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If you want to grow your own strawberries, you need to start with good quality soil. The best strawberry soil is slightly acidic, well-drained, and high in organic matter.
Interestingly, you can also grow strawberries without soil. People often ask, which growing medium is good for growing strawberries? Well, there are a few options. Other than soil, you can grow strawberries in mediums like Rock-wool, Perlite, or Bark.
But there is one medium that works better than most of the other mediums, and that medium is coconut coir or coco coir.
Here in this article, I want to talk about coconut coir as a growing medium and share with you 5 reasons why coco coir is the best growing medium for strawberries.
What is Coconut Coir?
Coconut coir or coco coir is a growing medium that is extracted from coconut husk. After de-husking, it goes through some processes to become a medium suitable for growing plants.
Coir was first introduced in the 19th century but at that time it failed to gain any attention. Later, at the end of the 20th century, people realized its potential as an organic, environmentally sustainable growing medium.
Can You Grow Strawberries in Coco Coir?
Yes, you can definitely grow strawberries in coco coir. Coco coir is an excellent substrate for strawberry cultivation due to its high water retention and air porosity. It’s ability to hold moisture is critical for strawberries. Additionally, the air pockets in coco coir help to aerate the roots, which is essential for plant growth.
How To Use Coco Coir For Growing Strawberries:
You should add between 4-5 gallons of water to a 5-kilo block of coco coir. Initially, the water might run across the surface as the block is very firmly compressed.
So, use a big enough container and put the coir block in it; so the water does not go wasted. A wheelbarrow or a garden cart is perfect for this job.
Add water slowly. After adding one gallon of water, wait for some time. Give the coir time to absorb the water. Once that water is absorbed, add more.
Coir is virtually odor-free, so you can prepare coir for planting, inside your house, without worrying about any stinky smell.
Why Grow Strawberries in Coco Coir:
The following are the benefits of growing strawberries in coconut coir:
1. No Soil Pathogen:
The traditional way of using soil as a growing medium for strawberries has one major disadvantage and that is the pathogen problem. Unlike normal soil, coconut coir is not infested with any harmful fungi.
On the contrary, coir is enriched with Trichoderma. Research has shown in the past that these fungi help reduce anthracnose disease in strawberry plants and thus work as a great substitute for traditional chemical uses in the strawberry field.
As a result, you do not need to fumigate or use any other such methods which pollute the environment to disinfect the media.
2. Helps Beneficial Bacteria:
Coconut coir is high in lignin. This organic compound helps in the development of beneficial bacteria which in turn reduces the propagation of harmful ones in the media.
These beneficial bacteria remain in a symbiotic relationship with the plant and thus increase overall productivity.
3. Great Water Retention Capacity:
The water retention capacity of the coir goes very well with the plant. Planting strawberries in coir require less frequent watering and also eliminates the problem of waterlogging (due to its excellent drainage capacity).
4. Better Aeration than Normal Soil:
Strawberries require a considerable amount of oxygen in their root zones. So it is inevitable that the medium for growing strawberries should have a good aeration properties. That is one of the reasons that coconut coir is considered an ideal medium for growing strawberries.
The high level of aeration and fantastic drainage in coir encourage the plant roots to develop their full potential.
5. Lightweight Growing Medium:
Vertical towers are becoming more and more popular these days among gardeners, especially in urban areas. Using coir in place of soil will also make the towers lightweight and easier to transport.
Besides the high buffer capacity, coir also ensures the slow release of nutrients for an extended period and thus optimizes plant growth.
Due to these attached benefits, coir has been broadly in use in greenhouses. They have increased productivity quite a fold.
Tips for Growing Strawberries in Coco Coir:
1. As with all manufactured products, the quality of the coir that you receive will vary depending on the processes and raw materials used. So it is always best to go for the most reputed ones.
Don’t forget, that the quality of the coir will have a crucial impact on your strawberry plant.
2. Strawberries need calcium for their growth. Calcium is one of the few very important elements in plant nutrition. So, before buying any coir please check its labels.
Normally coir doesn’t have a lot of calcium in it. But as an amendment, some companies decided to add calcium to their buffered coir media.
If your coir doesn’t have added calcium you might need to add gypsum or perlite and make it suitable to grow strawberries.
3. A potting mix for strawberries should have coconut coir, perlite, and compost. One of the best combinations is 50% coconut coir with 30% perlite and 20% compost.
You can grow strawberries in raised beds, containers, or garden rows. As you are using a light-medium like coir, you can grow strawberries even in hanging baskets or vertical planters also.
As strawberries need full sun. Plant your strawberry where it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight. Use a wind protector if your area is very windy.
Add a good amount of compost to the coir. However, do not over-fertilize the strawberry soil, it can result in excessive vegetative growth and reduced yield.
For more information about how to grow strawberries read our detailed article on growing strawberries.
You can definitely grow strawberries in coco coir and they may even produce higher yields than if they were grown in soil. If you’re looking for an alternative to the soil that is environmentally friendly and effective, give coco coir a try for your next strawberry crop.
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