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  • Redneck engineering or alternate title how Hershell is a bad influence

    I hate coir. yes I know some of you love it but I hate it. Granted I need a LOT of it and wringing it out a handful at a time isn't happening. Now Hershell just adds dry back to the wet till it is the right moisture level but that is very subjective. I want a way so I could saturate the stuff then compress it to remove the moisture so it would be the same moisture content in every batch every time. So the coir compacter was born....ok not high tech but it works.

    It is just a very heavy steel angle iron 1/4 thick or so that I welded to the top of an old rotor off my truck.

    Click image for larger version

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    The coir is placed in a 30 gallon blue barrel that once contained wax for waxing oranges. The barrel has holes drilled in the bottom and around the sides near the bottom. Simply wrapped plastic around the barrel cinched at the top so it will hold water. Placed 2 30 pound blocks of coir in the barrel and filled the barrel up with water and let it sit 2 days. By that point the coir was completely saturated. No need to even break the blocks apart as the compression does it for you. The barrel lid was placed in the barrel upside down and the rotor sits on it as the lid is heavy plastic and is almost the size of the inside of the barrel. Click image for larger version

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    Remove the plastic so the water can now drain.

    Click image for larger version

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    You can see the tractor tires are off the ground it is probably 600 or so pounds pressing down on the coir. Let it sit a couple hours and the tractor front wheels are back on the ground so start it and press down with the front end loader till the tires are 10" off the ground, shut the tractor back off and walk away. Hour later the coir is perfect...still moist but cant wring any water out of it. When I started the blue barrel was almost level full of coir.

    Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

  • #2
    It works... that is what matters.

    Very creative!
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison


    • #3
      Question, if you hate it so much...why did you decide to use it now? Just questioning as i plan on using coir in the upcoming months as well for rooting purposes.

      BTW - awesome engineering skills!
      Last edited by BrooklynMatty; 10-23-2015, 03:45 PM. Reason: forgot to compliment ;)
      May the Figs be with you!


      • WillsC
        WillsC commented
        Editing a comment
        Because last year I left the coir too wet and it cost me a LOT of rotted cuttings. It is a love hate relationship as it works great for rooting and it just falls off the roots unlike long fiber peat. Just trying to correct the flaws in my system.

      • BrooklynMatty
        BrooklynMatty commented
        Editing a comment
        Well kudos on changing the process to improve your results, can't wait to see the results after its compressed again . I'm using coir for same reason, because it doesn't cling to roots like sphagnum. Rafael recommended it to me.

    • #4
      Nice work, Wills. I wish I had the need/room for a front end loader. It would make snow removal much easier.
      Last edited by fitzski; 10-23-2015, 10:17 PM.
      Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)


      • Darkman
        Darkman commented
        Editing a comment
        You could build something similar using a closed steel frame and a bottle jack. place the bottle jack on top of your press and under the top of the frame. The more you jack the more pressure you put on the coir.

    • #5
      Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig


      • #6
        Somehow I expected those naked pictures of you that I was never able to produce in the thread I started a few weeks ago. I am not disappointed.
        Reno, 6b


        • #7
          Among my favorite sayings: "Good enough is perfect." Applies perfectly, nicely done.
          SE PA
          Zone 6


          • #8
            The man is using 30 lb. blocks of coir and
            30-gallon drums...dang!
            And a front loader...hot dang!

            I'm trying not to root more than 50...ok, 100 cuttings this year.


            • #9
              Real good Wills, real good! Concrete mixers and pine bark, front end loaders and coco coir. Machinery,ingenuity and beast mode at its finest!


              • #10
                Where does the water go?
                Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b


                • Guest's Avatar
                  Guest commented
                  Editing a comment
                  There are small holes drilled around the bottom of the barrel for the water to escape.

                • WillsC
                  WillsC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Apparently I was on the wrong account......but what test mod said.

                • jmaler
                  jmaler commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I reread and I see the part about the holes.

              • #11
                WillsC I know about squeezing the coir by hand. I've done quite a lot during my tomato growing years and yes it's a pain.

                I had a small brick left over from those days so I decided to try it on fig cuttings. Straight coir was hard to keep from becoming too wet. I ended up adding perlite to the coir and this worked pretty well for me.

                Your coir press is a great idea. You did good.
                Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b


                • #12
                  How am I a bad influence? Maybe I don't want to know.
                  Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.


                  • #13
                    Tinkerers galore, all of us. Some more than others.
                    Frank Tallahasee 8B
                    North Florida Figs