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Re:KNO3 in the UK
Another way to get nitrates is to make your own by composting pieces of
dried liver in some soil in a showbox. Buy the liver frozen, shave pieces
off of it with a sharp knife and dry them. With about 2 inches of soil in
a covered shoebox, you can add around a tablespoon of the dried liver.
Don't add it all at once because the system might switch over to ammonia
production, and then you get a very dark extract. Add about half a
tablespoon, wait three days, and then add the other half. Wait about two
weeks, and then gently extract the soil with water. One way to do that is
to slope the soil towards the back so that the front few inches of the
bottom of the shoebox is bare. Then, tilt the box so that the sloped soil
surface is level. Then slowly add water until all the soil is covered.
Wait 12 hours or so to let nutrients diffuse out. Then carefully level the
box so that the soil is sloped again and the box is level. Siphon out the
water from the front of the box where there is no soil, Then tilt up the
back so that the soil drains out. Suck up the last of the extract with a
rubber bulb. Let the excess water dry from the soil for a day or two, and
then the soil is ready to compost some more liver, dried green leaves, or
whatever you want to compost. You can let the extract sit in a shallow pan
for a week or two while any suspended silt settles out. Also, during this
time, the solution will become more concentrated as the water evaporates.
You can concentrate down to about 1/4 of the original volume, but I
wouldn't go much beyond that, because you may start having some components,
probably calcium compounds, crystallize out.
It is a lot more work, but it may appeal to organic gardeners and DIY (do
it yourself) people. When you compost liver pieces you get mostly
nitrates, and not very much potassium. When you compost dried green
leaves, you get just about everything, including micronutrients. Iron may
be a little low, because of its habit of precipitating out when oxidized,
but on the other hand, it may be chelated by natural organics. I have
grown Zebrina (wandering Jew) in flasks with only the extract as a source
of nutrients, and the plants have grown well without showing any iron
Paul Krombholz in warming central Mississippi, looking at the sun for the
second day in a row.