In terrace gardening soil management is big deal. Plants grow on earth with ease, when seeds spread around by the wind, birds can find their feet easily. But when we create an artificial home for plants inside containers, we cannot play God. A lot of hard work is needed.
If soil is simply filled into a pot, the walls of the pot do not let the ideal paths of air to develop. They also create artificial surfaces that interfere with the gravitational forces. If you fill a pot with mud and pour water into it, you cannot expect it to drain off as it would happen when you pour water on earth. At some point, the gravitational pull of the earth will be countered by the surface tension of the pot’s base, and the water will stagnate.
Fig: Compressed cocopeat block
When you line the pot at the bottom with stones or clay chips, you create another surface into which water will flow, to keep the medium above it dry. There is no water table to guide the roots, so once water drains off the pot, the roots go dry. Since the air passages are blocked by the walls of the pot, the soil cakes up. In simple terms, the soil in your pot will not replicate the ideal combination of water and air that roots require for growing.
When planting in a container, you are actually asking a plant to live happily in the confines of a pot, much as you will ask a free roaming animal to live in a cage in a zoo. You have to therefore create ideal conditions. The simplest way to create the right balance of air and water in the container is to modify the soil. Or condition its texture. You have to artificially make those air passages, into which roots can grow. You have to use medium that can retain moisture. While you do it, you cannot create uneven surfaces that will enhance the surface tension and lead to stagnation of water.
To help retain moisture, mix cocopeat into the soil at planting time.
Coco-peat is a multi-purpose growing medium made out of coconut husk. The fibrous coconut husk is pre washed, machine dried, sieved and made free from sand and other contamination such as animal and plant residue. Coco peat is used as a soil additive. Ideal growing media for plants.Used . It is light, evenly textured, fluffy and crumbly. It is also made of natural materials, though the processing may involve some chemicals to clean and compress it.
Coco peat is consistent and uniform in texture. It is a completely homogeneous material composed of millions of capillary micro-sponges that absorb and hold up to eight times of its own weight in water. The natural pH of 5.7 to 6.5, assures that peat will hold and release nutrients in solution over extended periods without re-watering.
Coco peat is porous and cannot be overwatered easily. It’s air filled porosity and high water holding capacity makes it, an ideal growing medium for the plant crops. It is 100% organic and eco-friendly free from soil borne pathogen and weed.
The final product is an excellent soil additive that can enable the potting mix to become more airy, loose and light. It also holds moisture for a longer time than soil, and therefore is ideal for starting seeds. Earthworms like coconut fiber and thrive quite happily in a mix of compost and cocopeat.
Cocopeat is usually sold as a compressed block. When you leave the block under the dripping tap, it expands and fluffs up. A combination of cocopeat, compost, manure and soil can give you a potting mix that is rich, well textured, and nutritious for your plants.