I’ve never grown in coco. I’m planning my first coco grow. I’m somewhat discouraged with the differing opinions on what the best way to grow with coir is. The thing thats does makes sense that I see on most forums is coco is very versatile, hence the differing opinions? I’ve collected some rules of coco from all over. Please read and critique. I’m in no way saying this post is fact. I did copy and paste from all over the web. The me and I references are from original authors. I apologize if thats against the rules? This list is some of my main misunderstandings of the coco and the ways to grow with it.
1. There are hormones, released by the roots, which control transpiration (plant water use). When the substrate begins to dry, the roots tell the shoots to slow up, which the plant does by closing stomata, which inhibits both transpiration AND CO2 uptake, a double negative in our gardens. So in coco, we can water water water, and the plant never ‘thinks’ it needs to conserve…the resources will always be there. That’s what we intend to take advantage of.
2. Remember to rinse the initial medium with calmag as this will release the potassium that occupies most of the initial food web, often young clones/seedling start twisting from overly high K until they are big enough to uptake the high K levels and that calcium and magnesium start binding in the K’s place.
3. You’ll find this elsewhere… and you’ll find a great deal of dissent on this as well…
I just mix a 250 ppm base veg nute & 100 ppm of CM+… all of which is pH’d to 6.5 for the initial rinse. I like to pH up w Dolomite Lime… finely ground, well mixed in solution.
Place my hydrated coir in big drain buckets & poor the above mix until my run-off comes out clear & pH balanced & in line w my source ppm’s.
You have effectively rinsed all the residual gunk & pith & Na & K out of the coir… and precharged to the coirs buffer w proper/usable cations… and pH stabilized the medium.
Depending upon the brand you start with, the amount of initial solution to flush will change. But once the pH stabilizes, you are pretty good to go.
4. If you are using tap water you may not need cal-mag depending on what the PPM of your tap water is. There…..one more good reason to buy a ppm meter!!! Cal-Mag is needed for RO or distilled water with low ppm. The RO i use is 0ppm, so that means anything that was beneficial to plant(calcium, magnesium, iron, boron, etc) are gone, so you need to compensate for their loss with Cal-Mag.
5. For coco you can mix your tap water 50% with ro water – it should give you a start EC of 0.25 which is pretty much perfect if u don?t want to be using calmag etc. a tap water with ec 0.2 -0.3 has all the cal and mag MJ needs for growing in coco.
6. After transplant into larger pots. Initially saturate the entire pot, but then for 7-11 days, let pot dry out more between watering. Until roots have filled the pot, the rest of the coco will stay wet. This allows the rest of the coco to slowly dry out, which causes the roots to shoot out and hunt for water. How you water the new transplants determines how, and what kind of roots the plant forms.
7. If you?re vegging you should try letting plants dry out between waterings
Let them dry out a little before hitting them with the next dose. Depending on container size, plant size and light size you could end up needing to feed them daily or once per week. After you feed them take note of how heavy the container is…. in veg you CAN treat coco plants like soil plants and get great results.
8. When I’m growing in coco I find that after about 4 weeks of feeding a good strength of nutrients the calcium bank is fulfilled and to continue to push calcium at the same level results in uptake issues in that cation family (Mg++, Fe++, K+). Trying to combat this issue with Epsom Salt (Mg2SO4) can add too much sulfate and sulfite to the media further interrupting exchange and resulting in precipitates.
9. It seems like so many of you place yourselves in situations where you have to worry about PH, EC, PPM, too much, what a huge waste of effort, and money. Besides regulating temperature, use a light feeding schedule of solid products. I guarantee you won’t run into problems or any nutrient deficiencies unless you overfeed.
10. Depending on the acid buffering capacity (alkalinity, not alkaline) of the irrigation water, obsessing over the water pH in a drain to waste, soilless, not hydro, but a soilless grow is not necessarily the key.
If you use R.O. or good tap water with low alkalinity (acid buffering capacity), than the pH of the nutrient solution is probably settling right around 5.4-6.0 immediately after you mix the nutes with the water. I mean, has anyone using one of those combos ever not experienced this?
If you choose to alter that pH again, you are micromanaging. When you pour that quality water through the pot of coco, the pH of the water is going to be altered by the coco and not the other way around. Even if you’re using shitty tap water with high alkalinity it still takes time for it to raise the pH of the coco. It doesn’t change instantly.
11. Coco retains a nutrient buffer that is essential to the CEC of the media. The buffer is primarily calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Once the requirements have been fulfilled these nutrients become very available in the media.
The problem many growers in coco experience is at a point around 2 to 4 weeks in to flowering. Over-abundance of available calcium and potassium compete for uptake with magnesium. Thus a magnesium deficiency can form quickly despite no changes in the nutrient regiment. I find that supplementing using something like cal-mag, magi-cal, etc, winds up adding 3x the calcium to magnesium, which is overkill for coco IMO.
12. I?d like to clear the term "flushing" – when we talk about coco culture, this term does NOT mean the same as washing out a substrate with pure water like for example with soil growing. It?s a quick thing to get out any excess of nutes and such, just watering in excess, what is generally known as drain to waste, specially when hand watering. Flushing (in coco) is to water in excess with the nute water.