Coir Is A Workable Substitution If You Don’t Want To Use Peat Moss In Your ‘Tufa Recipe
I received an email from a gentleman in the United Kingdom asking me, “I am very interested in your excellent site and in particular hypertufa. I am based in the UK and peat is a no-no environmentally. Can you recommend a peat substitute for a hypertufa recipe?”
I was able to tell him that yes, I could.
As a matter of fact I have a hypertufa recipe I shared with him that uses coir, also known as coconut fibers, that works quite well.
What is coir?
But I did ask him why peat had become a “no-no”. After all, there is so much of it in the world it certainly is a “renewable” plant/product, and I have read that Canada, for instance, does practice controlled harvesting.
His reply was “[there’s] still plenty of peat around in all purpose compost here and you can still get peat, but it’s known as being an unsustainable resource and all the big retailers have policies to reduce and eradicate it over the next few years.”
So, that being said, I decided I ought to post this coir hypertufa recipe on my website, because it might be of help to other crafters that want to try a variation on a “true” hypertufa recipe, or for those folks in the U.K. who have difficulty finding garden grade peat moss.
Coir Does Not Decompose As Quickly As Peat Moss
I have to mention that you need to be aware that coir isn’t going to decompose as quickly as peat moss does. To be honest, I think you will be waiting quite a while longer for it to do so. Door mats are made of coir. If you’ve ever used one, you’ll know what I mean about it not decomposing quickly.
The reason peat moss is an integral ingredient to a “true” hypertufa recipe, is that when it decomposes, it leaves pits and crevices. This mimics real Tufa rock. So you must understand that the finished look of your garden art object made from this recipe will be different looking from a true ‘tufa recipe. Oh, it’ll hold up just as well, it’s just as time goes on, it may not resemble real Tufa as much as a peat moss based recipe would.
Hypertufa Recipe With Coir
2 parts coir (coconut fiber)
1-1/2 parts perlite
2 parts Portland cement
Enough water to make proper consistency
As with all hypertufa recipes, these measurements are not exact, and it may take a little experimentation to get a recipe you’re happy working with.
For information on mixing, curing, etc. please refer to these other pages of information:
Mixing Guidelines: Tips to Avoid Unnecessary Mistakes
Curing Hypertufa: Proper Methods For Success
Good luck with this project and remember … Have Fun!