Pine Bark

Place one 50 litre bag of pine bark in a 50 to 60 litre plastic garbage bin. Fill with water and add the following:

Ounces Grams
Urea 4.3 130
Potassium Sulphate 0.8 24
Ferrous Sulphate 1.1 33
Dolomite 2/3 cup
Garden Lime 1/3 cup

Agitate the mix 2 or 3 times over 5 days. Drain and rinse the treated bark several times in clean water. The residue water can be use around the garden or on the lawn. To assist in the draining of the liquid a siphon can be used as described below under coco mulch. The bark is then ready to use.

Coco Mulch

Research indicates that the coco mulch is deficient in calcium and magnesium. To process a coco mulch block, firstly soak it in fresh water for 24 hours. A 50 or 60 litre plastic garbage bin is suitable for the process. Drain and discard the water down the drain. Add more fresh water a further 5 more times and repeat the process. What you are doing is removing salt from the coco mulch. The easiest way to drain the garbage bin is to get a length of hose, attach to one end some sarlon cloth and to the other a hose coupling attachment. Place the sarlon end in the bottom of the garbage bin and the other to the tap. Run some water through the hose to remove air pockets, then detach from the tap and run that end to a drain (in other words you are siphoning the water from the garbage can).

To the last wash add 2/3 cup each of calcium nitrate and magnesium nitrate. Add in 2/3 cup of dolomite to sweeten the mix. Leave for 24 hours then siphon off the liquid (the residue liquid can be used on the lawn). As there is a variation in the content of the coco mulch bales I allow the coco mulch to dry a little bit then put it through a ¼ inch sieve. The fines can be used for indoor plant mixes. If using the coco mulch from Easy Orchids, Tinonee Orchids or the Orchid Tray Company it is not necessary to sieve out the fines The compost is ready to mix with other ingredients and then to use.

It is difficult to prescribe a compost mix using coco mulch to suit all growers as conditions for individuals vary so greatly. A mix of 60 to 70% treated pine bark and 30 to 40% of treated coco mulch, with a light dusting of super coarse perlite added is a good starting point. Soak the perlite in water in the first instance to remove any residue dust (do not inhale any of the dust). Small stones, scoria or charcoal could be added to the mix, if desired.

Don Roberts 2015