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Pellet stove ash...Is it good for gardens?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Val, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Val

    Val New Member

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    I was trying to do something useful with my pellet stove ash. After the ash cooled outside in a covered metal can, I would put it in a composting mulcher. It was a mulcher that flips around. I also would put grass clippings in the mulcher during summer. (Not much food waste because I try not to throw food out)
    So the mix turns to "soil" within the year and I put some in my very small garden (basically tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers). Now I ask myself if I am doing more harm than good? I live in a city...I am a terrible gardener as it is...but I wonder if pellet ash is good for some plants, bad for others or good/bad in general?

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  2. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Yes, if your soil is acidic, it will neutralize. Ash is very good for flower gardens and can often get you that very vibrant color
  3. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

  4. livefreeordie

    livefreeordie Member

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    What if you don't have an acid problem? is there any harm spreading it on my lawn? Thanks
  5. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    A 12 step program helped my acid problem... :p
    P38X2 and subsailor like this.
  6. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You can get your soil tested, wood ash is a liming agent and in the northeast a lot of soil is slightly acidic.

    Here, the ash goes into my compost bins, working on filling bin number 5 for this year. The compost gets well mixed into the soil in the raised vegetable beds and into the flower gardens. We make and use a lot of compost, still building up the soil.
  7. CygnusX1

    CygnusX1 Feeling the Heat

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    If you till it into your flower gardens, you'll see a huge difference in the size and color of the flowers. Like swwilliamson posted, you will see much more vibrant colors. It also works great for tomatoes as well.
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Since most pellets are made from hardwood (mostly), it should be fine. Softwood ashes are not recommended for soil amendment, though I don't know exactly why. Wood ashes (compared to horticultural lime) also contain goodies like magnesium, phosphorous and no doubt other good stuff that I don't even know about. I make a lot of compost, but I don't usually put ashes in it. It's been my experience that they tend to retard the decomposition. I do put my ashes in a pile behind my compost piles and use it as needed in the garden. It's also good for filling gopher holes in the lawn, etc.
  9. ship_reck

    ship_reck Member

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    jtakeman and save$ like this.
  10. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    Ive also heard Voles dont like much ash in the soil, for some reason
    kenstogie likes this.
  11. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    Not if it is from Oakies! I still have ash in some places from WINTER 2011 from Oakies ~ don't know what they put in their pellets :eek:
  12. exoilburner

    exoilburner Feeling the Heat

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    My lawn likes it if it is spread out evenly. I toss it into the air with a shovel so it doesn't land in clumps.

    Tried a drop spreader but the ash was like sandpaper to the mechanism. And the spreader teeth were worn pretty bad after a few uses too.
  13. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Nope....it's good for the lawn.
  14. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    You know, I think this subject has come up in other threads at least twice yearly, but this time we got some new pointers. Very good, useful.. Goes to show, even questions asked repeatedly can give new/additional information.
    Thanks
  15. Normande

    Normande New Member

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    Ash is caustic( lye) as the potash is in soda form, but it's great fertilizer.
  16. Gardenowner

    Gardenowner New Member

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    Having used a pellet stoves for 5 years now, I've found that using the ash from stove has worked wonders on my gardens.

    I've done both direct dropping under the crab apple tree and around the Rose of Sharon bushes, as well as, mixing with garden mulching. Both work well. I will say though that the direct drop method should be done with less than a gallon of ash every month. Also, if possible rake it into the soil, but that is kind of hard here in New England during the frozen winter months. During those periods I've found putting it on top of the snow/ice helps slow the release down into the soil during melting.

    I don't use the ash for my pine and fir trees.
  17. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Member

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    When I was a kid, Mom and Dad would dump ashes from our wood stove under an apple tree we were fond of. To our disappointment, the fruit began losing its delicious tartness. It took a number of years for the flavor to return.
    Gardenowner likes this.
  18. Mr. Spock

    Mr. Spock Minister of Fire

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    Using burnt pellets to help plant life. No wonder it's green energy.
  19. fmsm

    fmsm Minister of Fire

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    I have been spreading my ash on my lawn for years, it loves it! Greens it up fast and deep!
  20. SXIPro

    SXIPro Feeling the Heat

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    I have a neighbor that uses the ashes to fill in the potholes in his driveway. Then of course his kids walk through it and drag it thru every house they enter. Ask me how I know. :mad:
  21. kenstogie

    kenstogie Feeling the Heat

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    I didn't know this. I had/have voles (somewhat controlled) and will try this. Here's some food for thought on Voles...

    "Females produce 4 - 6 young after a gestation period of 18 - 20 days. Young voles are born in a nest of dry grass, usually hidden in a thick grassy tussock. Males can breed at 40 days of age, females at 28 days"

    Do the math if you like they are prolific buggers.
  22. Gardenowner

    Gardenowner New Member

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    Hi, when I was a kid we did the ash dumping into the driveway, my father always said 'No place else, because this is coal ash'. Also, since my current tree is a crab apple, it's just a ordimental tree not for eating.
  23. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard Member

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    I imagine it shouldn't be a problem for the crab. I ran across an interesting website that describes the general elemental content of wood ash -- according to the U of Maine it's in the ballpark of 20% calcium, less than 2% phosphorous and 4% potassium -- pretty mild stuff compared to the average 10-10-10 (nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium) fertilizer. Here's the link: http://umaine.edu/publications/2279e/

    The calcium can drive up ph, which might be of concern if the soil is already alkaline like mine is here in eastern Wisconsin. We have the Niagara Escarpment nearby, which is a vast storehouse of calcium already.

    The Maine site also reports a fairly large copper and chromium content in the ash sample they analyzed, which is something else to keep in mind. Of course, I'm sure there's a lot of variation in ash from different wood sources. But like I said, it's an interesting site.
  24. boosted3g

    boosted3g Feeling the Heat

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    If you like your hydrangeas blue keep it away from them. My soil is neutral but most my plants like it on the acidic side so the only thing i add is coffee grounds. It wont hurt anything unless you have plants that like acidic soil. Some plants loose the ability to absorb nutriants if the soil is not acidic enough but none of those plants i can think of is in a vegtable garden. Your lawn wont care less with a little bit of ash on it.
  25. mikesj

    mikesj Member

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    Mine either goes into the compost or on my driveway for traction and to help the ice melt. Being black, it does an ok job of absorbing the suns rays.

    If you add it to your composter, be sure the ash is completely cooled. My composter is just four pallets wired together. A couple of years ago I cleaned my stove and was sure it was completely cool. You can guess what happened next. My compost bin cant be seen from my house, so I was quite surprised a week or two later when I took something out and one side of one of the pallets was charred.

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