Sodium nitrate (sodium nitrate, sodium or Chilean nitrate) is a nitrate fertilizer with pronounced alkaline properties. In fact, the spectrum of action of the substance is quite wide – it is even used in the food industry. Sodium nitrate is a substance with strong oxidative activity. Reacts easily with alkali metal salts, non-metals.
Properties and composition
Chemical formula – NaNO3.
Substance hazard class – III.
Sodium nitrate is a solid, transparent white crystals (sometimes yellowish or grayish). The sodium content in the substance is about 25%.
The composition of the substance includes:
- nitrogen – about 15-17%;
The compound decomposes when heated to 380 ° Celsius into sodium nitrite and oxygen.
Sodium nitrate is highly soluble in soil and water. Its peculiarity is that it is absorbed only biologically (by plants or other living organisms)… Because of this, nitrate ions are not retained in the soil and are subject to active leaching during periods of heavy rainfall.
The fertilizer is alkaline and can be used to alkalize the soil. Refers to non-flammable fire hazardous substances (promotes spontaneous combustion of other flammable substances). Depending on the production method, natural and chemical sodium nitrate are isolated. The latter type is somewhat less commonly used in agricultural business.
Sodium nitrate – it is the main source of sodium and nitrogen for plants during the period of growth, development and ripening of fruits. It is used for fertilizing land intended for all types of agricultural crops.
Sodium influences the outflow of sugars from leaf plates and their accumulation in root crops, which significantly increases their energy value… Due to this, sodium nitrate is widely used to enrich the land for sodium-loving crops (mainly root crops):
- sugar and fodder beets;
- radish “Daikon”;
- Jerusalem artichoke;
- sometimes used for flax and wheat.
Application methods, use on different types of soil
The use of fertilizer on soils oversaturated with sodium is not recommended. The systematic use of sodium nitrate contributes to the gradual neutralization of the acidic soil environment… The substance is most effective on soddy-podzolic soils, but on black soil it loses its advantages.
Methods for introducing sodium nitrate into the soil:
- pre-sowing (main);
- top dressing.
It is used in the spring for soil preparation and during planting crops and throughout the season as needed. Sodium nitrate is not applied in the autumn. When introduced, the substance retains the physical properties of clay soils without imparting stickiness to them.
Contraindications and storage conditions
An expert’s opinion on sodium nitrate:
An effective feeding option for crops with a high demand for sodium compounds. These include all varieties of carrots, beets, nightshades, Jerusalem artichoke, radish, radish and swede. Supplier of nitrogen and sodium for all agricultural crops. Suitable for application to the soil before the start of sowing work, by root dressing.
Sodium nitrate is not used to fertilize plants growing in greenhouse conditions. Do not use saltpeter in sodium rich terrain – on saline and saline soils. Not used in combination with superphosphate.
Sodium nitrate tends to absorb moisture from the air. If stored improperly, the crystals are saturated with moisture, their density increases and they “cake”… Such a substance largely loses its properties.
Saltpeter is stored in dry enclosed spaces in a packed form or in special sealed containers. The package or container must be on a deck or pallet.
The downside of the substance is that it is quite difficult to create the necessary conditions for storage outside specialized warehouses. If stored incorrectly, properties are lost.
Under the correct conditions, the shelf life is unlimited.
How you can make sodium nitrate yourself
The easiest way to make sodium nitrite at home is from soda ash (washing) soda and ammonium nitrate (ammonium nitrate). In the absence of washing soda, baking soda can be used.
- Mix the substances in a 2: 1 ratio (two parts ammonium nitrate and one soda).
- Pour the resulting mixture with warm or hot water. Normally, a reaction should occur, accompanied by the release of gas bubbles and a decrease in temperature.
- Heat the liquid in a water bath until the bubbles are complete. It will be optimal to boil it for about 2 hours. After the complete completion of the process, the release of ammonia stops, and a neutral reaction is established in the resulting solution.
- Filter and evaporate the solution.
It is strictly forbidden to cook sodium nitrate at home. The vapors released during the manufacturing process are difficult to erode, are absorbed into walls, furniture, home textiles and can lead to poisoning. It is permissible to cook saltpeter only in the open air, periodically moving away from the container with boiling liquid.
Sodium nitrate poisoning
Intoxication occurs as a result of inhalation of sodium nitrate vapors, its ingress into drinking water or food… A high concentration of the substance causes symptoms of acute poisoning within a few hours:
- blueness of nails, lips, visible mucous membranes;
- yellowness of the whites of the eyes;
- pain in the occipital region;
- pain in the hepatic region.
In case of poisoning, the victim is vomited (if he is conscious), given a lot of liquid to drink, call an ambulance.
To prevent poisoning, the storage conditions of the substance should be observed, personal protective equipment should be used when working the land.
Currently, sodium nitrate is used a little less often than before, and has been replaced by other sodium-containing preparations. Nevertheless, it is considered an effective tool for alkalizing acidic soils and enriching the land for root crops and starchy crops in open fields.… When using sodium nitrate, the quality of root crops improves and their yield increases significantly.
People who love nature, have a special vision of the most insignificant changes in the life of plants, are able to evenly distribute physical activity, and patiently do their work, work most successfully in vegetable growing.
All these qualities are possessed by Oleg Ivanovich Pomidorkin – an active person, a graduate, a true expert in his field. But the work of a vegetable grower, like any other work in agriculture, requires, in addition to knowledge of the specifics of growing and caring for plants, physical efforts.
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