Jray8
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Ash question

So I inderstand wood ash has lots of good stuff for the garden but my question is this. Is ash ready to use or does it need to compost first? Can I just mix it with my ready to use compost or soil?
My in laws heat their home with wood so i have a lot of ash hanging around.
Jim
Arnold, Maryland
Complete newbie with a black thumb. I can kill fake plants. :shock:

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Ash question

I put wood ash into the compost pile so it gets composted with all the other stuff and mixed together.

Wood ash has potassium and other nutrients, but it is also quite alkaline. Some people "lime" their gardens to raise the pH (make it more alkaline). If your garden needs that the wood ash would be helpful. If like mine, your soil is already alkaline, you need to be very careful with adding wood ash and not over do it.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Ash question

You definitely need to know your pH before adding ash to soil. The compost pile will absorb and neutralize a small amount (say, a pint per cubic yard of compostables, not a bucket full).

I happen to have land with acidic clay that is low in P and K which are both found in the ash. I'm planning to spread it very thinly over a large area every year, as soon as I figure out an efficient way to do that.
Tox

toxcrusadr
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Re: Ash question

PS I am glad you ashed the question. :-()
Tox

Jray8
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Re: Ash question

thanks tox, i was afraid of looking like an ash. :>
toxcrusadr wrote:PS I am glad you ashed the question. :-()
Jim
Arnold, Maryland
Complete newbie with a black thumb. I can kill fake plants. :shock:

toxcrusadr
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Re: Ash question

Ugh, it's gettin' deep in here. :wink:
Tox

Northern-Gardener
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Re: Ash question

As it happens we heat with wood pellets too as well as corn. I made the mistake of putting the mix of ash all around my zucchini one year and it killed the entire crop. I think I would rather dump it around the border where weeds come in, perhaps it will kill them? :) I hadn't thought of using it for composting, so I will look at the ph level first before doing that....thanks for the info!

toxcrusadr
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Re: Ash question

If you apply it during the off season it will leach away. Spread it thinly in the fall and winter, by spring the alkali will have leached out. As long as your soil isn't already alkaline, you can spread it over your entire property. I was thinking of putting 1/8" per year on my entire lawn, which would be more than I actually can generate.
Tox

tracydr
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Re: Ash question

I have extremely acidic soil. How thinly would I need to apply ash? We have been burning a bunch of branches because we bought 21 wooded acres that had been sorely neglected.

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applestar
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Re: Ash question

It seems to me you would not want to apply any more than a thin dusting if you don't want to kill what is already growing. You could probably get away with more for prepping an empty field or garden bed.

I wonder if you could "dilute" by mixing a small amount in water -- but keeping in mind that water percolated through ash is how they make LYE <-- VERY CAUSTIC.

In one of Emilia Hazelip videos they showed sprinkling ash using tea strainer or powdered sugar shaker in the bottom of the trench for planting peas. If I remember correctly, trench, manure, sprinkling of ash, then cover with inch of soil, THEN sow peas, then cover the seeds with soil and tamp down.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Ash question

Of course it makes lye in the soil pore water as soon as it makes contact. The critical issues are the time of year and concentration and where it's located. Obviously putting too much around plants will raise the pH of the soil moisture temporarily to a very high level. A slug of it percolates through the root zone until it's neutralized and the soil reaches equilibrium. If the same amount was tilled into the soil in spring before planting, it would most likely be diluted out and would change the overall soil pH very little in any one spot.

The off season application is how many people have done it. That allows time for things to re-equilibrate while nothing is trying to grow there.
Tox

greenstubbs
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Re: Ash question


toxcrusadr
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Re: Ash question

Thanks Green!
Tox

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