into the center of the coconut to separate the coconut meat from the softer inner fibrous layers of coconuts.
Benefits of using coir
Many people use coco coir for flooring, doormats and other outdoor accessories because it is quite durable, naturally resistant to weathering and contains little or no moisture. Even though it is produced from natural fiber, it is not considered a fiberglass product because it lacks a glossy finish. In fact, many people will tell you that natural fiber products such as wool or denim are much more attractive than coir carpets. Its appearance is what has made it so popular and sought after - because most people find coir carpets boring!
For all its benefits, coir carpets are definitely not green. Because it is made from natural fibers, it takes a lot more natural resources to grow one unit. In addition to coconut oil and fiber, it takes the help of other natural fibers such as jute and reeds. Some companies use animal by products and other chemicals in the production process. This adds even more to the environmental toll of each unit. But since the main selling point of eco-friendly products like coir rugs and other items is that they are eco-friendly, you can be sure that these sellers are concerned about their sustainability.
But if you're looking to make a green investment, buying organic coconut coir may not be the best option for you. Because these are often shipped in large quantities, they are very expensive. If your budget simply cannot afford to buy in bulk, then you might want to look into purchasing used coir instead. Used coir can be found at garden stores and reclamation centers.
Other popular hydroponic gardening uses coir fiber. In fact, coir makes up the primary component in hydroponic fertilizers. You can get your hydroponic garden started off right with a good, old-fashioned compost mix. But once you've decided on a color, or if you are just experimenting, then you can try using coir. It can provide a rich, fluffy support medium for your plants.
But there's one more way that you can use coir for your hydroponic gardening needs. You can create your own coir bricks. You need a medium to support plant roots and a coir brick is a convenient, inexpensive way to get the best possible medium. In fact, it's easier to make a couple of coir bricks than it is to purchase or gather several bags of material. Once you've got your soil amendment kit together and your coir bricks ready, you can begin planting.