Avid personal or professional gardeners know that water retention — especially in the summer — is a constant concern. If you leave your plants untended, they’ll die; if you overwater them, they’ll fail, as well. Without timed irrigation, you’re forced to rely on a neighbor to properly water your plants, which doesn’t always work out in your favor.
Luckily, there are new products on the market to help improve your garden and take the guesswork out of watering. While peat moss has been traditionally used to aid in plant growth, coir mats and biodegradable fabrics are much more sustainable products. Coir mats have become a go-to for gardening as they’ve become more available and improved in quality.
What Is Coir?
Coir is a fiber extracted from coconut shells, commonly called the ‘golden fiber’ because of the golden hue it develops when cleaned. It’s fungus-resistant, retains water well, is durable, and provides excellent insulation for your plants. It’s also popular among pet owners, as it’s non-toxic and doesn’t attract their attention the way cocoa mulch might. It’s available in many forms, including woven and nonwoven mats perfect for gardening.
Coir mats are great tools for preventing erosion, serving much the same purpose as straw wattles but with the added benefits of being both biodegradable and not harmful to wildlife. If you have sloped garden beds, coir matting can absorb excess rainwater and provide a safe space for your plants to grow. These mats generally come in both woven and nonwoven varieties and are available in several thicknesses. You can use the biodegradable mats on slopes above your garden, as well, to help control water and sediment flow.
In addition to being more sustainable than peat moss, coir helps with water conservation efforts. In areas where drought is an issue, biodegradable fabrics such as coir mats can help reduce water usage in gardening and landscaping projects. Properly maintained coir mats require watering only once every week to 10 days due to their ability to retain moisture.
Germinating Sensitive Seedlings
If you want to make sure germinating seedlings have appropriate water and nutrients, a coir mat can help. Because they’re nontoxic and resistant to mold, bacteria, and fungus, coir mats provide a safe, stable environment for your seedlings to grow. They also offer natural nutrients as they decompose, invigorating your soil and extending the life of your garden plot.
Coir mats can also be custom-sized, meaning you can fit them to your needs. They’re suitable for everything from small window plots that need help growing to large backyard gardens.
Encouraging Sustainable Gardening
Coir mats, pots, and other biodegradable fabric products are smart options for amateur and professional gardeners alike. Their sustainability gives them a considerable advantage over peat products, as coconut trees only take six to eight years to mature and produce enough fruit to easily handle the demands for coir. Peat moss grows very slowly, and its harvest is monitored carefully. Coir is much more eco-friendly.
If you’re considering taking on a new landscaping project or improving your garden, look into coir mats and other biodegradable fabrics. Choose from the variety of products available to find something that will fit with your needs while being eco-friendly and pet-safe.