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from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

Secret to Tomato Success: Coir

Tomato Success Kits are lined up to test coir-based planting mixes against traditional planting mixes. Results from our gardens — and from the gardens of testers across the nation — show that our new Eco-co™ Coir is an outstanding addition to container soil mixes.

Tomato plants grown in a coir-peat test mix (above left) are more vigorous than plants grown in a traditional peat-based mix (right). The harvest was larger, too.

Our Tomato Success Kit has been a favorite for years because you can grow a crop of tomatoes almost anywhere. In our quest to make it even better, we started working with the planting medium. Research led us to something called coir, a crumbly material made from earth-friendly, recycled coconut husks.

We mixed our new Eco-co Coir and our Self-Watering Container Mix at different ratios and tested the resulting planting mixes in the kits. When we felt we’d found the perfect blend, we asked test gardeners across the country in a variety of regions, climates and growing conditions to try it and compare it with our current planting mix. The results? They found that the new blend produced an even bigger crop of delicious tomatoes — the same results we found in our own test gardens.

Two ways our New Tomato Success Kit is even better:

  • We improved the planting mix. In test after test, our new soil blend of 50 percent Self-Watering Container Mix and 50 percent Eco-co Coir out-performed other soil mixes.
  • We improved the fertilizer. It’s still 100 percent organic and slow-release for a long-lasting supply of nutrients; now it’s fortified with calcium to promote healthy growth and minimize blossom-end rot, a common tomato ailment.

Testers also found that plants growing in coir-peat mix needed watering less often than those growing in traditional peat-based mixes. Adding liquid fertilizer, such as Plant Health Care for Seedlings, to the coco coir-based mix within the first two weeks after planting improved the long-term availability of nutrients and plant growth.

To learn more about coir, read the article Coir: A Better Way to Start Seeds

What is Coir?

Coir, pronounced kwar, is also known as “coco coir” because it is made from fibrous coconut husks. A rising star in the horticultural industry, coir is an effective, economical and earth-friendly addition to traditional peat-based blends.

Unlike lower-grade coir, our Eco-co™ Coir is specially processed to remove salts and minerals and to balance the pH for optimal plant growth. (Without this treatment, coir may contain a harmful level of salt, and its pH may inhibit nutrient update.) Eco-co™ Coir comes compressed into bricks for easy storage, making it more convenient and less bulky than other planting media. A compressed-coir brick expands quickly to about 10 quarts of potting mix.

Ann Whitman, Gardener’s Supply

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    February 21, 2013    

    As soon as my coir (cocopeat) and self-watering planting media arrives, I am anxious to transplant my heirloom tomato seedlings into their growboxes.

    Do I read the instructions correctly? I am supposed to mix (MIX) the two items before planting?

    My concept is: (From the water reservoir up)
    1. Metal support system perforated with lots of holes,
    2. Screen material to hold the planting media,
    3. A layer (2 – 3″ deep) of planting media to be watered in,
    4. Sprinkling garden lime on top of the lowest layer,
    5. Second layer (3 – 4″ deep) of planting media and water thoroughly,
    6. Constuct a trench on the opposite side of where the transplant will be placed for holding tomato fertilizer,
    7. Fill the grow box with planting media and water again,
    8. Dig planting wells for tomato seedlings,
    9. Cut off the lowest leaves on the seedlings,
    10. Line the planting wells with coir, watering enough to have a moist planting well,
    11. Transplant the seedlings into the planting wells up to the lowest branch and pack with coir,
    12. Cover the planting surface with planting media and water thoroughly.

  2. February 21, 2013    

    It depends on which version of our Tomato Success Kit you have. Please call our Customer Contact Center at (888) 833-1412 or contact us by e-mail: http://bit.ly/9CogJI Someone will be able to help you out. -David Grist, Gardener’s Supply

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We are an employee-owned company of avid gardeners, located in Burlington, VT.