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What to do with wood ash?

West Somerset, England Eng

With a log burner we often have a bin full of wood ash. We also get a heap under the incinerator used for burning large prunings etc that we can't compost. I know that the ash is a rich source of Potash, so we add a layer to the compost bin on occasion. Two questions in one here. The layer stays there and does not rot down - does this matter? It isn't possible to turn the heap as it is in a large wooden structure - one of a row of three. Secondly, is there another use for all that ash instead of putting it in the compost? Please, what do other people do?



Hi Spritz thanks for recent comment on pond much appreciated,firstly ash tends to clog esp when wet not a big problem other than it might clog your compost and prevent aeration.
Could it not be added little and often to your compost? Do you usually turn your compost? Shouldnt hurt if mixed in with materials rather than in one large go. Think how forest fires - not suggesting you start one - regenerate undergowth.Do you have a pampas grass? Used to set to fire to the dried sheaths , need space but very effective even without this would love the ash as how they are re generated in nature by fire.The new growth impervious to flame.
Lived in a house previosly owned by an elderly lady who emptied all the ash from her coal fires and rayburn on to the garden fantastic soil - she had lovely cottage garden.

10 Apr, 2008


So do you think I should just spread it over the soil and fork it in a bit? And yes, we could add a bit of the ash more frequently to the compost bin. Thanks for the thought.

10 Apr, 2008


Well given it purely from wood burning stove I would-hard to see what
plants would object as would contend with this naturally.Sure someone like Andrewr would know and if way off beam sorry this Not
one of my daft replies.

10 Apr, 2008


Hi Barbara, my suggestion is not to try to add great amounts to your compost, especially if you can't turn it... but a sprinkling is probably all you need... I always just broadcast it on the soil to be amended usually last thing in the need so little to go a long there are very strong leachates if it is in contact with too much moisture so keep it dry and apply a VERY thin layer to your compost. It will stop your compost from cooking because it will kill off some of the beneficials at work breaking down the plant material.

10 Apr, 2008


Second thoughts to consider... wood ash is strongly don't need much at all especially if your soil is high pH. give it a google and you'll find lots more detail about it's usage...much more than I can post here.

11 Apr, 2008


Our soil pH is just under 7, so pretty neutral! There was an offer of a free test at the local Farners' Store - so I had it tested of course! I will google it - thanks for the help so far!

11 Apr, 2008

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