Wednesday, August 4

Say no to plastics, grow plants in coconut shells!

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People usually throw away tender coconut shells after drinking the water. Next time, just don’t. Instead, cut the shells in half and make quirky planters for your garden. You can even replace the soil with coco peat or husk. Coconut shells are fine growing mediums because saplings can be transplanted directly into the soil along with the pot. Since they are biodegradable, plants will not be affected. In fact, upon degradation, these shells also provide nutrients to the saplings. This could be an apt opportunity for you turn eco-friendly, right?

Benefits of tender coconut

According to Coconut Development Board, ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare, coconut is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral food. Tender coconut is a natural source of electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, amino acids and other nutrients. The natural carbohydrate content is between 4-5% of the liquid solution. Coconut husk is an excellent package for the water which contains sugars, minerals, amino acids and vitamins.

Turn coco friendly

Once you are done with your coconut, scrape the insides, make a few holes and use it to plant vegetables with shallow roots, such as lettuce or peas. Sudakshina Nandi, a marketing professional and an avid gardener, said, “The best part about coco-shell planters is that they come for free. All you need are coconut shells, potting mix or coco peat, seeds and a spray bottle. And you are ready to go.”

Try coir pots this season

Those who are trying to go eco-friendly can start by discarding plastic pots and shift to coir planters. Dr Subir Bera, department of Botany, University of Calcutta, said, “These pots are totally bio-degradable and transform into organic matter on decomposing. These are made from the husk fibre of the coconut. The texture of the coir pots allows water and air to penetrate quickly. As there is no water logging, roots don’t rot. It provides nutrients like copper, iron and zinc, which are good for the plant’s growth. Coir pots break down naturally in the soil. So, you can dig and transplant the entire pot directly into the ground or re-pot it in a big container, without tangling or breaking the roots.”

Forest department turned to coconut shells for planting saplings

In 2018, the forest department of Chhota Udepur in Gujarat stopped using plastic bags for growing saplings from seeds and turned to coconut shells instead. The idea was proposed by Sujal Mayatra, the district collector. In the first phase of the project, the forest department planted about 1,500 saplings in coconut shells. “Nursery is not our core job, but during our cleanliness drive, there was accumulation of many coconut shells, therefore I proposed the idea to rear the plants. As the coconut shells will be used for saplings, waste management will also be easy and it will also help in our goal of making Chhota Udepur a plastic-free district (sic),” he said.

Planting in coco peat

1. Coconut husk absorbs more water, keeping the medium wet
2. Coconut husk contains high lignin content and hence it is resistant to fungal growth
3. Coco coir can be used in place of soil. It is also available in ready-to-use bags.
4. Using coco peat for farming does not require more maintenance
5. Coconut husk can be continuously used for more than 10 years                                                                            6. As plants are not grown in the soil, they tend to stay free from soil-borne pests

DIY: Coco planters

1. Make holes at the bottom of a coconut shell. You can also use a tender coconut

2. Fill it with coco peat and plant the seeds in the shell

3. The holes in the shell help the roots grow without any obstruction

4. This eliminates the use of plastic bags in the nursery and also, when the shell degrades in the soil, it provides nutrients that help the plant grow

5. Use it to plant vegetables with shallow roots such as lettuce, fenugreek, green grams, peas or even ornamental plants


Source: Times of India

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