1. What is coir?
Coir (also known as cocopeat, coir fibre or coconut fibre) is a natural growing media made from the husk of a coconut. The coconuts themselves are used primarily for the food and cosmetics industries, the long fibres from the husks are used to make ropes and brushes, among many other things, and the coir pith, coir chip and short fibres are the bi-products that we use to make our products.
Cocopeat is a great sustainable alternative to other growing media and has excellent absorption properties so it can hold nutrients very well.
After production, the product is compressed into the required size and packaged ready for transport. On arrival at the final site, the grower can simply lay the compressed and dried products out and then rehydrate in-situ, avoiding the process and cost of moving wet cocopeat.
2. Why use coir over peat?
Coir is a renewable resource unlike peat moss, which has taken centuries to evolve. The extensive use of traditional peat moss in horticulture has resulted in the depletion of natural bogs (swamps), an essential part of our wildlife heritage. Peat moss extraction harms the unique and fragile wetlands ecosystem. There are many highly adapted plant and animal species that are found only in peat bogs. The destruction of the world’s wetlands is progressing at an alarming rate. We can all play our part in assuring the conservation of peat bogs by using alternative substrates to peat moss such as coir. Click here to see more about how we care for the environment.
3. Is coir organic?
Our unwashed or washed coir is made from 100% coir, with nothing more than fresh water used to in the washing process to remove some of the less desirable salts that occur naturally. All our organic products are OMRI listed and those same products without plastic are approved by the Soil Association in the UK.
4. What is buffering?
The process that we call “buffering” involves soaking the washed coir pith in a calcium nitrate solution before flushing again with fresh water. This gives a mix that has the unwanted salts (Na, Cl, K, Bo) removed, which if left in the substrate can be detrimental to some young plants, especially during propagation.
One of the main benefits of doing this in production, rather than on farm, is that growers can have peace of mind that all the particles are buffered equally across their growing area. When done on farm via the irrigation system, there can be a risk that small parts of a bag or sector are not buffered the same as the surrounding, resulting in uneven plant growth.
5. How does buffering impact the production environment?
In the past it was sufficient to dilute the wastewater from buffering and supply it as a nutrient solution to fertigate the surrounding 120 acres of coconut, banana and pineapple plantations. But, over the last few years, as our production has increased, the amount of wastewater and our daily water consumption has risen significantly, and we realised the need for some kind of wastewater treatment system. Due to this, Medicoir has installed a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system at its production site in Sri Lanka. The installation is part of our environmental strategy, which has the aim of ensuring the most sustainable production possible. Please click here to read more.
6. What is medicine cannabis (or Marijuana)?
Is a plant-based, or botanical, product with origins tracing back to the ancient world. There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving (and other) properties. In states in which it is legal, doctors recommend medicinal cannabis for many conditions and diseases, frequently those that are chronic. Among them are nausea (especially as a result of chemotherapy), loss of appetite, chronic pain, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, ADHD, epilepsy, inflammation, migraines and Crohn’s disease. Medicinal Cannabis is also used to ease pain and improve quality of life for people who are terminally ill. Read more on medicinal cannabis webpage.
7. What product formats to grow medicinal cannabis?
We have four different formats: (1) Open Top Containers, also known as OTC’s, are the most popular system used by professional cannabis growers. The depth of the bag offers ample room for roots to grow freely and allows for drainage of excess water away from the roots.
(2) Lay-flat bags, gives the option to have more than one plant in the same growing media. The low height offers stability and can be used on a variety of different systems. Having plant holes cut only where needed, means that there is less open surface of the growing media and therefore limiting evaporation and entry of airborne pests and diseases into the root zone.
(3) Bulk products, are for growers who have existing rigid containers, are looking for coir substrate for propagation, or are thinking of making their own substrate mixes. We can supply bulk products or also specific sizes blocks with no plastic to fit perfectly into all common pots, containers and troughs to avoid handling of bulk material.
(4) Grow cubes, are designed specifically for the propagation of young plants, grow cubes are surrounded by a degradable netting that allow the young roots to penetrate the growing media below. Holes can be drilled in the cube to offer ease of planting and varying sizes are available to suit your requirements, please see more about our different formats.
8. Are Medicoir open top container (OTC) environmentally friendly?
As standard we have always used recyclable plastic for all our products that require plastic packaging, such as OTCs and lay-flat bags. More recently we have started offering bio-degradable plastic to give the more environmentally conscious growers the option to choose. Please click here for more information about our bio-degradable plastic.
9. Are there problems with drying coir due to the monsoon season in Sri Lanka and India?
This was always the case, but in 2016 we were proud to be the first coir producer to implement a mechanical coir drying system that achieves the necessary moisture levels for compression, without damaging any of the particles. Please click here to read more.
10. Is Medicoir ethically responsible?
As a producer of an environmentally friendly, sustainable growing media, we take particular care to ensure that the way we operate is ethically responsible. When sourcing raw materials, we only select coir mills that operate to high standards with regards to their employees and procedures.
We strive to maintain the best working conditions in our own factory. We have a strict no child labour policy, set working hours and have implemented regular, ample rest periods into the shifts. Supervisors are constantly present to ensure that the health and safety measures are always met. We are particularly proud of the benefits available to all employees, including a wage that is above the industry average, a healthcare scheme, meals at work for all employees, and transport to and from the factory.
11. How we take care of our planet?
At Medicoir we take our commitments to the planet very seriously. We have invested in a water treatment system to collect all wastewater in a closed, central system and remove the particles that are harmful to the environment. The wastewater is then processed multiple times with several advance filtration technologies and purification treatments. After treatment, the water is as clear as drinking water and it meets all standards of the Sri Lankan Environmental Authority, before being pumped back into the local water systems.