Coconut shells – what would you usually do once you have scraped out the coconut flesh? Discard them?
Why not use them as planters and get your own microgreens going. Seetha Anand Vaidyam, who works at Ananda Foundation for Holisitic and Healthy Learning and Living, is a wellness coach, teacher-trainer, and an author who shares hacks to follow.
A believer of recycling, reusing, and upcycling, Seetha shares, “Growing greens in itself is good for the environment and how you grow is also important – you should grow organically, both the ingredients and the container in which you are growing it,” says Seetha.
What you will need?
- A minimum of two coconut shells, well cleaned and scraped.
- Kitchen waste, which can include vegetable and fruit peels or even compost.
- Good soil, cocopeat (click here to see how to make your own), and water.
- A few teaspoons of the seeds you want to sow, this could be sunflower, coriander (dhania), fenugreek (methi), mint (pudina), fennel (saunf), wheat grass and even oregano.
How to make the planter?
- Ensure that the bottom layer is lined with the vegetable/fruit peels or compost
- This should be followed by a layer of soil
- If you have access to cocopeat, you could add one layer of this as well, else will normal soil
- Sprinkle the seed which you wish to cultivate, sprinkle some soil over it and also add some water to the soil and let it be.
Things to note
- When you crack open the coconut, be mindful of how you break it open. Ensure that it is broken into equal halves, which can be used as planters.
- One part of the coconut shell will have three natural depressions, use the centre depression to drill a hole to ensure that the excess water can drain out.
- It is important to make this hole to avoid the plants from rotting.
- If you are sowing more than one type of seeds, ensure that you label the shell to avoid confusion.
- The seeds you sow will take about three to four days to start germinating, so allow it that time.
- When the greens are about 4-inch-tall, it is ready for harvest.
- You can use the coconut shells as a seed bed or nursery as well, for plants like chilly, tomato, and lady’s finger. You can grow the saplings in the coconut shell bed, and once ready, you can transplant the same to bigger pots.
- Seetha also mentions here that following crop rotation is a great idea, using the shell for growing coriander one time and the same shell for another microgreen the next time, is very beneficial for the soil health.
- The coconut shell is prone to break after a point of time, but you can use a new shell with the existing soil mixture.
- Coconut shells takes a very long time to compost, so Seetha urges us to try and reuse it in as many ways as possible.
- While growing microgreens, do note that the first harvest is always the most nutritious while the subsequent harvests might not have the same nutrient content. It is, therefore, advisable, to remove the plants and the soil and sow new seeds for the second time around.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)