Here you will find a selection of questions and answers about Botanicoir, our products and the environment. If you have any other queries, you can contact us directly and we will be happy to assist.
- What is coir?
- Why use coir over peat?
- Is coir organic?
- What is buffering?
- How does buffering impact the production environment?
- Are Botanicoir grow bags environmentally friendly?
- Are there problems with drying coir due to the monsoon season in Sri Lanka and India?
- Are Botanicoir growbags standardised or customised for each grower?
- Does Botanicoir offer products suitable for blueberries?
- What is the different between growing in grow bags and troughs?
- Is Botanicoir ethically responsible?
What is coir?
Coir (also known as cocopeat, coir fibre or coconut fibre) is a natural growing media made from the husk of a coconut. The coconuts themselves are used primarily for the food and cosmetics industries, the long fibres from the husks are used to make ropes and brushes, among many other things, and the coir pith and shorter fibres are the bi-products that we use to make our products.
Cocopeat is a great sustainable alternative to other growing media and has excellent absorption properties so it can hold nutrients very well.
After production, the product is compressed into the required size and packaged ready for transport. On arrival at the final site, the grower can simply lay the compressed and dried products out and then rehydrate in-situ, avoiding the process and cost of moving wet cocopeat.
Why use coir over peat?
Coir is a renewable resource unlike peat moss, which has taken centuries to evolve. The extensive use of traditional peat moss in horticulture has resulted in the depletion of natural bogs (swamps), an essential part of our wildlife heritage. Peat moss extraction harms the unique and fragile wetlands ecosystem, as there are many highly adapted plant and animal species that are found only in peat bogs. The destruction of the world’s wetlands is progressing at an alarming rate. We can all play our part in assuring the conservation of peat bogs by using alternative substrates to peat moss such as coir. Click here to see more about how we care for the environment.
Is coir organic?
Our unwashed or washed coir is made from 100% coir, with nothing more than fresh water used to in the washing process to remove some of the less desirable salts that occur naturally. All our organic products are OMRI listed and those same products without plastic are approved by the Soil Association in the UK.
What is buffering?
The process that we call “buffering” involves soaking the washed coir pith in a calcium nitrate solution before flushing again with fresh water. This gives a mix that has the unwanted salts (Na, Cl, K, Bo) removed, which if left in the substrate can be detrimental to some young plants, especially during propagation, or for soft fruit production.
One of the main benefits of doing this in production, rather than on farm, is that growers can have peace of mind that all the particles are buffered equally across their growing area. When done on farm via the irrigation system, there can be a risk that small parts of a bag or sector are not buffered the same as the surrounding, resulting in uneven plant growth.
How does buffering impact the production environment?
In the past it was sufficient to dilute the waste water from buffering and supply it as a nutrient solution to fertigate the surrounding 120 acres of coconut, banana and pineapple plantations. But, over the last few years, as our production has increased, the amount of waste water and our daily water consumption has risen significantly, and we realised the need for some kind of waste water treatment system. Due to this, Botanicoir has installed a state-of-the-art waste water treatment system at its production site in Sri Lanka. The installation is part of our environmental strategy, which has the aim of ensuring the most sustainable production possible. Please click here to read more.
Are Botanicoir grow bags environmentally friendly?
As standard we have always used recyclable plastic for all of our products that require plastic packaging, such as grow bags and OTCs. More recently we have started offering bio-degradable plastic to give the more environmentally conscious growers the option to choose. Please click here for more information about our environmental policies.
Are there problems with drying coir due to the monsoon season in Sri Lanka and India?
This was always the case, but in 2016 we were proud to be the first coir producer to implement a mechanical coir drying system that achieves the necessary moisture levels for compression, without damaging any of the particles. Please click here to read more.
Are Botanicoir growbags standardised or customised for each grower?
We make each product specifically to the growers needs, from the coir mix and buffering to the plastic of the bag. We can make the grow bags in sizes up to 120cm in length, with width and height as required. We are equally flexible on the planting, dripper, and drainage holes that we can pre-cut in the grow bag, if required, at no extra cost. We also can drill holes, as required, directly into the coir at dripper points to facilitate wetting up the slabs. All the plastic that we use is high quality, UV treated and recyclable or bio-degradable. We offer both white and black plastic to suit different climates, giving the grower the option to gain the extra heat absorbed by black plastic for early picking if required.
Does Botanicoir offer products suitable for blueberries?
In recent years, there has been a huge movement towards growers using 100% coir mixes for their blueberry crops. Please click here to see more about our blueberry products.
What is the different between growing in grow bags and troughs?
For growers looking for the flexibility of growing in troughs, we can provide naked slabs of coir to simply place in the trough and rehydrate. This gives a more flexible method of growing, meaning that numbers of plants per meter can be changed year on year, and the troughs can be moved around without disturbing the rooting of the plant. Please click here to see more about the pros and cons of growing in grow bags or troughs.
Is Botanicoir ethically responsible?
As a producer of an environmentally friendly, sustainable growing media, we take particular care to ensure that the way we operate is ethically responsible. When sourcing raw materials, we only select coir mills that operate to high standards with regards to their employees and procedures.
We strive to maintain the best working conditions in our own factory. We have a strict no child labour policy, set working hours and have implemented regular, ample rest periods into the shifts. Supervisors are constantly present to ensure that the health and safety measures are always met. We are particularly proud of the benefits available to all employees, including a wage that is above the industry average, a healthcare scheme, meals at work for all employees, and transport to and from the factory.