Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Melting Down Potassium Nitrate

Once again the time of year has come to start applying Potassium nitrate to our greens. This product is excellent for preparing our greens for the winter and helping them to recover from the summer stress but it is a major pain to mix up and get into solution as anyone who has dealt with it before can attest.  Most people, as we have in the past, mix the product a little at a time in a five gallon bucket and add it to their spray tank hoping they can get it all mixed up before they run out of room in the tank.
Well we wanted to find a better, easier, less time consuming way of getting the product into a solution and into the sprayer.  As the old saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of all invention" and this is what we came up with. 
We took a spare 55 gallon drum, rinsed it out, and cut a large hole in the top of the drum.



I went to our local ACE Hardware and purchased a 1/3 horsepower sump pump to which we connected a one inch hose.

We filled the 55 gallon drum with 40 gallons of water and placed the one inch hose down to the bottom of the drum so that it coiled around the bottom.  The sump pump was placed so it was about half way down in the water.
With the sump pump running and the water circulating at a nice pace we slowly added the potassium nitrate to the water. 
We placed the 200 pounds of product that we needed to apply to the greens in the drum, filled the water volume up to the 50 gallon mark and let the pump run throughout the night.

When we came in this morning all of the product was melted down into solution and ready to be added to the sprayer.  We used the pump to transfer the solution to the sprayer in just a manner of minutes which would have taken us close to an hour and a lot of frustration on Willie's part to get all the product melted down and ready to go.  The drum was then filled back up with water and the rest of the sprayer filled up rinsing the tank and the sump pump all in one motion.
Granted this is a "prototype" of the design but it worked great and saved us a ton of time and effort and I feel did a better job of getting the product properly dissolved for application. 

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