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"High-quality coir grow bags allow for flexibility and re-use"

Fruit farmers are facing rising costs on all levels this year, from energy to labor and inputs, and so one growing media manufacturer is promoting the re-use of grow bags to support them. Supplier of coir grow bags, Botanicoir, says re-using bags is a way farmers can make cost savings.

“When we developed Precision Plus Ultra for the market, it was to give growers more flexibility and longevity,” explains Kalum Balasuriya, Botanicoir managing director.

Kalum says that growers have the option to replace the bags each year, keep the bags in situ and replant them or add the used bags to a composting facility. 

Mark and Kalum among the Botanicoir grow bags

Replacing the plants
Mark Davies, Agrovista's head of fruit, works with UK growers and says flexibility is important in a challenging climate. “In a year where growers are really hit with higher costs, re-use may be an option.

“Where there are eight holes in each bag, for example, growers can simply remove the plants and replace them with similar varieties,” says Mark.

“There is also a renewed interest in trough planting again, where pre-made slabs fit directly into troughs. There is generally more of a weed burden with troughs than with grow bags, but in a year like this, it might be an option,” he says.

Mark also explains that the bags can be mixed with compost. “If you open a strawberry bag at the end of the season, there is an awful lot of good material in there that could potentially be rescued and used to mix in with other materials.

High quality
“All of these options rely on the high quality of the product in the first place. If the product is full of fines or not well buffered and inconsistent, you won’t have the flexibility that Botanicoir PPU provides. Of course, it’s important to check that you have not imported any pest or disease with the plants that may compromise the options to reuse or recycle that material.

He says that there are essentially three options for growers with Botanicoir PPU grow bags. One is to re-use the bags, the second is to use the good quality coir in a trough, and the third is to compost or recycle on the farm. “Whichever of the above might be of interest, it is imperative to start with the highest quality material you can – Botanicoir Precision Plus Ultra,” adds Mark.

Homogenous distribution
Botanicoir grow bags are popular among strawberry growers as they give a controlled environment for precision growing. "The homogenous distribution of different particle sizes within the bags means that growers will see even and fast root development, leading to healthier plants and increased crop yields."

"Designed to give young strawberry crops the best start, we have two different strawberry coir mixes offering different water contents to suit grower preference and local climate. This means the bags can be rapidly hydrated and maintain a stable structure, optimizing the chance for re-use while aiding easy uptake of nutrients from the feed", he adds. "The washing and buffering process gives a very clean product with elevated calcium levels to aid rooting and promote healthy root growth and high-yielding plants."

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