Using Cocopeat

This section contains a series of guidelines for using Doublethumb Grow Bags that should serve growers in all locations.

Getting started: Cocopeat products are high in potassium, but low in calcium. If the cocopeat fiber products that are purchased or not “buffered” or prewashed, it is necessary to charge the bag with high levels of calcium to bring these levels in proper balance. The bags are then filled until they are full of water, allowed to sit until the substrate absorbs the water, then drained. When getting started, follow the steps described below for best results. Once planted, the feed solution will return to normal, however, it is recommended that the calcium level of the solution is increased by 20% for the first three weeks.

  1. Place grow bags on surface – bags should be raised off the surface slightly to ensure proper drainage. Lay slabs with a 7.5 inch gap between each.
  2. Cut plant holes (squares or an X) – this must be done PRIOR to hydration.
  3. If you are not using an automatic irrigation system – cut a separate “watering hole” in the middle of the bag – place nozzle of water hose in bag and hydrate.
  4. Dissolve 3 ounces of calcium nitrate powder in a gallon of water for each bag.
  5. Using a watering can or cup – pour calcium nitrate solution evenly in holes (if doing manual application) – otherwise run solution through the irrigation system.
  6. Fill grow bags until fully expanded (stop when substrate overflows from plant holes).
  7. Allow grow bags to sit for 8 hours or overnight.
  8. Cut drainage holes on side of bag in between plant holes – at least 6 – 3 on each side of bag evenly spaced – a sharp nail can be used – be sure that no holes are clogged or blocked.
  9. Flush bags – use enough water to allow water to run out of bottom of bag.
  10. Leave an additional 4 hours and flush again
  11. Leave an additional 4 hours and flush again
  12. Bag is ready to be used – plants can be placed in bags in desired locations and spacing
  13. Grow bags should be flushed or flooded periodically to make sure there is no build up of salt – approximately every two weeks. Be sure to monitor the water drainage periodically to ensure that there is no clogging.

Watering Strategy: Due to the nature of cocopeat and its capillary action, Doublethumb Grow Bags should be watered at lower frequency and higher duration times than crops planted in traditional substrate. In early crop plantings we recommend you keep moisture levels low in Doublethumb Grow Bags, as root development in cocopeat will be more rapid and larger than traditional substrate. After the plant is placed in the grow bag, only limited watering should occur only until the roots are established in the grow bag. Once roots are established, begin increasing water content with a low volume of leachate (10% maximum). When fruit development begins, water can then be increased to a 10% – 15% leachate. Water quantities per grow bag will depend on environment and plant development.

Botanicoir cocopeat offers a variety of benefits to the grower:

  • Optimizes water use
  • Increases yield and crop quality
  • Available in a variety of economical forms
  • pH is 5.4 - 6.8 range
  • Cocopeat holds 9 times its own volume
  • More ecologically friendly than peat moss and other “non-renewable” alternative substrates.

“We’re growers
– just like you.”

“My husband, Bruce Templeton, is a third generation citrus grove owner in Lake Wales, Florida. Like all farmers, we have been actively looking for alternative sources of income to diversify our crops. In the fall of 2009, we began working with the University of Florida/IFAS program growing strawberries using ...