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60/40 Vermiculite and Coco Coir Casing Tek

An illustrated casing tek utilizing coco coir and vermiculite

These instructions will guide you through a process of making a simple casing layer substrate using vermiculite and coco coir. You're going to need some vermiculite, coco coir, a large mixing bowl, a large spoon, a microwaveable dish and a microwave.

The stuff on the left is expanded coco coir.
The stuff on the right is coco fiber, which is NOT what you want!

We are going to be using some Forest Bed brand of coco coir for this casing material.
(Or any other brand)
Break off a few small pieces of coco coir and put them into the large mixing bowl.
I can be difficult to break a piece of coir from the pressed coco block.
But, the coir is pressed in layers, and you can easily separate those layers using a knife.

You will be adding hot water to the coco coir to make it expand. After it expands it will look like this. In this case more water is added as it would be needed for the coir to expand, since the vermiculite is going to absorb the rest.
You can also add some calcium carbonate (=crushed limestone) to this mixture(around 5% by volume) if you want to stabilize the pH of the casing mixture somewhat.
Then you add your vermiculite. Add a little more vermiculite than coco coir. (by volume)

After adding the vermiculite to the expanded coco coir mix it in really good.

Feel the moisture level of the casing material! When you take a handful of the mixture in your hand, you should be able to gently squeeze out a few drops of water.....that is the moisture level that you want. You might have to add some more water to achieve the correct moisture level.

After you get it mixed up good it will look like this.
You then take your 60/40 casing material out of the large mixing bowl and put it in a microwaveable dish. I really like mine!
Clean the inside of your microwave out...use bleachy water.
Then spray the inside with Lysol.
You want to microwave your 60/40 casing material in the microwave for 5 minutes.
Spray the air out side the microwave with Lysol.
Pull the container out of the microwave and stir up the casing material with a clean utensil.
Put it back in the microwave...and nuke it for another 5 minutes.

Let the casing material cool down in the microwave oven.

Spray the air with Lysol.
Pull the container out of the microwave oven.
Apply the casing material to your substrate.
Then cover both containers to keep airborne contaminants out.

More general casing info h e r e.

by Roadkill

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