Monday April 8th 2013
One alternative to Peat - or Sphagnum, or the
thousands of species that comprise Moss Bogs - is the part of a Coconut
between the hard internal shell and the slightly less hard outer part of
a Coconut. This fiber has to be washed to reduce levels of sodium
and potassium before it can be used in soil, or in what a shovel-less
fascist might call 'growing medium.' Another name for this
fiber is Coir. When you prepare Coconut fiber to make ropes and
mats or stuffing for mattresses, there's a left over that gathers.
Much of this left over is a dust. Some will tell you this Coir
Dust can take up to twenty years to become one with the universe. A
claim that so grabs at my Luddite heart, the claim can only be a figment
from an advertizing agency.
It doesn't matter what the rulers of the
Peat or Sphagnum industry tell you. They employ miners while they
themselves spend their vacations in Cancun because after a Peat Bog is done
with, the view at home is unpleasant and you have to wait about two thousand
years for the bog to re-grow. I'd say people who grow Coconuts have
the distinction of being tropical gardeners and have no need to ever climb
aboard a bloody airplane to get away from their view, but who knows
now there's a Coconut husking machine that does the work of twenty highly
trained men in an afternoon. Yesterday I was again made emotionally
distraught by the condition of the soil in the Vegetable Garden.
Despite the barrow loads from compost piles, I have seen more humus in the
sand of the Sinai Desert. There are two kinds of Peat in the USA. The
stuff from Canada which serves the soil here for about six months and the
stuff from Florida which serves soil here for about two weeks. These
days where I live you can get Coir Dust, it's more expensive than Peat,
because the interest that sells it doesn't open on Sunday afternoon. Sadly
that part of the Vegetable garden where Coir was applied sometime last year,
is now where Moles go to learn ballet dancing. Which I'd guess is some sort
of a tribute.