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Seed to Harvest

Growing Mediums 101

by Mark Benz 04 Apr 2023 0 Comments
Growing Mediums 101

Growing Mediums 101

Coco coir, soil, peat moss, and rock wool are all popular growing mediums for plants, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here's a brief comparison of these growing mediums:

Coco Coir

Coco coir, such as Mother Earth Coco, Grow!t Coco Coir, & Char Coir  are renewable resources made from the fibrous husk of the coconut. It has a high water retention capacity, which means it can hold water well and keep plants hydrated. Coco coir is also naturally low in nutrients, which allows growers to have greater control over the nutrient levels their plants receive. It is lightweight and easy to transport, but it can be more expensive than soil and requires specific fertilization and pH adjustments. 


Soil is a traditional growing medium and is made up of organic matter, minerals, and living organisms. It provides a natural source of nutrients and microorganisms that can benefit plant growth. Soil also provides a stable structure for roots to grow in, and it is relatively inexpensive. However, soil can be heavy, making it difficult to transport and handle. It can also harbor pests and diseases, and its nutrient content can be inconsistent. Our best recommended  products include: FoxFarm Ocean Forest, Happy Frog, & Roots organic soil

Peat Moss

Peat moss is a natural, organic material that is often used as a soil amendment. It is highly absorbent and can hold up to 20 times its weight in water, making it an effective moisture regulator. Peat moss is also sterile, meaning it is free of pests, diseases, and weed seeds. However, the extraction of peat moss can be environmentally damaging, and its long-term availability is uncertain. Most companies manufacture a peat most blend with horticultural-grade perlite, horticultural-grade vermiculite, dolomitic and calcitic limestone (pH adjuster), wetting agent and mycorrhizae – endomycorrhizal fungi (glomus intraradices). Premier Pro-Mix BX Mycorrhizae & Sunshine #4 with Mycorrhizae

Rock Wool

Rock wool such as Grodan & Red Rock are  a synthetic growing medium made from melted basalt rock and other materials. It has a high water retention capacity and good aeration, which allows for healthy root growth. Rock wool is also sterile and can be reused multiple times. However, it can be difficult to handle and requires careful pH and nutrient management.When choosing between these growing mediums, it's important to consider the specific needs of your plants and the environment in which they will be grown. Each medium has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice will depend on factors such as cost, availability, ease of use, and the specific growing conditions of your plants.

Clay pebbles: such as Geolite Clay Pebbles & Hydroton Original also known as expanded clay pellets, are a popular growing medium used in hydroponic systems and other forms of soilless gardening. They are made from clay that has been heated to high temperatures, which causes it to expand and take on a porous, pebble-like texture.

One of the main benefits of using clay pebbles as a growing medium is their excellent drainage and aeration properties. The porous nature of the pebbles allows air and water to flow freely through the medium, preventing water from becoming stagnant and depriving the roots of oxygen.

Clay pebbles also have a neutral pH, which makes them a good choice for a variety of plants. They are lightweight, which makes them easy to handle and transport, and they are reusable, so they can be cleaned and sterilized between uses.

However, clay pebbles do have some downsides. They can be expensive compared to other growing mediums, and they can be dusty and messy, requiring frequent rinsing before use. They may also require additional nutrients and supplements to provide the plants with enough nutrition, as they do not contain any inherent nutrients.

Overall, clay pebbles can be an effective and efficient growing medium for hydroponic systems and other forms of soilless gardening. However, they may not be the best choice for every situation, and growers should consider their specific needs and preferences before choosing a growing medium.

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