Chemistry » Chemistry and the Real World » Alternative Sources Of Fertilizers





Potash is the common name for various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in the water-soluble form. The name is derived from pot ash, which was the main method of manufacturing potassium salts before the industrial era. Ashes from a fire were soaked in a pot of water after which the water was filtered out. The water, containing the leached potassium salts, was then evaporated to obtain a white powder known as potash.

Potash is a rich source of potassium and could contain potassium carbonate (\(\text{K}_{2}\text{CO}_{3}\)), potassium chloride (\(\text{KCl}\)), potassium sulfate (\(\text{K}_{2}\text{SO}_{4}\)) or potassium nitrate (\(\text{KNO}_{3}\)). Up to the 19th century potash was manufactured in asheries using wood ashes, but these declined in the late 19th century when large-scale production of potash from mineral salts was established in Germany.

Optional Activity: Alternative sources of fertilizers

  1. Work on your own to summarise one of the sections on the alternative fertilizer sources. Remember to summarise in your own words.

  2. Find all the other learners in your class who have summarised the same topic as you and form a group. Share with your group members what you have summarised.

  3. As a group, prepare \(\text{3}\)\(\text{4}\) sentences on your alternative source of fertilizer. Share your information with the class in \(\text{1}\)\(\text{2}\) minutes in a debate format.

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