Coconut coir growing medium comes from the coconut's fibrous husk (known as coir) that is bound together by lignin (known as pith). After the husk is immersed in water for 6 weeks, the fiber is extracted mechanically, and the pith is left behind as a waste product and stored in heaps to age. Since the pith comes from the fruit, it is quite naturally rich in nutrients. Coconut coir growing mediums are dehydrated and compressed into a compact form for easy handling. With the addition of water, coir expands to an easy to work with growing medium.
Unlike peat moss, which is highly acidic, coconut coir has a neutral pH level. Most garden vegetables and flowers grow best in neutral to slightly alkaline conditions. When you use peat to amend a garden bed, an addition of agricultural lime is often necessary to combat the higher acidity. With coconut coir, limestone isn't necessary unless the soil naturally has a higher pH level. Coir use results in both a monetary and a labor savings, since you don't need to purchase further pH amendments nor work them into the soil.
-Coir improves soil drainage in the bed while also helping to retain moisture in quick-draining soils. Since coir breaks down slowly, much like peat, it creates air pockets in the soil that allow excess moisture to drain away from plant roots. The coir itself holds onto some moisture so the drainage doesn't occur too quickly and the soil doesn't dry out completely. These dual drainage and retention properties allow coir to improve moisture management in both heavy clay soils and dry, sandy beds.
-Peat moss, which coir replaces as a soil amendment, takes centuries to regrow once harvested. Coir is completely sustainable since it is a natural byproduct of coconut harvests, and coconut trees produce new coconuts every year. Using the coir in the garden keeps it out of the landfill where it would otherwise go. Coir can take a century or longer to fully break down in these landfills, so it's more sustainable to use it to improve your garden soil.
Step 1: Take out your Coconut Coir Pellets. I like to use a large tray
Step 2: Add water to tray and Coconut Coir Pellets. Using warm water might help them "grow" faster.
Step 3: Add seeds to the hole and gently cover or "squish" coconut coir.
Step 4: Place in a warm sunny place and keep moist. This is where the real growing happens!
Common Seed-Starting Issues
-Incorrect Temperature. Different seeds have different needs.
-Old Seeds. When properly stored seeds can have a very long shelf life. But the older they get, your germination rate will begin to reduce
-Incorrect Watering. Water in a necessity for all plants. In the germination stage you need to make sure you keep the soil evenly moist. If you water too much, you run the risk of your seeds rotting before they germinate. If you let them dry out, they will either never germinate or die trying!
-Planting Depth/Light. When you plant your seeds pay attention to your planting depth. This is important because if planted too deep you plants could run out of energy before reaching sunlight. Planting too shallow can lead to drying out. Some seeds actually need some light to germinate, so instead of digging them down you just press them into your soil.
MOLD or ROTTING
Dampening off, is probably the most common disease when starting seeds. It’s a fungus that can attack the seeds as soon as they germinate or after the seedling has emerged. You will know this is what killed your seedlings when you notice dark spots on the stem right at the soil level and the seedling topples over and withers away.
-Don't over water
-Provide air movement.A small fan will work
-Nutrients: Use a half-strength, organic fertilizer with tiny seedling.Our DIY Kelp Meal Tea is a great option for tiny seedling.You can use this as a foliar feed as well.
For coconut coir pellets, plant no more than 2 seeds per pellet for small seeds and only one per pellet for larger seeds.If both seeds germinate, do not pull one out.Pinch off one of the seedlings at the base to remove.This will give the remaining seedling a chance to survive and thrive.
Once your seedlings are strong and roots start to grow out of the mesh, it's time to transplant them into the garden or into your containers.
Take the entire pellet and plant into the garden. For healthier root growth and to give plants a boost, I add a tablespoon of Azomite into each hole and mix into the dirt before transplanting the coconut coir pellet with growing seedling. I also water with a diluted version of our DIY Kelp Meal Tea when I transplant to help with shock.
We hope you have enjoyed our in-depth article about Seed Starting with Coconut Coir. If you have additional questions, feel free to comment below or send an email to email@example.com
FOOD. Without food, we would not survive. Whether you are aware or not, our food choices make an impact every single day.
"Simply put, food is at the juncture of some of the most important issues facing our society (and world!): conservation, climate change, animal welfare, corporate control and consolidation, public health, fair labor and immigration, to name a few."
Now more than ever, the food choices we make are critical to our body and the planet. It seems that every month, there is a new herbicide or pesticide approved for use on food. More genetically modified or engineered "phood" are being approved and planted. Commercial farming and factory farming are heavy pollution producers.
-It has been estimated that produce travels an average distance of 1500 miles before it is consumed
-Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United State (US) each year and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide source
"The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries. The application of pesticides is often not very precise, and unintended exposures occur to other organisms in the general area where pesticides are applied."
The stats above don't even take into account the cancer rates associated to pesticide use and consumption.
"Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce"
"Garlic can be whitened by using chlorine or with a mixture of sulphur and wood ash. Whitening garlic helps to make it look healthier and more attractive to consumers. In fact this obsession with white foods has lead to the bleaching of many food products (flour, salt, sugar) using chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide."
"Nearly 200 million farmers in China, India, Vietnam, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America harvest grains and vegetables from fields that use untreated human waste."
Your choices make a huge impact on food and you are not alone. There is a growing movement in this country to make better, healthier food choices. More people are choosing to grow their own food and not just veggies and herbs. Humanely raising meat is one of many ways to make a positive change. Some call it homesteading and for some it's just a way of life.
What steps can we make to create a positive change?
-Grow your own food and grow it without synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
-Plant for the BEES to ensure continued success in the garden
-Eat less meat and "better meat" (humanely raised and locally raised)
-Support companies making a positive change
-Boycott companies who support biotech seeds and polluters
Since food is daily decision, each day brings a new opportunity to create a positive impact. We're all in this together. 2017 will be our largest garden ever and a chance to continue making great things happen. Mary's Heirloom Seeds will continue our efforts to protect seed diversity. We will continue to volunteer at schools and other organizations.
Will you join us?
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article from Mary's Heirloom Seeds!
How did you like All About KALE? Many of you gardeners have your gardens already put to bed. If you're in a warmer climate, you might be able to grow year round. Swiss Chard is an excellent addition to any garden and grows well in warmer and cooler conditions.
I love growing SWISS CHARD in my garden. Chard is one of the easiest and fastest growing greens in my garden and even grows well in containers!
From WHF, "Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable commonly referred to as Swiss chard and scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile with a flavor that is bitter, pungent, and slightly salty. Swiss chard is truly one of the vegetable valedictorians with its exceptionally impressive list of health-promoting nutrients. Although Swiss chard is available throughout the year, its peak season runs from June through August when it is at its best and in the greatest abundance at your local supermarket"
Also from WHF, "As a rule, the phytonutrient antioxidants in chard also act as anti-inflammatory agents. Sometimes they lower risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation by altering the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes"
"With its very good supply of calcium and its excellent supply of magnesium and vitamin K, chard provides standout bone support."
"Multiple studies on animals have shown that chard has unique benefits for blood sugar regulation. In addition, chard may provide special benefits in the diets of individuals diagnosed with diabetes"
"Also unique among the health benefits from this chenopod vegetable has been its ability to help pancreatic cells regenerate."
50-60 days. (Beta vulgaris) This chard originated in Australia. A beautiful chard; its colors are brilliant (pink, yellow, orange, red and white). Very mild ornamental. Pretty enough to plant in the flower garden; so delicious!
60 days. Named after the beautiful golden Oriole bird, this is a lovely orange chard that will add fantastic color your garden. Use the young leaves in salads or the mature leaves stir fried or as steamed greens. This chard is heat and cold tolerance and has a sweet mild taste.
60 days. An outstanding chard that has magnificent red stems that extend into bright green leaves forming one of nature's amazing works of art. This tasty, low in oxalic acid heirloom chard will add color to any dish. Grows 18-24" tall. Yields all summer and into the fall.
60 days. Very attractive and uniform red chard. A wonderful, prolific and hardy variety, this chard has great flavor and is perfect for marketing. Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head. Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.
I'm growing more KALE in the garden this year. At the moment, they are tiny seedlings but they are growing! KALE is a Rockstar!
KALE is considered a Superfood. From WHF, "Kale's risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body's detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale's glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale's flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress."
Why is KALE a Rockstar? "Kale's cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress. Increased risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are three such problems. Also among these chronic health problems is cancer since our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress."
55-60 days. First mentioned in garden text around 1863. Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch is an early kale that produces tasty greens when used in salads or steamed. The blue-green leaves are finely curled and very attractive reaching 12-15" in high, and spread to 20-35" in width.
50 days. Plants grow 14" tall and are super hardy to the cold. Dwarf Siberian Kale is not only pleasing in appearance, but tasty as well. Young leaves are great raw in salads, blanched for a meal, in stir fry or for use as a colorful garnish.
60 days. Also called Nero Di Toscana Cabbage and Dino Kale. This loose-leafed cabbage dates back to the early 1800’s at least. It has beautiful, deep black-green leaves that can be 24” long. They are heavily savoyed. This Italian heirloom is popular in Tuscany and central Italy for making fabulous soups and stews.
This lovely mix contains pretty shades of pink, purple, and white. Contrasts nicely with the deep green outer leaves. Also known as Flowering Kale, the plants look like huge frilly flowers. The leaves make a superb garnish and are good as cooked greens. Best grown as a fall plant because colors are more intense in cool weather.
55-60 days. A tender and mild, a pre-1885 heirloom variety. Oak type leaves have a red tinge, and stems are a purplish-red. Great flavor. A hardy plant that fares well in cold weather, often thriving through the winter.
We offer so many amazing Seed Combo Packs and Starter Kits at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. However, we recently asked on our fb page what our customers would like to see in a combo pack. Several stated that smaller combo packs and starter kits would be appreciated... So we added MORE! Check out these NEW Kits!!!
For those of you just getting started and looking for guidance, we have created a special "kit" just for you. This starter pack includes PRINTED instructions from some of our more popular articles and tutorials as well as seeds, germination supplies, organic pest control and organic soil amendments Includes SEEDS from Mary's Garden Pack, Companion Seeds: Borage, Nasturtium, Marigold Basil Choose from 50 or 100 coconut coir pellets 10 plant markers 2 ounces Organic Neem Oil 1 pound Mary's Organic Plant Food 1 pound Azomite
2 GARDEN TOOLS: CULTIVATOR IS 9" LONG --- SPADE IS 10" LONG WOOD HANDLES & A HANDY LEATHER LOOP TO HANG ON PEGBOARD HOOK
Looking to start a garden but not sure where to start? Looking for a fun gift idea for just about any age? You choose the seed combination using the drop down menu. Each stater kit includes: -SEEDS -12 Coconut Coir Pellets -Plant Markers -Basic planting instructions with detailed instructions available on our GROWING TIPS & VIDEOS page SEEDS OPTIONS: 1. Mortgage Lifter Tomato, Large Leaf Basil & Black Beauty Zucchini 2. Cal Wonder Bell Pepper, Large Leaf Basil & Tom Thumb Lettuce 3. Black Beauty Eggplant, Pink Icicle Tomato & Large Leaf Basil
Make wonderful homemade Pizza fresh from the garden! One packet of each. Includes: -Thessaloniki Tomato -Cal Wonder Bell Pepper -Oregano -Basil Option 1: Seeds only Option 2: Starter Kit Starter kit Includes 16 starter pellets, plant markers and 2 garden tools CULTIVATOR IS 9" LONG --- SPADE IS 10" LONG WOOD HANDLES & A HANDY LEATHER LOOP TO HANG ON PEGBOARD HOOK
Not new but should be mentioned are the original starter kits
As promised, we are expanding our vegetable seed planting guide and including NEW MEXICO. This is one of many region-specific guides offered here at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. Find a complete list on our Growing Tips & Videos page.
This planting guide is from the Old Farmer's Almanac for Albuquerque, New Mexico. From our 2016 Planting Guide, New Mexico falls into 3 different areas from our previous planting guide.