For many years peat based composts have been used to grow plants. Peat however is primarily sourced from lowland raised bogs, an ever increasing rarity in the UK and Europe. The need to conserve natural resources like this has been recognised and compost manufacturers have responded by producing more and more peat free alternative products.
Coir is coconut fibre is mainly imported from Sri Lanka and is a waste product. It has excellent natural water-holding ability and a sufficient mix of fine and coarse fibres to hold air in its pore spaces, making it a good growing medium.
It is produced entirely from waste coconut fibres and dust and is a totally natural, renewable resource. For seed sowing it gives excellent germination producing a sturdy root system. The open structure of coir allows seedlings to be pricked out without root damage. This ensures rapid growth and no check after potting on.
When buying any peat-free products be sure to check the following:
- If the bag doesn’t say peat-free it most likely isn’t
- Do not be tricked into thinking the product is peat-free by wording such as ‘organic’ or ‘environmentally friendly’
- Check the label on the bag to see if it is recommended for certain plant groups
- The treatment of plants when using peat-free products may differ so be sure to read instructions carefully paying attention to the feeding and watering requirements