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Thread: Adventures in Coco peat

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    Brolloks's Avatar
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    May 2014
    South Africa
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    Adventures in Coco peat

    Hi all,

    Will try and keep it short.
    Where I stay finding quality sphagnum peat at a reasonable price always seems to be an issue. And not to mention how destructive to environment the farming of sphagnum peat is.
    I did the Google thing and got together as much research as possible about peat alternatives and now I am experimenting with Coco peat.

    I bought a 5kg compressed brick of Coco peat at a fair price and here is my progress so far:

    1. After visiting many nurseries I found this 5kg brick which seemed like the best buy out of everything else I found.
    I just broke a few pieces off as I was not sure how much it would expand into (Which was a wise decision as this stuff really expands A LOT!).
    I placed the chunks into a large plastic tub and added RO water (TDS=2) to the mix and crushed it until it was nice and mixed in with the water.

    2. After leaving the concoction to stand for about 12 hours I proceeded to drain the water from the peat. What I quickly found is that the brick was made up of three types of coco matter. The first being chunky bits (Which will work great for my Neps) The second being more like coco coir(The strands) and the third very closely resembles Sphagnum peat.
    I separated the three types as best I could (Which was really easy if you let it stand for a while to settle).

    The water was drained and tested with my TDS meter.

    I have kept the three types that I identified separate and rinsed them each on their own.
    I have followed this rinse and repeat process for 4 days now and here are my TDS readings so far:

    Day 1 - TDS reading: 290 - 340
    Day 2 - TDS reading: 100 - 120
    Day 3 - TDS reading: 40 - 46
    Day 4 - TDS reading: 28 - 31

    Day 1 - TDS reading: 290 - 340
    Day 2 - TDS reading: 100 - 120
    Day 3 - TDS reading: 40 - 46
    Day 4 - TDS reading: 20 - 27

    Day 1 - TDS reading: 290 - 340
    Day 2 - TDS reading: 130 - 150
    Day 3 - TDS reading: 60 - 75
    Day 4 - TDS reading: 27 - 34

    Some tools of the trade

    Pantihose over the container makes for a great strainer.

    I am going to rinse it for a few more days until the TDS reading does not drop any further and then I am going to boil some of the peat to see if it removes even more minerals. I have read on a few other forums that even after a vigorous rinsing process the peat still released minerals which hurts the plants.

    This must seem like a really tedious process but I follow this rinsing process for all the sphagnum peat that I buy as well(Because I don't trust the stuff they sell here and a lot of the batches I have bought was very poor quality and damaged my plants).

    I will keep you all posted! Can't wait to start testing the media with some plants!
    Last edited by Brolloks; 02-03-2015 at 10:39 AM.

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