4 Best Coco Coir For Microgreens (Pros & Cons)

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Microgreens are among the easiest plants to grow. These tiny, edible vegetable seedlings do not need much space and you can grow them in your kitchen garden, in containers, or outside. 

The best part is that microgreens can grow in hydroponic systems, meaning they don’t necessarily require soil for optimum growth. You just need to find the ideal planting medium for your microgreens to thrive. 

Coco Coir

Soil is a great growing medium for most microgreens. It produces healthy plants, higher yields, and it is 100 percent natural. However, when using soil as your preferred medium, you have to contend with soil quality issues, nutrient degradation, salinity, and compaction. 

This is where the importance of coco coir as a soil substitute, comes into play…

What is coco coir used for?

Coco coir is a natural planting medium derived from the outer layer of the coconut fruit. It is essentially a byproduct of coconut, hence the name “coco”. 

Manufacturers use this natural fiber to make a wide variety of products such as doormats, floor mats, fishing nets, sacks, ropes, mattresses, and brushes. In the agricultural sector, coco coir is popular with growers as a planting medium.

Read more about Coco Coir For Houseplants.

It comes in processed bricks or blocks, and many growers use coco coir as a soil substitute since it is better in terms of drainage and aeration.

You can add temperate filter water and your preferred nutrients to the coco coir bricks to produce a refined planting medium. 

Besides, coco coir absorbs, retains, and distributes moisture and nutrients quickly and effectively. And since, it is 100 percent organic, this makes it the perfect planting medium for growing different types of crops, including microgreens.

What are the advantages of using coco coir for microgreens?

If you want to grow microgreens the easy way, then you’d better use coco coir as your planting medium. From high water retention to neutral pH level, this natural soil substitute offers so many benefits to microgreen farmers.

Here are some of the main advantages of using coco coir for microgreens.

Excellent water retention

Coconut coir has a higher water holding capacity, and it can absorb up to 10 times its weight in water. Besides, its excellent drainage ensures your microgreens stay hydrated without getting soggy.

Exceptional aeration properties

Microgreens require sufficient supply of water, air, and nutrients. Coco coir facilitates these functions through its exceptional aeration capability. It provides natural aeration and ensures the roots of your microgreens receive adequate oxygen for healthy growth. 

Good drainage and aeration also prevent excess absorption of moisture and decreases the likelihood of the roots becoming susceptible to rot.

Neutral pH level

The pH level is the range between the acidity and alkalinity of your preferred planting medium. It influences several factors that affect plant growth.

If the pH level is too high or too low, your microgreens might stutter or not produce the yields that you want. 

Most microgreens require a pH level of between 6 and 7 for healthy growth. Fortunately, coco coir offers a neutral pH level of between 5 and 7, which is ideal for plants to thrive.

100% organic and renewable

Coconut coir is 100% organic and it comes from a renewable resource, making it earth-friendly. The substrate is a byproduct of the coconut fruit and it retains most of its natural form since the only processing it goes through is to compress it into bricks.

Very easy to use with microgreens

You need to prepare your coco coir before using it with your microgreens. The good news is that coconut coir is very easy to use.

The preparation process only entails adding water and nutrients to the coir before spreading it on your microgreen beds. 

Besides, coco coir supports both slow-growing and fast-growing microgreens, and you can use it as a stand-alone medium or as a soil amendment without any major issues.

Does not require synthetic fertilizers and pesticides

One of the reasons why coco coir is so popular as a planting medium is that it is disease and pest-resistant. It does not harbor any disease-causing pathogens or bacteria since it goes through a stringent sterilization process.

In addition, pests do not like to settle on coconut coir, and this makes it ideal for growing delicate plants like microgreens.

Compressed forms are relatively inexpensive

Coconut coir is relatively inexpensive compared to other plant substrates. This is particularly true for compressed coco coir bricks.

You only need to buy a few bricks and soak them in water for them to expand to double their size. The expanded blocks will certainly be sufficient for your entire microgreens trays.

Mixes well with soil

Since soil generally produces quality products and the highest yields, mixing it with coco coir can help produce even more impressive results.

Fortunately, coco coir blends well with soil, and it can help improve water retention, drainage, and aeration for healthy plant growth.

Easily reusable

Unlike other planting mediums, coco coir is highly reusable since it maintains its efficacy over several farming cycles. It is essentially sustainable, and you do not have to worry about issues like soil quality.

However, you must sterilize and rehydrate your coco coir after every cycle to decimate any pests and disease-causing organisms.

Very low decomposition rate

Coconut coir has a very low decomposition rate, meaning it can stay for ages (close to 6 months) without decaying.

Its ability to withstand decay means fewer weeds and bacteria in your microgreens garden. Check Beneficial Bacteria For Coco Coir.

What are the disadvantages of using coco coir for microgreens?

Like any other growing medium, coco coir has a few downsides. However, these shortcomings are minimal and somewhat negligible.

By overcoming these downsides, you can be sure of producing high-quality yields every time you use coco coir for your microgreens.

Here are a few disadvantages of coco coir that you should know about:

  1. Coco coir is inert

Even though coco coir is one of the best soil substitutes for growing microgreens, it does not have any significant nutrients. It only has a few minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium, which might not be adequate for your microgreens.

This means you have to supplement it by adding the necessary nutrients. Check How To Add Calcium To Plants.

  1. Requires hydration before use

You cannot use coconut coir in its processed form. During compression, the fiber loses a lot of water and becomes dehydrated. This means you have to sterilize and hydrate the coco coir bricks first before using them on your farm.

The process of rehydrating can be tedious and time-consuming as it adds more labor to the growing process.

  1. Coco coir mixes are pricey and hard to find

Finding high-quality coco coir mixes can sometimes be a huge challenge. Since these mixes are rare, the price is also on the high end of the spectrum.

Nevertheless, you can make up for this by making your own coco coir mixes.

  1. Salt problems

Coco coir requires thorough sterilization to get rid of the salt content. This is particularly important if you are using coco coir that is harvested from saltwater regions.

The high salt content can interfere with the absorption of water and nutrients, subsequently leading to stunted growth.

Do you still need soil when using coco coir for microgreens?

Not necessarily – you do not need soil when using coco coir for microgreens. In any case, coco coir is a soil substitute, and most growers use it as a stand-alone planting medium. Just like soil, coco coir provides ample physical support to plants, supplies the roots with adequate water and nutrition, and allows for optimum plant growth.

Mixing coco coir with soil is ideal if you are growing your microgreens on ordinary nursery beds rather than hydroponic trays. The mixture will help to create air pockets, improve aeration, retain moisture and decompress the soil – for optimum plant growth. 

4 best coco coir for microgreens

1. Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Fiber

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The Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Fiber comes in the form of pellets, which makes it ideal for small microgreens gardens.

Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Fiber

The pellets expand immediately after adding water, turning into a fine growing medium.

2. Green Dream Premium Coco Coir Brick

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The Green Dream Premium Coco Coir brick weighs 11 pounds, giving growers adequate coconut coir to work with. It offers excellent aeration with exceptional water retention capability.

Green Dream Premium Coco Coir Brick

After preparation, you can use this coco coir as a stand-alone growing medium or as a soil amendment for your microgreens.

3. Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix

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Mother Earth Coco Plus is another coco coir mix worth checking out. It contains a unique mix of coconut pith and fiber, and 30% perlite for optimum drainage and aeration.

Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix

The mix works well with potted plants but you can use it effectively on your microgreens garden.

Check Do You Need To Add Perlite To Coco Coir?

4. Plantonix Coco Coir Brick

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The Plantonix Coco Coir pith is 100% natural with very low EC and salt content. It comes in brick form for easy packaging, sterilization, rehydration, and application.

Plantonix Coco Coir Brick

The brick contains a mix of pith and fiber, which make it the ideal choice for growing microgreens.

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