Coconut shells can be used for other things besides making cute faces on Flickr or banging them together to pretend you're riding a horse like Monty Python. Several companies are now distributing a range of gardening products made from coconuts husks. The hair of the coconut shell or coir can be easily used to supplement soil in gardens instead of using peat moss from rapidly depleting peat lands.
Peat bogs are resources that are being depleated fast and it can take upwards of 200 years for them to renew naturally. The peat lands of Europe have disappeared at such a rapid rate that they are now protected by a directive of the European Union. Profit driven companies are now struggling to replenish the peatlands but many varieties of plants and animals are being threatened in the process.
Peat moss has been a resource used by many gardeners to replenish the soil and make the soil absorb water faster. Compost is by far the cheapest, most effective and greenest way to add nutrients to your garden. It contains many more nutrients that peat moss or coconut coir. Coconut coir can also be used in the same manner as peat moss. Digging it into the soil can help the soil to trap more water as well as replenish stripped out nutrients. Coir can also be used as mulch to help reduce soil erosion, decrease the watering needs of the garden and help to keep out invading weeds.
Coir is packaged in bricks or bales and can hold up to ten times it's weight in water. Most coir comes from countries overseas such as Sri Lanka or India where coconuts are plentiful and the husks themselves are garbage otherwise. This helps to reduce it's carbon footprint from shipping it overseas.
Repurposing coconut husks into gardening products is a great alternative to using peat moss or mulch in the garden. I have recently purchased and used both products in a flower bed to see what they're like and was astounded at how much water the coconut husks can hold. With these types of products becoming more readily available, consumers need to put their money where their belief systems are. The more that people buy green, the more green products will become widely available.