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Saltpeter is very often used by gardeners as a feed for vegetable crops. It is also used to fertilize flowers and fruit trees. Calcium nitrate is great for feeding cucumbers. But as with the use of other mineral fertilizers, it is necessary to figure out how to properly apply this top dressing. In this article, we will see what is special about calcium nitrate, and how you can grow an excellent harvest of cucumbers with it.
Calcium nitrate consists of 19% calcium and 14-16% of nitrogen in the nitrate form. In other words, it is called calcium nitric acid. We are used to seeing this nitrate-containing fertilizer in the form of white crystals or granules. Calcium nitrate dissolves quickly in water. Even with long-term storage, it does not lose its useful properties. To extend the shelf life, the fertilizer must be kept in an airtight container.
Fertilizers containing nitrogen tend to increase the acidity of the soil. In this regard, calcium nitrate stands out favorably. Unlike urea, it does not affect the acidity level of the soil in any way. This fertilizer can be used on all types of soil. It manifests itself most effectively in sod-podzolic soil. Despite the fact that calcium nitrate contains nitrates, if the rules of use are followed, it does not affect the body in any way. Such fertilization can increase the yield and quality of cucumbers.
It is worth recognizing that not all gardeners use calcium nitrate as a supplementary feed on their site. The fact is that calcium is not a vital mineral for growing vegetables. The main element of nitrate is nitrogen, which has a positive effect on the growth and fruiting of vegetable crops. But without calcium, nitrogen will not be fully assimilated by the plant. So without each other, these minerals are not so useful.
Calcium nitrate is a real find for soils with a high level of acidity. Calcium nitrate is able to absorb excess iron and manganese from the soil, as well as metals that increase acidity. Thanks to this, the plants come to life, and the entire growing season is very fruitful. The calcium contained in nitrate is essential for the development of the root system. This element is responsible for the nutrition of the plant with the necessary substances.
Important! Lack of calcium affects the general condition of the sprouts, due to which the root system gradually begins to rot.
It is necessary to feed plants with fertilizers, which include calcium nitrate, in the spring. It is dug up together with the soil during the preparation of the garden for planting. In the fall, this fertilizer is not advised to be applied, since the melted snow will simply wash away all the nitrogen contained in it. And the remaining calcium without it becomes harmful to cultivated plants.
To date, 2 types of saltpeter are produced:
Crystalline nitrate has a high level of hygroscopicity, which is why it can quickly be washed out from the soil. Therefore, it is the granular form that is more popular, which absorbs less moisture and does not form dust when applied to the soil.
The importance of feeding for cucumbers
Some gardeners do not use fertilizers when growing cucumbers. As a result, the harvest is poor, and the cucumbers grow small and clumsy. Using mineral fertilizers, you can get the following results:
- Stimulates growth and strengthens the root system.
- Increased immunity, disease resistance.
- Resistant to changes in weather conditions.
- Fertilizers affect the formation and strengthening of cell membranes.
- Improving metabolic processes.
- Stimulates and accelerates germination.
- The process of photosynthesis and the absorption of carbohydrates are improved.
- Increase in yield by 15%. The taste of the finished product improves, the fruits are stored much longer.
Use of nitrate
Calcium nitrate is added in order to strengthen the root system and accelerate the process of plant growth. It is suitable for any soil. It can be applied both in liquid and dry form. Some gardeners use this fertilizer during drip irrigation of the beds.
Root feeding with calcium nitrate is carried out as follows:
- to feed berry crops, you will need 50 grams of nitrate per 20 liters of water. During the season, such fertilizer is applied only 1 or 2 times;
- for tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes and other vegetable crops, it is necessary to dilute 25 grams of fertilizer in 11-15 liters of liquid;
- to feed calcium nitrate fruit trees mix 25 grams of nitrate and no more than 10 liters of water. It is necessary to water the trees with such a solution before the buds bloom.
To make foliar feeding or spraying with calcium nitrate solution, it is necessary to mix 25 grams of fertilizer with 1 or 1.5 liters of water. For irrigation of cucumbers, you will need about 1.5 liters of solution per 10 square meters.
Spraying fertilizer on the leaves like this will help get rid of top rot, which often appears on tomato bushes. It can also be used as a prophylaxis for a disease. Fertilizers with calcium nitrate are a real salvation in areas with arid climates. Such feeding is very useful for vegetables and grain crops. Saltpeter is one of the most affordable fertilizers. And if we compare its cost with the results of its application, then it will be justified several times.
Attention! In no case should calcium nitrate be mixed with other mineral fertilizers, which include sulfates and phosphates.
Fertilizing cucumbers with saltpeter
Most often, saltpeter is used in small households, since it is not very convenient to transport it. To fertilize a large field, you will need a huge amount of calcium nitrate, but for home beds you can purchase small packages of 1 kg. Such feeding helps plants to absorb nutrients from the soil, and also increases resistance to various diseases. Thanks to saltpeter, you can grow strong and tasty cucumbers.
Calcium nitrate must be added just before sowing cucumbers. This fertilization will promote rapid seed germination. It is the presence of nitrogen that makes this dressing so useful for cucumbers. At the beginning of growth, this element is simply necessary for plants. Further, fertilizer can be applied throughout the growing season as needed. In this case, the solution is sprayed all over the plant.
Using calcium nitrate for feeding cucumbers, you can achieve the following results:
- the green mass will form quickly and efficiently. This rapid growth is due to the active process of photosynthesis. Also, saltpeter helps to form shoots at the cellular level, participating in strengthening the walls of plants;
- spring top dressing of the soil before sowing helps to activate enzymes in the soil. Thanks to this, the seeds will quickly sprout and begin to grow;
- saltpeter has a good effect on the root system of plants. It helps cucumbers develop immunity to diseases and various fungi;
- such feeding makes plants resistant to changes in temperature and weather conditions;
- saltpeter improves the palatability of cucumbers, and also increases the amount of the harvested crop. Cucumbers have a much longer shelf life.
Foliar dressing of cucumbers with calcium nitrate is carried out every 10 days. The first feeding is done immediately after the appearance of 3 or more leaves on the plants. Stop feeding cucumbers only after the fruiting period begins. To prepare a calcium nitrate fertilizer, you need to mix:
- 5 liters of water;
- 10 grams of calcium nitrate.
Calcium nitrate is stirred until complete dissolution and immediately proceed to spraying the cucumbers. This kind of feeding will prevent root rot. Also, the use of nitrate serves as an excellent protection against slugs and ticks.
Making calcium nitrate yourself
Gardeners know that calcium nitrate is not as widespread as ammonium nitrate. Therefore, some prepare it on their own at home. To do this, you will need to prepare the following components and accessories:
- Ammonium nitrate.
- Slaked lime.
- Aluminum pan.
You will also need a respirator mask and gloves. You cannot prepare the mixture close to the house, as an unpleasant odor will be emitted in the process. So, in the beginning it is necessary to build a structure for a fire from bricks. The bricks should be placed at such a distance that the prepared pan fits there. Further, 0.5 l of water is poured into the container and about 300 g of nitrate is poured. Now the prepared mixture is put on fire and wait until it starts to boil. Then lime must be gradually added to the solution. For such a number of components, you will need about 140 grams of slaked lime. Pour it in very small portions so that the whole process of adding lime stretches for 25 minutes.
The mixture continues to cook until it completely gets rid of the pungent unpleasant odor. Now the fire is extinguished, and the mixture is left to settle until a precipitate of lime appears at the bottom of the container. Thereafter, the top of the mixture is drained and the precipitate formed can be discarded. This solution is calcium nitrate.
Important! It is necessary to dilute the mixture depending on what type of plants should be fed. The amount of water also changes with root application and spraying.
Ammonium nitrate is currently considered one of the cheapest fertilizers. Many gardeners and gardeners simply scatter it on their site even before the snow melts. Of course, this fertilizer is a source of nitrogen necessary for cucumbers, but at the same time, you should be careful when using it as a feed.
Do not spray cucumbers with ammonium nitrate solution. This substance can burn the sprouts, and as a result, the entire crop will die. In order not to harm the plants, fertilizer is applied to the soil to a depth of about 10 cm using a shovel or rake. Often it is brought in during the digging of soil. Thus, nitrogen enters the soil, but will not be able to burn the root system and cucumber leaves.
You can also use ammonium nitrate to water your cucumbers. Thus, the soil is enriched with nitrogen without harming the green mass. Such feeding should be carried out very rarely, especially after the beginning of fruiting and in the autumn.
Storage conditions and contraindications
Warning! Do not use nitrate fertilizers together with straw, peat and sawdust.
Contact with such flammable materials can cause the fertilizer to catch fire. It is also not advised to use organic substances simultaneously with it. In no case should calcium nitrate be added with superphosphate or manure. Remember that too much nitrate can cause nitrate buildup in vegetables and other crops. You should be especially careful when feeding cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkin with ammonium nitrate. These vegetables are more capable of absorbing nitrates than others.
It is necessary to store fertilizer in plastic or paper bags. Remember that this is an explosive substance and should not be near flammable materials. Choose a cool place to store saltpeter. Direct sunlight should not come into contact with the fertilizer. Excessive heating of nitrate can cause an explosion.
As we have seen, saltpeter is a source of nitrogen, which is essential for cucumbers, which has a positive effect on plant growth and productivity. This kind of feeding should be done with great care, as it is a nitrate product. A few weeks before harvesting, the application of nitrate must be stopped. Following these rules, you can get an excellent harvest of cucumbers.