Coconuts are made up of three major layers; the exocarp, which is the thin greenish outermost layer of the coconut, the mesocarp, which is made up of the husks, and then the endocarp, composed of the seed which is the hard shell within which there is the fleshy coconut kernel and coconut water.
Coconuts are harvested mostly for their water, oil or the kernel, all contained within the shell of the coconut fruit.
The kernel is eaten, the water is a highly nutritious drink, and the coconut oil extracted from the dried coconut kernel can be used in cooking and applied in making cosmetics.
However to assess these important components, several layers of coconut fibres which is also known as coir contained within the inedible husk are first removed and are often discarded.
However, there are several environmental friendly way to put these coconut husks to use instead of discarding them, which includes using these coconut fiber for plants in a garden.
Uses of coconut fiber
There are industries that specialize in extracting the coconut fibers from the husks of coconuts and turning them into several useful products.
The coconut fibers or coir as they are sometimes known can be used to make mats, brushes, boards, ropes, or they can be further processed to give coir pith which could be used in gardening as a either a growing medium for container plants or as mulch.
How coconut fibers are used for plants
Coconut fibres also known as coir can be used in gardening and for planting
These materials can serve as mulch and as a growing medium which is very beneficial to plants.
Is Coconut fiber good as a growing medium?
What is a growing medium?
For plants to grow, they rely on a growing medium, in which they obtain necessary nutrients required for their growth.
A growing medium is the material in which the plant root grows in.
Soil is the most important example of a growing medium, however, there are several other examples of materials that can be used as growing mediums especially for container plants.
The use of these other materials as growing mediums has given rise to a discipline known as hydroponics, which means growing plants without soil but other materials such as water.
For your garden plants, you can use but you are not only limited to soil as your growing medium as there are several other options available for you, some of them include peat moss, gravel, wood fiber, rock wool, sand and coconut coir.
Coconut coir for growing medium
Coconut fiber or coir when processed to give coconut coir dust can be an effective growing medium for your garden plants in a container. It can used as an alternative to peat moss or other forms of planting medium.
Coconut fiber makes a good growing medium as it is organic and holds enough moisture content for use by the plants. Coconut peat are often combined with some quantity soil to be used in pots or baskets for growing plants.
They are Biodegradable, this particular growing medium is environmental friendly, it also permits the use of materials that would normally be discarded or generate waste from lying around
However some limitations with using coconut fiber as a growing medium exists.
Coconut fiber is associated with low nutrients, and therefore, it might not be sufficient when used alone, hence the need to combine with soil, fertilizers or other materials in order to make them suitable for the plants.
If the coconut coir been processed using sea water, it may also impair nutrient absorption by the plants.
Nonetheless coconut coir is an excellent growing medium for a lot of your container plants.
Is coconut fiber good for mulching?
The soil and even plants could lose moisture as a result of direct effect of sunlight. When excessive, the loss of moisture from the soil may impair the growth of garden plants hence the need for the application of a particular agricultural practice known as mulching.
What is mulching?
Mulching involves the use of different materials which could be either organic such as hay, grass, barks, saw dust, wood chips or inorganic which includes materials like plastic.
These materials when applied to the surface of the soil help to improve the soil quality or make the moisture content of the soil more favorable for planting.
Through preventing further loss of water from the soil or plants, mulching ensures that there is enough moisture available for the optimum growth of the plants
Mulch is the material that is used for mulching.
Using coconut fiber as mulch.
When coconut fibers are placed on the surface of the soil or used to cover plants, they serve as an effective mulching material.
They can be applied to the surface of the soil to retain soil moisture, it also prevents weeds from growing too close to the planted crops.
As organic materials, when the coconut fibers used as mulch decompose, they also add more nutrients to the soil further improving the soil quality.
How coir pith is made from coconut fiber
Coir pith is a by-product of coconut fiber.
The initial process involves obtaining the fibers through dehusking the coconuts.
The coconut fibers are further processed to give several products including coconut pith.
The fibers can be used as mulching materials and to produce other products.
The fibes are cut and sieved. the coco pith is gotten from the fine particles that are sieved out for use.
The fine particles can be applied to container plants as a very useful growing medium.
This inedible part or the husk of coconuts make up a large part of the coconut and could generate a lot of waste which could cost some money to get rid of. If not properly discarded, it could cost some nuisance in the environment.
An environmentally friendly alternative to discarding these leftovers is through the use of these by-products for other things including in gardening. This puts these products to good use, thereby generating less waste and also income for those in this industry.