Be a Coco Whizz - Back to Basics
Growing in coco can lead to massive yields and fantastic fruits.
Follow these 4 simple tips to become a coco master.
You’ll learn about nutrient measurement, moisture management and applying feed.
1. Pre-soak the media
Coco can hold onto masses of nutrient salts. Some of this will be unavailable to your plants.
To make sure your plants get enough to feed on, you need to pre-soak your coco media before planting on.
To pre-soak your coco media, apply a 3/4 to full strength feed until run off* appears.
This sounds like common sense but actually catches quite a lot of people out!
*Note: Run off is the feed that gathers underneath pots after watering
2. Measure your pH and CF
To get the best from your plants, measure and monitor the pH and EC/CF of the nutrient solution.
Your pH tells you how acidic or alkaline your solution is. It should ideally be 6, but any number between 5.5 and 6.5 is fine.
Go outside this range and some nutrients will become unavailable to your plants.
- Alter with pH Up or Down, a drop at a time
- Add all nutrients & boosters before tweaking
- If you overdo it, add water to neutralise
The CF/EC tells you how strong your feed is – the stronger your feed, the higher your CF reading. Your target CF depends on a lot, such as your growing cycle and how hard your water is
Aim for: 6 – 12 (young plants), 10 – 16 (establishing plants) & 15 – 20 (mature plants)
- Add water to reduce strength
- Add more concentrate to increase strength
Check the CF and pH levels of your run off as part of your irrigation strategy.
The CF of the run off should be 0-15% higher than that of the solution you first applied. This is because you’re basically flushing out nutrients left over from previous feeds.
3. Moisture of your Coco
For healthy root growth and good drainage, your coco needs to be airy as well as moist.
If it gets too moist, there won’t be enough air.
- Squeeze the media
- The moisture should disappear between your fingers
- If water runs out of the media, it’s too wet
- If no moisture appears, it’s time to water again
- Lift your pot or slab to see how heavy it is
- The heavier the pot, the more water it will contain
Try SHOGUN Samurai Coco Nutrients
When growing with coco, water sometimes flows straight across the surface and down the sides of the growing container without wetting the coco fibre properly.
This disrupts the balance of nutrients and water around the roots of your plants.
SHOGUN Samurai Coco Nutrients contain a unique, exclusive additive that tackles this problem head on - AquaZen Slow Water.
It basically improves water's ability to wet your coco, helping you reach the optimum moisture level to:
- Ensure water spreads evenly throughout your coco media
- Stop false drain
- Improve nutrient transportation and uptake
- Reduce nutrient waste
- Enable maximum root development
4. Try RhizoPots
They're by far the best pots to use.
In most pots
In most pots, roots tend to grow in one direction until they hit a barrier. This prevents roots from branching as much.
Roots may even start circling in one direction around the inside edge of your pot, leaving all the central space (and nutrients) wasted.
With a RhizoPot:
You'll get a bigger, stronger, healthier root network with lots of secondary roots if you grow in RhizoPots.
RhizoPots are made of breathable fabric, that allows air to reach the root zone and naturally prune your roots to get them branching..
- Prevents root circling
- Stimulates production of secondary roots
- Boosts overall root mass
- Allows roots to grow in wasted central space
- Increases nutrient and water uptake
If using propagation RhizoPots, roots can grow through the fabric if it's wet. You'll be able to transplant a propagation RhizoPot straight into a larger one without disturbing the roots!
Getting Run Off
Run off is the excess feed that gathers beneath your pots when you water plants.
Whether hand feeding or drip feeding plants, always aim for 20-30% run off each day. This'll ensure the root zone has the right nutrient concentration.
To maximise root growth, hand feed all plants during the propagation period.
Removing Run Off
You'll need to remove run off before it gets reabsorbed - a good irrigation system will help.
Fully grown plants need irrigating:
- 3 - 8 times a day for 2-5 mins OR with 4-6L per sq. m
- The exact number depends on plant size, plant density and environmental temperature.
Automate it with a RhizoSystem
Getting and removing run off can be a pain. Make life easy, automate it all with a RhizoSystem. You can use them to drip feed plants the exact feed needed for prime run off – no more, no less.
All run off is then removed before it can get reabsorbed by your plant - this prevents root rot, mineral build ups & oversaturation.
If You Don’t Get Run Off...
If you don’t get run off, you'll need to find another way to prevent nutrient build ups. Give plants a quarter strength feed:
- Every 3rd feed during winter months (when it’s cooler)
- Every 2nd during the summer (when it’s warmer)
Tip: One of the great benefits of growing in coco is that you can use boosters designed for hydroponic systems – this’ll truly maximise your yields.