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Coconut husk chips : your guide to CHCs

This is a discussion on Coconut husk chips : your guide to CHCs within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello all, I just noticed that there are many orchid enthusiasts out there who are ...

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  1. #1
    Halloamey's Avatar
    Halloamey is offline Senior Member
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    Default Coconut husk chips : your guide to CHCs

    Hello all, I just noticed that there are many orchid enthusiasts out there who are very much interested in trying out different growth media, especially coconut husk products. So I decided to make a small tutorial of how I make my media which is almost entirely based on coconut husk. Let me begin by telling that from just one coconut palm at my house I get enough husk to pot and repot roughly 250 orchids every year, I also use it for my ferns, bromeliads and anthuriums.

    1) Step one: take coco nut husk peeled off from a coconut and a pair of non sharp scissors that can be used like a crabs claw to peel off the husk.

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    2) Using the scissors peel out the husk, while doing so a lot of powdery, spongy material called pith will separate from the husk. At the end you will be left with 3 substances, 1) The de-husked coconut shell (used for making CHCs), 2) The pith (or cocopeat can be mixed with perlite and charcoal as a potting medium for orchid seedlings and other pot plants) , 3) The husk (can be used for mounting orchids, mulching, to line baskets etc.)

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    3) Now the de-husked shell can be easily drawn into thin strips about 1/2 to 1 inch thick (they will split sideways when you try to cut them with scissors).

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    4) Now using sharp shears, just cut the strips into small pieces roughly square in shape, so you will end up with CHCs about 1X1 sq. inch to 1X1/2 sq. inch

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  2. #2
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    5) Now soak the CHCs in plain tap water.

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    6) The chips will float on the surface owing to a lot of air spaces in the husk as well as the density. You will need to weigh down the chips using some bricks.

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    There are a lot of soluble substances in the husk, you can already see that the water in the bucket has turned reddish brown. There is a debate as to whether these substances are harmful or beneficial for roots. Some say that the tannins are antifungal antibacterial and have plant growth hormones that stimulate rooting, others saw that they inhibit root growth.

    One point I would like to mention here is that, I do not live on the sea coast, nor are my coconut husks soaked in seawater to soften them (which is the industrial way of doing it) therefore there is no salt present in my coconut husk.

    I usually soak the chips for a day in this water, and then I change the water and add a fungicide to it, I let them the soak overnight then dewater them and spread them to dry. I then store them in plastic or jute bags till I need them.

    Tomorrow I will post a thread on how I use this media to pot my orchids. I hope this helps enthusiasts who want to try their hand at this media right from the scratch.

  3. #3
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    Nicely done, Amey! Thanks.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Great tutorial!

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    Thanks Amey. Lots of coconuts here; so will give it a try.

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    Thankyou! I'm going to find a friend with a large coconut tree...shouldn't take long as there are tons of palm trees around. Although, if I tell the husband how much i'd save, he'd probably go find them and cut them up for me. lol

  7. #7
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    Thank you. Looking forward to your thread tomorrow on your mix. Is it the same in the USA as here in SA that the coconuts comercially available have already been peeled, and there is on ly a very thin hard outer sheel which protects the coconut milk and fruit? Could i still use them.

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    I think you need the husk, so a pre-peeled coconut probably wouldn't work

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Businti View Post
    Thank you. Looking forward to your thread tomorrow on your mix. Is it the same in the USA as here in SA that the coconuts comercially available have already been peeled, and there is on ly a very thin hard outer sheel which protects the coconut milk and fruit? Could i still use them.
    Alana is right on this one, we need the husk. But still the hard coco nut shell can be also used, you can pot small orchids, ferns and bromeliads in it after drilling a small hole in the bottom. I normally burn it into a charcoal that I add to my potting media.

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    that's an awesome thought there, making your own horticulture charcoal. I asked about it in a couple local stores, and the looked at me like I was crazy! "you grow plants in burnt stuff??" sheesh. Well, it would be nice to know how to make my own, so I don't have to go through that problem next time.

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