Propagating in coco coir is a great way to establish plants. Now with the new Closed Bottom Organic Plug, CBOP, from Hort Americas you can reap the benefits of what you sow.
CBOPs are available in three sizes to fit the specifications of your production system. Whether it is nutrient film technique, raft, grow bag, or directly back into Riococo blocks/slabs, the new CBOP is easy to use and has all the benefits of using Riococo coir.
Currently, we have the 32mm (1.26 in) and 42 mm (1.65 in) size available. The 25 mm (0.98 in) size will be available in 2016.
pH & EC measurements 2:1 water extraction
To see more product information on the Hort Americas Closed Bottom Organic Plug, click here.
The most important thing when using Grodan stone wool is that you need to saturate the product fully before using it. When you don’t fully saturate it, some of the stone wool can stay dry and will be hard to get wet at a later stage (hydrophobic). A way to check if the product is fully saturated is to weigh the product and it should be above a certain weight. As an example a Grodan Delta DM6G Grow Block of 10 x 10 x 6.5 cm (4” x 4” x 2.5”) has a volume of 650 ml, so in theory if it is completely filled with water it should weigh 650 grams. However, there will always be air in the Grodan rock wool so we take a water content (WC) of about 85% after initial saturation, meaning the Grow Block should be approximately 550 grams or slightly greater.
I recommend using nutrient solution at 5.5 pH when saturating the product so that nutrients are immediately available for the plant. For the germination itself nutrients are not needed, so some people saturate the plugs with just water and then add the nutrient solution immediately following germination. However, fairly quickly after germination nutrients are needed for further development. So to sure it is easier to saturate the plugs with nutrient solution. Most growers use 1/2 rate nutrient solution for starting then full rate at transplant.
Below are characteristics of some of the most common types of Grodan used in hydroponic production.
Grodan AO cubes 25/40 10/10
AO cubes are recommended for lettuce, herbs, and other greens in a raft system as the tapered base makes it easier to fit into the raft faster.
AO 25/40 mm (0.98 x 1.58 in) L25 x W25 x H40 mm 200 (20 x 10) cubes per pad 6,000 cubes per case 30 pads per case
Top = 25 mm Bottom = 19 mm Height = 40 mm Hole = 10 x 10 mm Weight dry (1 cube) = 2 g Weight saturated (1 cube) = 18 g Also available: AO 36/40 = 1.5 in; 98 cubes/pad; 2,940 cubes/case AO 50/40 = 2 in; 50 cubes/pad; 1,500/case
Grodan AX cubes 25/40 10/10
AX cubes are recommended for lettuce, herbs, and other greens in a NFT system as the wider base gives the plug more stability in the gutter.
AX 25/40 mm (0.98 x 1.58 in) L25 x W25 x H40 mm 200 (20 x 10) cubes per pad 6,000 cubes per case 30 pads per case
Top = 19 mm Bottom = 25 mm Height = 40 mm Hole = 8 mm (1/4”) # per pad 200 (20 x 10) Weight dry = 2 g Weight saturated = 18 g
Grodan Kiem Plugs in French Trays
Kiem Plugs in French Trays # per tray = 240 (12 x 20) Height = 2.1 cm Dry weight = 1 g Kiem Plugs Height = 2.1 cm Weight dry = 1 g Weight saturated = 9 g
Grodan Block Delta DM4G
DM4G 7.5 x 7.5 x 6.4 cm (3 x 3 x 2.5 in) Weight dry = 25.3 g each Weight saturated = 273 g each Volume = 368.7 cubic centimeters 85% WC = 313.4 g
Grodan Block Delta DM6G
DM6G 10.2 x 10.2 x 6.4 cm (4 x 4 x 2 1/2 in) hole = 1.5/1.6 in (36/40 mm) Weight dry = 45.6 g each Weight saturated = 494 g each Volume = 655.5 cubic centimeters 85% WC = 557.2 g
Grodan Block Delta DM9G
DM9G 15 x 10 x 6.5 cm (6 x 4 x 2.5 in) two holes Weight dry = 67-73 g Weight saturated = 879 g Volume = 975 cubic centimeters WC 85% = 828.8 g
Grodan Grotop Expert Slab
Grotop Expert 100 x 20 x 7.5 cm (39.4 x 7.9 x 3 in) (99 x 19 x 7.8 cm) Weight dry = 753 g
Also available from Hort Americas:
Grodan Block Delta DM9G 27 x35 top right (144/case)
If your phosphorus fertilizer is sourced from the U.S. it is probably derived from Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, and Hardee counties in Florida. Recently, I had the opportunity to tour Mosaic’s South Fort Meade Mine facility. The Mosaic Company’s South Fort Meade Mine has an annual production of 6.5 million tons per year running 24/7/365. It’s size is 28,000 total acres with 15,000 currently active acres with 3 drag lines.
Process Overview: Three Steps
1. Mining – Phosphate matrix is extracted from the ground. Clay and sand are removed. The refined phosphate rock is transported by rail for further processing.
2. Fertilizer production – Mosaic process nutrients in the phosphate rock into a water soluble form suitable for plant uptake
3. Distribution – Finished fertilizer is distributed both domestically and internationally by ship, barge, rail and truck directly to growers.
The massive production draglines are massive excavators (Fig. 1) that actually can move slowly across the mine dragging an oversized bucket. The Production Draglines are manned by just two employees. Each of the draglines weigh 6.9 million pounds and the bucket alone weighs 100,000 lbs (Fig. 2). The mining cut can be up to 320’ (Fig. 3). The overburden (sand & clay) is first removed to uncover the matrix of phosphate rock, sand and clay. The matrix is removed until it reaches hardrock (limestone or dense clay). If you are lucky enough you can discover prehistoric shark teeth or bones from creatures that once ruled the ocean where the mine is today.
Pit cars deliver water hydraulically with 300 psi and 16,000 gym to churn the matrix into a thick slurry that can be pumped back to the plant. At the plant, the washer removes oversized material between 1- 8 inches. Clay is scrubbed and rinsed away where it is moved to the clay reclamation centers. The washer feeds all undersized phosphate and sand smaller that 1mm to the Flotation Plant for separation. A biodegradable soap from pine trees is used to separate the phosphate from the sand. The sand is used to reclaim the mine. Since 1975 all mined land is reclaimed acre for acre (Fig. 4).
The phosphate rock is then loaded and shipped to fertilizer plants all over the US and then it eventually ends up in your hands where you use it grow healthy plants.
Special thanks to Mosaic company and the American Society for Horticulture Science for offering this unique tour.