The world just celebrated ‘World Soil Day’ and the internet was flooded with posts talking about the importance of soil quality, healthy ecosystems and the environment benefits of healthy soil.
Interestingly, more and more people are shunning it’s use in favour of the moisture retaining coco peat. A relatively new trend in the gardening world, coco peat is now preferred over traditional soil.
We at Pune365 did a round of nurseries to check on this trend and decipher this medium for our readers:
Coco Peat: Coco peat is a natural fiber made from coconut husks. The extraction of the coconut fiber from the husk gives coco peat. It is a natural growing medium that also has natural rooting hormones and anti-fungal properties. It also works well to deter snails, insects, weeds, seeds, salts and chemicals. A 5 kg brick expands to 20 kg of product.
Benefits of soil: Enhances water and air quality.
Supports wild species and reduces extinction rates. Sustains productivity.
Groundwater recharge. Allows on-site water recharge of streams and ponds.
Supports buildings and roads.
Can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Disadvantages of Coco peat: Comparatively expensive. Soil-Rs 2,500 per soil brass (1 brass sand =4528 kgs) and Coco peat- at Rs 6000-8000 per ton (1 ton= 907.185 kgs)
No percolation. Roots can be destroyed due to excess water in some cases.
Light weight. Needs support for the plant to stay erect.
Good for indoor and smaller plants.
Basic quality coco peat has natural salts that may deteriorate the quality of a plant if not used carefully.
Ashok Bhujwal of Green Gold Nursery, Manjari spoke about the increasing shift from soil to coco peat. “People nowadays are very keen on using coco peat more than soil. This is essentially because of the varied advantages of it. Coco peat being light in weight, is great for terrace and indoor gardening. They can be hence put in a pot and transported from one place to other easily.
“It is also helpful for flowering plants as they do not need hard soil. An equal amount of soil and coco peat works well. Being made up of natural fiber from coconut husks, it helps to retain moisture, needing less care and saving water. It is easy to maintain, provides a good base, helps in seed germination and does saves time.”
“I understand that coco peat is natural and an advanced technique for gardening, but we can’t use coco peat in large plants that require a lot of it,” says Sneha Singhal, home maker and gardening enthusiast.
“I still feel the need to nurture my plants by composting and providing them with nutrients from my kitchen waste. Although it might save water, time and is great for succulents indoor plants. I prefer soil with natural manure over coco peat, she says.
“If it is really beneficial, natural and helpful, only then I will think of using it as an alternative,” says Avish, a chartered accountant. “I like gardening. At every corner of my house and most of my terrace, one can find a green spot. As technology advances, we should try to adopt different things in our lifestyle. The same goes with gardening. Everyday something new comes which helps to improve the yield and life of the plant.
If coco peat is also one of these, I think I will definitely give it a shot.”
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