Removing roots in recycled coco media
I like to reuse whatever I can in my garden, saves money and saves the planet. One important step for reusing your coco media is to remove as much root material from the media as possible. When I have skipped this step in the past my grows suffered. Lately I’m trying to improve my results or at least keep results consistent with reused coco and have experimented with a few way to accomplish better root separation. You never can get all of it but you can get most of it out of the media. First attempts at dry removal were not at all promising. The rootballs were too tight to allow the media to be shaken off and breaking the roots by hand made shorter fibers which are harder to remove. My best method so far has been to wash the coco off of the roots with a hose into a large container of water like a washtub or something similar. This process needs a lot of water in the container so the coco is in a thin slurry. Washing the coco from the roots keeps root fibers longer and easier to separate. Next, rake out the roots that break off into the coco with a 12mm wire mesh or something similar. A small rake works too so anything the roots can wrap around is good.
Using a raking motion the stringy roots wrap around the wire mesh.
The vast majority of the removed material is old roots.
Rake, shake, and repeat until you are happy with the end product and then drain the coco. The end product is ready for washing and re-buffering now without the majority of those old roots.
Some growers only use coco once, some reuse it. Maybe some growers have their own processes for reusing their coco that they would like to share as well.
Random acts of kindness make the world a better place
I just reuse what is loose material - found it to be useful to mix some used with "fresh" bricks of coco - plants grew better.
We have a Bio Receycling system where I live and thats where the root ball goes.
Plants are like children - always surprising you.
Yes a job I don't look forward too , use your nose in coco as if it smells after drying out there's root in there ,Repeat the wash , I use the shower with no head to get the ball out but I don't get it all out , this job is for the spagheti strainer , then the colander and pick them out by hand 🙄 then into calmag soak pre use , laborious but if a job needs doing , Tend to use 50/50 new fresh coco, to used mix and buffered 🤪
After the grow
I brake down the roots by hand in a storage box that have 2mm hole at the bottom,
get rid of maximum root by shaking the balls in the box(not through the 2mm hole those are for drainage)
then shake it all through a pot a with 15mm holes (fun part)
What is left in the box after this process suppose to be nice,
I pour the same amount of boiling water as I have coco (ex: 40L coco +40L boiling water)
Let it sit until cold,(by doing that you get rid of gnats eggs and shit
drain it and buffer with monkeydo s method
I also add up to 20% of washed perlite each time but this is not necessary for smart pot it drain the water too fast I reckon.,
I buy only one 40L brick a year by doing this, I also store my coco in the box after it's ready I hope that help:)
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