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Thread: Coconut husk chips

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    killerplantsguy's Avatar
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    I have been using coconut husk chips as a major component in potting mix for Nepenthes and some others. I soak the material for several days to remove unwanted dissolved salts, dust, fines, etc. Have been discarding the chips that sink to the bottom of the container, as I have always done with orchid bark. However, this amounts to roughly 25% of the cocanut chips.

    What are some of you other growers out there doing? Are you discarding or using the "sinkers".

    Thanks for any thoughts,
    KPG
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I use them all. Also, rather than soak CHC several days, I soak it for a few hours, drain, refill the water and repeat a few times.
    Bruce in CT

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    killerplantsguy's Avatar
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    Thank you, Bruce. That sounds like a better method.
    KPG
    "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus" - Mark Twain

    "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." - Pancho Villa, last words.

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    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    I haven't grown orchids and my experiences with orchid bark are limited; my question is: why wouldn't you use the ones that sink? I'm just curious. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
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    Hmmm, don't the ones that sink hold more water?

    BTW, orchid bark is not the same as cocobark/husk. (I think)

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    The sinkers do hold more water, but that can mean the bark has already degraded. And orchid growers have to be very careful about the water-holding capacity of an orchid mix.

    CHC is acts differently than bark because it does hold lots of water. But that water retention can be a problem. When I first started using it, I put lots of plants into it, using a 50/50 (or so ) mix with sponge rock. The plants seemed to be doing great and I kept putting more and more plants in it until I started losing plants towards the end of their summer outside. The problem is that they might get rain for day after day and even a 50% sponge rock mix starts getting moldy in the middle. I've never seen so many dead roots.

    I still use the same 50/50 mix in shallow baskets, but now mix in a lot of bark or lava rock when using it in a pot. Any more than 25% CHC in a pot seems to seems to be inviting trouble. But only because I can't control the water while my plants are outside. In a greenhouse or wherever over-watering isn't a concern, CHC must be pretty awesome because it seems to last for years.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    Very interesting, Bruce. Like I said, I don't have much experience with using bark in mixes, but I'll be sure to keep this in mind. Thanks!
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