Growing microgreens at home is not only budget-friendly but also gives a good learning experience. You can enjoy the taste of these little greens right at your home. You can grow these indoors or outdoors depending on your convenience. It doesn’t require much time and space. Once you know the method of growing you will love to grow them at home.
Now there are many choices available when it comes to choosing the grow medium. Coconut coir is one of such options. Coco coir is popular for its use as a medium to grow microgreens. It is a lightweight soilless medium made from coconut husks and is a byproduct of coconut fiber. It holds the water very well and this is an ideal growing medium.
Benefits of using coconut coir
Using coconut coir for growing microgreens has a lot of benefits. It can be mixed in with other mediums or used as a stand-alone medium. Now let’s look into the benefits of using the coir medium:
- One of the main benefits of using coco coir is its ability to retain water. It has improved water-holding ability and can be easily re-hydrated.
- It’s a complete organic resource and an excellent eco-friendly option for growing mediums.
- The PH level of the medium plays an important role in the growth of healthy plants. Coir has a neutral PH level that is best for the healthy growth of plants.
- Coco coir is free of bacteria and weed seeds that will prevent microgreens from developing diseases, pest infections, and mold.
- Since it is odorless, it doesn’t create any foul smells and hence the best medium for indoor growing.
- It is a great soilless substrate for growing microgreens in a tray. It gives the root plenty of room. The aeration properties promote stronger roots and overall better health.
- It is a renewable resource. When properly treated, it can be reused but ensure to prep it properly before reusing.
Growing microgreens with coconut coir
Coco coir can be used in 3 different ways as a growing medium such as mats, bricks, and mixed in with soil. Let’s go through the steps of using each of these.
Using coco coir mats:
Coco coir in the form of mats is easy to use and is ideal for the growth of microgreens. You can buy these thin sheets in rolls and cut them according to the size of your grow tray. The mats have an excellent capacity to hold moisture and roots grow through the mats easily.
Follow these steps to use the mat for growing microgreens:
- Select the tray you want to use for growing microgreens.
- The mat has to be kept inside the tray. So cut the mat using a scissor such that it fits inside the tray.
- Place the mat inside the tray and pour some water. Let the mat absorb water for about 30-60 minutes and get the moisture it needs.
- Now remove the excess water from the mat and then soak again for another 30-60 minutes. Squeeze the mat lightly to take out the excess water.
- Now the mat is ready to hold the seeds. Sprinkle the microgreen seeds into your trays. Then follow the steps for the blackout phase and germination as per the seeds.
Using coco coir bricks:
Coco coir can be compressed to make bricks and can be used as a growing medium for your little greens. To get coco coir bricks ready for growing microgreens, follow the below steps:
- Decide the tray you want to use. Coco coir can absorb a large amount of water (around ten times its weight). So make sure to select the appropriate size of the tray.
- Let the bricks get moisturized. Keep the bricks inside the tray and soak them in water. The bricks will absorb all the water and expand around 10 ten times the original size.
- Once the coir bricks have absorbed all water, separate the fibers with your hands to get an even and equally dense medium.
- After the coir bricks have expanded, it’s ready to use. If the bricks you made ready become excess, you can simply store them in a plastic bag for future use.
- Optionally you can use perlite with coco coir as the water retention capacity of the coir bricks is high. Perlite can improve aeration, drainage, and water retention. A good mixture ratio would be 70% coconut coir and 30% perlite. Note that this is an optional step and if you do not want you can skip adding perlite.
- Place the coco coir in a tray with holes. Fill the tray to about 2/3 of its volume and then place a tray without holes below it. This is to soak the brock from underneath.
- Add some fertilizer to promote the healthy growth of these little plants.
- Sprinkle the seeds evenly across the tray. You may need to use another layer of coco coir on top of the seeds depending on its type. Then you can proceed with the steps of the blackout phase and germination.
Using coco coir mixed with soil:
Another way is to use coco coir mixed with soil. Irrespective of the type of soil used, adding coco coir will help in loosening the texture. Prepare the soil mix using the following instructions:
- Mix the coconut coir along with the soil you have. 1/3 coconut coir and 2/3 soil would be a good mix.
- To help microgreens germinate you can also make use of liquid fertilizers.
- Fill the tray with the mix you created now
- Spread out the microgreens seeds across the tray
- Water this soil mix but make sure to not overwater them. Let the coco coir be wet but not saturated.
To summarize, you can see coco coir has many amazing benefits and it’s easy to use as well. Coco coir is an amazing medium in multiple ways. Even though it doesn’t contain many nutrients, the potassium in it will help the seedlings grow well. You can add some fertilizer in case you want to make the medium more nutritious. Coco coir can be used as a stand-alone medium or along with the soil. The main benefit of using coir mixed with soil is that it’s cheaper and more sustainable with higher water retention.