Newly Registered
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:42 pm
Location: Northeast Minnesota

what to do with ash from wood stove

hi follks, this is my first post. this looks like good place to learn. thanks to the people who take the time to share their wisdom and experience.

i am wondering if there is something that i could do with all of the ash that i produce. would it contribute to a compost pile in the spring or could it be spread onto the surface of my garden now? i am burning birch, not sure if that makes a difference or not.


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Well, you could send it to me...but the logistics might get a little weird. :)

I use small amounts of ash in my compost pile. I've never had enough ash to consider using it in the ground, but I'm sure others here have done so--just keep that stuff around! Someone will have experience to relate very soon, no doubt.

(Wishing that *I* had a fireplace...)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Cool Member
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:15 pm

Wood ash is alkaline. If your soil is acidic and you wish to modify it, ash helps. It is high in potash, so if your soil is low in potash, go for it. If it is high, don't put it on your compost pile. There usually is a bit of phosphorus in ash, but look at the pH first.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 728
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:15 am
Location: Ventura County, CA, Sunset 23

I can't do much with my ash

I don't believe there is too much nutrition in ash. The soil around here is pretty alkaline as is so I digest slowly in my compost as opposed to adding it to anything. I've read composting will mitigate the pH effects.

More and more my compost is a bio-remediation project than anything else.

User avatar
Posts: 28242
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Hardwood ash is supposed to be good to spread around the base of stone-fruit trees (peaches, cherries, plums, almonds, etc.) as well as pears (? I think) to deter borers.

This isn't gardening, but I remember you can make soap from wood ash (lye) and vegetable oil. There are recipes on line. If you decide to do this, pay attention to the warnings as lye is caustic.

Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:03 am

Birch and Beech ash are good for acidic soil. Moderation is the key, I use one bucket for around a hundred square meters. The affects are short lived but noticeable. A winter application helps grass green up well. It also has some affect on Moss, I don't really know if it's the grass getting more vigorous or the Moss less so.
My pump (ground water) is acidic so this is a constant problem for me, the ash helps. Avoiding Rhododendrons and other acid loving plants is advisable.
I mix in the ash with my compost, but the real winner is the charcoal that is left in my oven, this seems to work wonders on my home made potting mix.

Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:24 pm
Location: Oz

I put all of the ash from our fire into my compost heap.
Doesn't seem to hurt anything but I don't know if it does any good (except add bulk.).

The missus sometimes puts some around her roses because we read somewhere it's good for them.
I'm so unlucky I couldn't win a kick in a street fight.

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