Hi everyone, I'm a new gardener whose been lurking this great forum for a while but this is my first post.
I've got a question for Fu Manchu (or any one else who has experience with coir based potting mixes).
Fu, I've read through some of your threads before and you seem to advocate using a home-made potting mix with 50% coir fibre, 50% organic potting mix/compost. Do you wash or treat the coir at all (other than adding water to expand it from block form) before you add it to your mix?
I'm interested because I've recently decided to start a potted mini-orchard and want to make up a potting mix suitable for our rather severe Perth climate. I've got the following trees: Lemon, Lime, Orange, Peach, Apricot, Almond, Blueberries, two Apple (Sundowner and Granny Smith) and Cherry (even though they're low chill I know they're dubious but even so I couldn't resist as they're my favourite fruit).
The reason why I'm asking about coir fibre is because I stumbled on a post over at the GardenWeb forums saying that it's often high in salt and needs to be rinsed. Have you ever had this problem?
I then came across another thread over there about it where Al Tapla posted on an experiment he did with Coconut Husk Chips. He made his usual mix of 5:1:1 soil of pine bark:peat:perlite and another 5:1:1 mix of CHCs:peat:perlite. He then planted 6 Snapdragon and 6 Coleus cuttings in the two soils. The result was that by the end of the summer the Pine Bark mix had around twice the biomass of the CHC mix. Now I know that CHCs aren't exactly the same as Coir fibre but its the only such experiment I've seen. (Full post is here)
I was planning on using Fu Manchu's coir fiber/compost mix but the previous results have made me a little apprehensive, so I just want ask if anyone has had experience with either Al's 511 or Fu's Coir mix? If anyone has used both I'd love to know how they compared (as coir fibre is much finer than the chunks Al used). And if you do read this Fu, what lead you to using coir fibre rather than peat or pine bark? What are the chief benefits?