Answer

Wood Ashes

Question

I have a stock pile of wood ashes from my fire place. I've heard these are good for my garden but am unsure how to use them. Can you help me with this?

Answer

Everyone enjoys the warmth of a fire on a cold day. But after you've built a few, the ashes begin to accumulate. So what can you do with them? Well, they're ideal for the garden, if you apply them properly. And hardwood makes some of the best wood ash for the garden.

These ashes contain nutrients at about 1 percent phosphorous, 5 percent potassium and small amounts of other elements that our plants need to bloom more and establish a stronger root system. These can be of great benefit to your garden depending on your type of soil. But before using ashes there are some things that you might find helpful.

First, you should only apply these if your soil pH or acidity factor is less that 7 on a soil test. If you're not sure what the pH of your soil is you should have it tested.

Wood ashes will cause your soil chemistry to change. They'll sweeten the soil. This is great for a lot of vegetables like broccoli and collards, as well as ornamentals such as lilacs and peonies but be careful. Sweet soil can be the kiss of death for many acid loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and Japanese iris.

Wood ashes should not be considered a complete fertilizer. If you want your plants to be nice and green, you'll have to add nitrogen. There's no nitrogen in ashes.

It's recommended that only 10 to 20 pounds of wood ash be applied per 1000 square feet each year. So as you can see, a little bit of wood ash goes a long way.

I like to apply ashes to my vegetable garden in the winter because they should never come in direct contact with seed or the roots of plants. This can cause a salt burn from the potash in the ash. By applying ashes before the planting season begins and working them into the soil you can avoid any risk.

You can also apply wood ashes to your lawn at a rate of about 15 pounds per 1000 square feet. But if your lawn grasses are actively growing make sure the ashes are well watered in to avoid burning the turf.

And for keeping those slugs away, pour your ashes in a ring around your plants. The slugs will not cross it. But when it rains, you'll have to apply them again.

Plants that Respond to Wood Ash:
Ornamentals:
Peonies, Tall Bearded Iris, Lilac, Lavender, Clematis, Columbine, Lupine, Santolina, Rosemary, Baby's Breath, Oriental Poppies, Daffodils.

Vegetables/Fruit:
Apples, most root crops, Collard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage.

Share this articlePrint this article
Related articlesSave this article in your favorites

Comments

poultry problems

by dotti on September 15, 2013 02:27
I want to raise chickens and ducks but I don\'t have a coop. I live on 40 acre farm in ND. I am deciding between 6+ breeds of ducks and chickens but cant decide they\'re all pretty good egg layers and docile. I want pure breeds and have to have to have them all. What should I do? Where should I order them? Please help.

Virginia Creeper

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:41
Just another thought... the VC and the BK in my previous post are also nearly identical.

Targeting Just the Weed

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:39
If you want to use the synthetic weed killer close to good plants, try making a bottomless box out of an old cardboard one. Mark the outside of the box as such before you start spraying. Then place the box over the offending plant and spray... just it. Trick is to match the size of the box to the size of the weed you want to kill. But boxes are easy to come by, so you can make more than one. Had to do this to target some Bush Killer that came too close in my yard, and it did protect. Getting rid of the BK, however... well... :(

Dogwood tree

by gardenman18 on July 20, 2013 04:06
I want to learn how to plant a dogwood tree right way.

Clay Ground

by jackson.1943@yahoo.com on February 3, 2013 09:18
Will Roses do good in very bad clay ground?

Theme music

by betsi.vesser on October 13, 2012 09:15
I love this piece of music! It is so calming and just right for all those who love gardens. It actually describes my 94 year old mom who still likes to get out and work around in her garden! Thank you for giving us this lovely piece (peace) of music on each show.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.