Chef's notes converting to Coco from soil
I thought I would start a log of notes for some of us soil growers that are interested in converting to Coco. It may not be the best information but they are my observations and my journey. I'm just going to point out what I have experienced.
Coco unlike soil does not feel exactly the same. With soil you can feel the coarseness of the sand or wood and get grime under your nails. Coco is much lighter almost fluffy to the touch. Atleast my brand of Coco is cocopalms by roots organics. After adding perlite it is a little coarse when you stick your finger in.
Coco is not nearly as heavy as soil and one bag filled way more pots then bags of soil.
When soil gets wet you can feel the weight and know when to water, you can stick your finger in and tell if it's damp, you can squeeze wet soil into mud, ring water out, and compact it. With my brand of Coco you can't tell by sticking your finger in, it doesn't compact, it's fully hydrated but doesn't squeeze water out like soil would.
How do you tell if your Coco is still wet? How do you know when to water? Answers are really simple, almost too simple. You can tell by color, coco will turn light brown when it's not hydrated, but dark brown if it still retains moisture. Watering, whenever, you don't want your Coco to turn light brown ever really. If it's dark brown you just want to kind of keep it that way, unlike soil you can't over water in Coco.
Always add nutrients to your water, unless you've amended, which is something new growers shouldn't attempt. Beware of organic nutrients mixed with some synthetics, as it tends to run high ec and can spike a lot. Not all nutrients are designed for Coco, so look to see what your fellow Coco growers are using. @dr-coco may have to put together a list of ones that are recommended and some that aren't.
Coco warms up faster and cools off faster then soil, I'm assuming this is due to proper hydration but it's been my observation. Be aware of the temp and humidity of your grow space and the temp of the water you apply. If it's hot and dry you probably should fertigate more frequently but at a slightly lower solution, as to not cause high root zone ec. Don't water with cold cold water, 68°f is really optimal for a res, but you can cause root problems if it gets too cold.
To save yourself time and make best use of this style of growing invest in the diy auto watering system. You can still enjoy hand watering once a week and it won't feel like your neglecting your plants.
Check your ec often until you get fertigation dialed in. Always aim ec targets to the lowest end until plants are established. I started by checking everyday, atleast once a day. When ec and plants got established it was much easier to check once a week. When you really get comfortable with your solution and your Outflow you can take a breather from checking ec but you don't want to run into problems by ignoring it.
Feel free to ask questions on anything I haven't covered here, we can read the CFC guides together 😉.
Just wanted to get these down before I forgot, hoping it helps anyone converting to Coco from soil. Feel free to add any comments or opinions. Coco growers can add their nutrient line they are successful with, please refrain from repeating them if they get listed. Grower's Love everyone! Welcome to Coco and I sincerely welcome all guests and members to this community.
I’m interested in coco myself but don’t want to dive right in. I can’t seem to find any info on doing a soil dominant mix with coco. What would you recommend for someone that wants to try coco but only get their feet wet? I’m wondering if the addition of coco to Ss#4 would promote some of the benefits of using coco solely for example better filtration and oxygen without having to water as often. Any correspondence on this is appreciated! 😎