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The main difficulty in growing seedlings is the proper selection of soil. For the appearance of amicable shoots in the earth mixture, the correct proportions of nutrients, moisture and oxygen are needed. Invaluable help in this will be coconut substrate. According to the reviews of gardeners, it is an excellent filler of the soil, providing plants with ideal conditions for growth and development.
From which the coconut substrate is produced
Already from the name of the product it becomes clear that a coconut palm is used for its production. This is one of those rare plants in which the application found all its parts - trunk, leaves, fruits. It has long been noted that palm fibers have unique properties - they are light, durable and absolutely not rot.
Of the fibers produce ropes, ropes, mats, fillers for mattresses. For some time, fibers and shavings have been used as a substrate for the cultivation of indoor flowers and seedlings. There are 3 varieties of filler for coconut substrates:
- fiber - strong long threads, which have excellent hygroscopicity;
- peat - the smallest fraction, characterized by a significant moisture capacity;
- chips - particles of the outer shell of coconuts, which increase the air permeability of the substrate.
For the production of coconut substrate for seedlings, all 3 products are selected in the proportions most suitable for growing different types of garden crops.
Forms of substrate release
For more convenience, this material is produced in several forms:
- Tablets and disks - pressed objects, having the shape of a washer, with a volume of 5, 10 and 20 cu. cm. The largest disk in dry form weighs 650 grams, while in the wet state it increases in sizes up to 8 liters. The basis of the tablets is made up of short fibers.
- The mats are rectangular. Their weight ranges from, kg to 5 kg, and the volume in a wet form - from 14 to 50 liters. For their production, longer fibers, chips and peat are used.
- Coconut substrate in briquettes is produced in a wide range - the smallest ones are designed for planting one or two room flowers, while the largest ones are purchased by firms that produce seedlings for sale wholesale. Briquettes consist of fibers with additives of peat and small chips.
With such a wide choice, it is not difficult to choose a coconut substrate that is suitable for its own needs.
Properties of coconut substrate
Such a wide distribution of this material was due to its unique properties:
- in its composition, the substrate is an organic compound, which eventually decomposes completely, being assimilated by plants without residue;
- a record increase in air permeability of soil, which is indispensable for seedling;
- The mold does not develop on the surface of the tablet, and weeds do not grow;
- the substrate absorbs all the excess moisture, giving the plants only what they need;
- the material has a neutral reaction, which is suitable for most plants;
- the fibers decompose slowly, which allows them to be used for several years;
- the composition fully meets the strictest environmental standards;
- the substrate is further impregnated with fertilizers most suitable for seedling;
- the material is odorless and absolutely not allergic.
The above properties make it possible to widely use the substrate as a filler in the hydroponic culture.
Preparation for use
Before using coconut substrate for seedling, it must be properly prepared. Consider the example of a coconut briquette weighing 1 kg:
- briquette free from packaging;
- lower in a 10-liter bucket;
- pour 2 liters of water and leave to swell, stir and loosen it is not required;
- after a few minutes add another 3 liters of water, cover with a lid or a film and leave for further swelling.
After a few hours, the mixture will be completely ready for use.
Tablets and disks are soaked in 40 ml of water at room temperature and used for germination of seeds.
How to grow seedlings in a coconut mixture
Substrate in its pure form is usually used only for germination of seeds. On the surface of the prepared tablets in special indentations lay out the seeds, cover with a film and wait for the emergence of shoots, regularly removing the shelter for airing. When the substrate dries up, it becomes noticeably lighter. In this case, it is moistened, adding a little water to the pan.
After the seedling has grown up and pierced the whole tablet with roots, it is transplanted into a larger container. For the full development of seedlings in a mixture of coconut substrate in briquettes use conventional peat, leaf or sod land, as well as ash, compost or reparted manure.
A pure substrate contains too few nutrients, so it is used as one of the components of the soil mixture.
Variants of substrate use
Coconut mixture is used not only in growing seedlings. It is indispensable in almost all areas of crop production, and the most exotic way found itself in using a coconut substrate for the care of giant snails - ahatines. In it, these unhurried shellfish feel best. The remaining methods are more traditional:
- growing indoor plants, especially requiring light aerated soil;
- rooting cuttings of grapes, roses, dahlias, currants;
- use in hydroponics - the substrate does not change the acidity of the solution, does not clog it and has excellent aeration;
- mulching of any horticultural crops. This measure allows you to forget about the weeds and excess watering and to warm the roots for the winter;
- increased looseness and air permeability of the soil. This measure is necessary in the reclamation of heavy clay soils.
Coconut substrate is convenient as a litter for pets, inhabitants of terrariums and decoration dry aquariums, but its main purpose is the cultivation of strong seedlings with a well-formed root system.