kweb
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Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Hi.
Last yeat i was sprinkling ashes into the garden and it seemed to help. A lot of people had trouble with tomatos last summer around here.
I did not.
I can't say for sure that they did so good because of the ashes but I'm wondering if its a good idea to continue and if its good for most veggie producing plant?
Thanks!

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sweetiepie
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

I have been reading about this too. I have never done it but am thinking about it. I have both wood and coal ashes but I think I would just use the wood ash. I seem to have an abundants of them.

kweb
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Since wood is easy enough to acquire, that's what I use. Have you come across any information about burning treated wood? My common sense tells me that painted/stained wood is not a good idea...but are there other things that would cause harm?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Wood ash is an excellent source of potassium (the K in NPK, one of the major nutrients plants need). As such it can be beneficial for your garden. Personally, I don't put it directly on the garden, but add it to the compost pile; that way it gets mixed in with all the other nutrients, to provide a more complete soil amendment. The caveat is that wood ash is quite alkaline and if used in any quantity will raise your soil pH. That may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your soil. People often "lime" their soil, deliberately to raise the pH. If you need that, then the wood ash will do it for you. If your soil, like mine, is already too alkaline, then you want to be very careful with the wood ash and not use very much.
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sweetiepie
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Thank you, rainbow.

I knew too much in one spot would be bad because that is how I make my lye for my soap. I can't imagine lye being very good for a garden.

I was just reading about garlic because I think mine should be doing something more than just surviving and I found that potassium should be applied after the spring putting on of growth. So maybe I will try mixing some with my 5 year old (at least, probably older) manure pile at just that time.

Since it won't quit snowing, I am using the cook stove, I might try sprinkling some on the garden now because I usually put a layer of manure/compost on before I till it for spring. For me to put a bucket of wood ash on that pile would be like putting a needle in a haystack. It would be lost forever.

Taiji
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Here in AZ our soils are mostly alkaline. I once heard that in general, and I'm sure there are some exceptions, soils east of the Mississippi are acidic, and west of the Mississippi are alkaline. Don't know if that's a good general rule of thumb or not. But out here, we have always heard: don't put wood ashes on your garden.

Sometimes I'm tempted to, for the nutrient value, and since woodstove is my only heat source there is no dearth of wood ashes! Around here, we add gypsum to the soil which supposedly lowers ph. I usually put some on every year, don't know if it helps or not. Gypsum is supposed to help break up a heavy clay soil too, but I don't have that problem, my soil is light and sandy.

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sweetiepie
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

My soil ph tends to be a 7, occasionally 6.5 but more often just a 7.

imafan26
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Most soils in high rainfall areas are on the acidic side and the low rainfall areas are more alkaline.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

6.5 pH is ideal for many vegetables, so you wouldn't want to mess with that too much.

Sweetiepie - sounds like you are living the homestead and maybe off the grid life - making your own soap, cooking on a wood stove. I'd love for you to make a separate thread somewhere to talk more about what you are doing and show some pictures.
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kweb
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

Thanks everyone.
From the sounds of it, I should probably test my soil more to know where my PH levels are. I'm sure the raised beds vary from one another. If they are different should I keep it that way? I should probably adjust the shady and sunny beds PH as to what plants are growing where.
I adjust the city water down when seeding and propagating because it's always 7.
I am worried that when I transplant and water on a larger scale, will the sudden PH rise stunt or cause other problems because I won't be adjusting PH in summer?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

It's a lot harder than you think, to create a "sudden pH rise" (of any significance) in a large volume of soil, which is still connected to the native soil. I wouldn't worry about it. But I agree as a starting point, you do need to know your soil pH.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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sweetiepie
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Re: Fire pit ash, good or bad idea

rainbowgardener wrote:6.5 pH is ideal for many vegetables, so you wouldn't want to mess with that too much.

Sweetiepie - sounds like you are living the homestead and maybe off the grid life - making your own soap, cooking on a wood stove. I'd love for you to make a separate thread somewhere to talk more about what you are doing and show some pictures.
No living off the grid, though we could and it really wouldn't affect us to much. But I kind of like the internet and the perks of electricity.

I do like being self reliant. Though my dad asked me why I wanted to be a "prepper", once and I was a little taken a back because I don't really like that word. Of course I didn't have a good come back at the time and later realized that everything I am doing now, we did at some time in my child hood, the only difference now is I choose too, where back then we had to be frugal. Weird how things get re-worded with time. He never would of considered himself a prepper.

I can try to put a post together, since it won't quit snowing or being yucky out.

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