Coir – The Ideal Growing Medium for Strawberries

Coir – The Ideal Growing Medium for Strawberries

In June 2015, newspapers around Britain were buzzing about an offer from Marks and Spencer which sought to revolutionize gardening and retail shopping. For the first time in history, UK shoppers were given the opportunity to pick their strawberries from the store itself. These strawberries, which are grown in baskets and under LED lights, added a new dimension to the definition of fresh. Significantly, Marks and Spencer chose coconut fibre to grow their prized fruits. This example is one of many where experts have chosen coir as the principle growing medium for strawberries.

Mankind has enjoyed a long and scrumptious love affair with the humble strawberry. For over 2000 years, it has delighted the taste buds of millions of people. Today, it is consumed more than ever before; each year spectators at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament devour 30 tons of strawberries. Nevertheless,  experts have voiced concern regarding the taste of the modern  strawberry. In a BBC article, the famous gardener Mark Diacono says: “New varieties are often developments of older ones and are bred for greater reliability and resistance to disease. Flavour is often lost in that process.” A key reason for experts to use coir in place of other mediums, is to capture the lost taste of this beloved fruit.

Flavour is not the only reason to choose coir. One of the key drawbacks in growing strawberries is its high susceptibility to diseases. Of these, fungal diseases are the most common. However, gardeners who use coir have a special arsenal to fight this disease. Trichoderma is a beneficial fungus which occurs naturally in coconut fibre; amazingly, this fungus works in symbiosis with plant roots and protects them from harmful pathogens such as Pythium and Botrytis.

Fungi in strawberries has grown to become a monumental issue, so much so that large growers have to fumigate their entire crop to safeguard it. Fumigants are inherently dangerous pesticides that are often linked with accidental mass poisonings.  Even when accidents do not occur, fumigant application expose people to unsafe levels of toxic compounds. Recently, the strawberry industry in California made a statement that they are urgently seeking an alternative to fumigation. Coir is a safe and effective solution to this issue.

Another benefit of using coir for growing strawberries is its high lignin content. Lignin works in a similar way to trichoderma; it helps develop a beneficial bacteria which in turn deters the growth of harmful ones. This bacteria remains in a symbiotic relationship with the plant and increases the overall productivity of the strawberry crop.

The International Society for Horticultural Science classifies strawberry as a plant with high oxygen demanding roots; this signifies that there is a definite advantage in growing strawberries in a media with a high aeration ability. Coir is such a media; it is renowned for its high water holding capacity which in turn produces fine roots with more aeration.

CoirGreen® produces a variety of products which are tailor-made for the strawberry industry. These include Coco Peat, Coco Chips, Growbags and Coir Pots. All these products are 100% biodegradable and are manufactured according to the highest industry standards.

In the words of the Canadian poetess, Kathy Randle, strawberries are like the signs of summer: sweet, soft and juicy. She goes on to say that a plate of strawberries and cream is a delicious mouth watering dream. Use the coir products manufactured by CoirGreen® and turn this dream into a reality.

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