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And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

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And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  mollyhespra on 9/25/2012, 11:07 pm

...how much wood ash is too much wood ash in the a) compost pile and b) as top dressing during the winter over MM?

During a "real" winter we can burn about 3-4 cords, so you can imagine that's a lot of wood ash. Additionally, when we have any chicken bones left over from our cooking we burn them in the woodstove, so I suppose you could say we have calcium-rich wood ash.

We usually just dump some ash in the compost pile, over the flower beds, on the grass, etc. and don't worry about it too much, but now that we've set up the SFG boxes in preparation for next Spring, we don't want to over-ash them, if you will. I thought I remember reading somewhere that there's no such thing as over-doing it with wood ash, but I'd feel better getting some feeback specifically.

So, is there such a thing as too much ash? thanks for the input!



Last edited by camprn on 9/27/2012, 4:52 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Expanded thread title.)
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Re: And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  camprn on 9/26/2012, 7:03 am

Oh, there is defiantly a possibility of overdoing wood ash in the garden. It is quite quick to change pH, so my best advice is a little goes a long way and to be absolutely sure there is not a tremendous upset of the acid base balance, the soil/ growing medium should be tested before any application.That being said, I usually add about a soupcan of ashes to a 4x4 garden in the spring before I turn it over. If I start seeing symptoms of poor pH balance I will consider adding some during the growing season, but I always say a prayer when I do it.

My lilacs LOVE the wood ash.

Otherwise, the ash gets dumped in a pile out back.

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Re: And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  mollyhespra on 9/26/2012, 11:55 am

So you only use a soupcan's worth per 4x4? Wow, I was thinking of dumping a whole ash bin or two into each 4x4--can you tell I'm from Florida originally--but in all seriousness, the wild blackberries on the side of the house seem to really like the wood ash, which is where most of it gets dumped by default being closest to the door closest to the woodstove. That being said, we have two HUGE pine trees back there & the soil is probably really acidic to start, so that would explain why the blackberries are diggin' the ash.

Silly me. dangit

I'm glad I asked the question. I guess the thing to do is make my MM and then test the pH and then decide to add or not add the ash. Thanks, CampRN! :tiphat:
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Re: And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  No_Such_Reality on 9/27/2012, 2:46 pm

interesting, wood ash fertilizer is USA Process Patent #1.
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/wood-ash-can-be-useful-yard-if-used-caution

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Re: And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  camprn on 9/27/2012, 4:51 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:interesting, wood ash fertilizer is USA Process Patent #1.
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/wood-ash-can-be-useful-yard-if-used-caution
Nice write up! Thanks for posting!!! cheers cheers

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Re: And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  Pollinator on 9/27/2012, 5:42 pm

@mollyhespra wrote:

So, is there such a thing as too much ash?


There's only one way to tell - and that is to test for pH. In our southeastern acid soils, a Clemson agent told me that they only time they ever see alkaline soil is when someone uses too much wood ash.

Mel's mix would tend toward acid from the peat, but it might be pushed back toward neutral by some composts. It's hard to generalize - definitive answers can only be made with a pH test.

If your pH gets above 7, you are going to start having troubles growing many of the common veggies.

Wood ash does add mineral fertility, as well as neutralize acidity, so it's usually a good thing on acid soils. But be sure to steer clear of burning any wood that's been painted (lead contamination possible) and/or pressure treated.
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Re: And speaking of woodstoves... wood ash in the garden

Post  landarch on 9/28/2012, 12:30 am

I mix hardwood ash directly into squares to receive carrots and beets...not the entire SFG...maybe about 1/2 handful.
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