For people who generally live in rural areas, finding substrates like rice husk, or coconut peat is not a problem.
- is an excellent substrate which has one of the best drainage.
- since there is no compaction even after watering, it provides good aeration for the development of roots.
- The rice husk must be thoroughly washed in clean water as it might contain inert materials like sand, stones , insect eggs etc
- sun drying after washing is done for a period of 2 to 4 days.
- weed seeds sometime can get mixed along with the rice husk, so trials can be conducted to see if the rice husk substrate has any weed seeds in them. Soaking the husk in water & allowing to dry for a few days generally is the best method.
- In rice mills, burnt husk is also available. This is better as the chances of weed seeds, insect eggs etc are eliminated
The numerous advantages of coconut peat can be seen in my early posts. Or you can view them again by clicking here
Washing the substrates:
before using either rice husk or coconut peat, they have to thoroughly rinsed in clean water
The most common problem found in coconut peat is it contains a lot of inert material, sand, soil & even insects. so it has to be washed several times , in clean water and sun dried for a couple of days before using it.
The photo below shows the residual sand/soil that i collected after washing 3 kg of coconut peat
This is mostly fine sand and soil particles, & this is detrimental to the dev. of roots. the presence of soil, results in compaction & formation of clay which will result in poor drainage, water logging & poor aeration. The coconut peat can also be filtered using fine filter net, before washing to remove the bigger particles
The heavier sand/soil particles can be found at the bottom of the container & the lighter coconut peat floats at the top.
the sun dried coconut peat can be used after 2 to 4 days.
Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza