If you have knowledge about composting toilets then you must have heard the terms peat moss, coco pith or coco coir. These are the mediums to be used in composting toilets to mix with the liquid and solid waste. These materials help to make the waste better compost. It also helps in reducing the bad smell from the waste. The peat moss and coco coir also help to break down the waste quickly to form better compost.
What is Coco Coir?
Coconut is a very beneficial fruit. It consists of two parts. One part is the inner kernel, which is used for eating. The other part is the outer layer which much harder. It is called husk. This outer layer or husk contains fibers. These fibers are utilized to make doormats, ropes, brushes and mattresses. This husk’s powder and inner fibers are utilized to make coco coir used for making compost for plants and gardens.
How to Make Coco Coir from Coconut?
The powder and inner fibers from the coconut’s husk are stored in a container for a period of six months or more. This is done in order to reduce some contents from the powder and fiber that are unnecessary for the compost. These contents include phenol, salt, tannin etc. The next step involves removing any contagion from the coco coir.
After that it is washed to remove salts or elements like sodium. Then calcium nitrate is added to balance the potassium that is naturally present in the coconut fibers. After adding necessary contents, the coir is placed to be dried. Then it is made in the form of bricks, made into packets and transported all over the world. India and Sri Lanka are among the greatest producers of coconut fibers that are used to make coco pith or coco coir.
How Peat Moss is formed?
Peat moss is a type of decomposed material. It is found peat bogs and contain mosses and other living materials. It serves many purposes for your garden. It is mostly used to soften the soil, retain moisture; start seedlings etc. peat moss is highly absorbent in nature. This feature is very helpful for composting toilets. It is formed without the presence of air which slows down the decomposition process.
Canada has almost 25% of the world’s peat land. USA gets almost all of its peat moss from Canada.
Difference Between Peat Moss and Coco Coir
Following is given a comparison of peat moss and coco coir by highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of peat moss and coco coir. We hope that the comparison will help you understand the difference between peat moss and coco coir.
Advantages of Coco Coir
- More Sustainable
- Anti Fungal
- Anti Pest
It is considered to be more sustainable in soil and in planting mixes. It can hold ten times more its weight in water.
Coco coir has anti fungal properties. It does not develop fungus easily because of its development process. It is dried up and packed to avoid any moisture that can cause fungus.
Coco coir is found to be pest resistant. It helps the compost to avoid developing or growing of pests inside the compost.
Disadvantages of Coco Coir
- More Water Requirement
- Poor Working Conditions
- Causes Pollution
More Water Requirement:
A lot of water is required in the production process of coco coir. Therefore, it is not considered eco friendly because lots of water is wasted in this process. Around 80-160 gallons of water is consumed for per cubic yard. Coco coir processing plants in India are located at places where water is already scarce.
Poor Working Conditions:
Most of the coco coir producing factories has very bad working conditions. The area is always dusty from the coir particles. Working hours are also very long in these factories. Labor is under paid.
Every type of pollution is being created with the production of coco coir. Water pollution, air pollution, carbon emissions and soil pollution are caused.
Advantages of Peat Moss
- Absorb and Retain Water
- Holds Nutrients of Soil
- No Bacteria and Fungi
Absorb and Retain Water:
Peat moss helps the soil to remain moist. There will be no need to water your plants more often. Peat moss will do this for you. It holds water for plants as well as provides necessary drainage.
Holds Nutrients of Soil:
When plants are watered, essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen can leak out of the soil. Peat moss helps to lock that moisture in the soil so that the soil does not loss all the nutrients. This will result in better and healthy plant growth.
No Bacteria and Fungi:
Producers of peat moss sterilize it before transporting it to other places. Therefore the peat moss is free of any harmful components like bacteria, fungi or weeds etc.
Disadvantages of Peat Moss
- Non Renewable
- Bad Impact on Climate
Peat moss is non renewable resource. Once peat bogs are mined to harvest peat moss, then for several generations after that you cannot harvest at that place again. Therefore it is called non renewable resource.
Bad Impact on Climate:
Peat moss produces lots of carbon dioxide and emits it in the air. Hence causing a bad impact on climate conditions and causing global warming.
Peat moss is exported on an international level. Therefore it is more expensive as compared to other organic soils.
Which Is Better Peat Moss or Coco Coir?
The above article has pointed out advantages and disadvantages of peat moss and coco coir. The above content is informing enough about both. Now you can better decide which one is more suitable for your garden.