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Using wood ash

Post in 'The Green Room' started by AndyD1480, Jan 29, 2008.

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  1. AndyD1480

    AndyD1480 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Vernon, CT
    So this past summer I bought a new house and in January we got a wood stove. Always had one growing up and probably got too used to having it toasty all winter long! But I've been trying to do things a little more "green." And not in that, buy tons of stuff that some marketing company tells me is "green." So far I've been growing vegetables in a garden, composting my waste (including kitchen scraps, leaves, etc). I figure any time we can reduce the amount that has to be picked up and taken somewhere else or brought in, then we're saving burning lots of fuel to do it!

    But I was wondering what people do with all their wood ash. Seems silly to bag it and send it all to the dump. Right now I have a huge metal trash can on a non-combustible pad outside. Each morning I take ash pan outside and dump it in there. I figure by spring I'll have a full can. My fiance loves flowers and between the veggy gardens and the flower beds and maple trees all over the yard we've got things to add them to. But how much? Do we add it to compost then add to the bed or directly till it in?

    Just wondering what people do with it and if there's anything else environmentally friendly you guys do at home.

    Thanks,
    Andy

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  2. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    Richmond, Va
    Hey Andy,

    I'm an avid gardner myself, and had the same questions as you do. I think the wood ash may be good for certain plants, in small amounts. I went over to the GardenWeb forums and searched around in their soil/compost forums. It seems that some people say no to putting into your compost, some say go ahead. I've been putting some in mine, I just think a little moderation is key. The good thing is that my insert burns so effeciently that I don't have that many ashes left over! Good luck and let me know what you find out.
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,875
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    During the winter I spread it on the sidewalk and stairs for traction. I try to use as little salt as possible.

    In spring, I spread the rest of my ash on the lawn and then turn the sprinkler on. The way I figure it is fertilizing the lawn. And it's free.

    Matt
  4. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
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    1,071
    Loc:
    Silicon Valley
    I put my ash on my vegetable beds in the winter. Just lay it on top and let the rain work. What doesn't get soaked into the soil gets turned in come spring. I get lots of veggies and never use fertilizer (the ash sitting on top of the soil deters weeds too).
  5. SteveJ

    SteveJ Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
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    Loc:
    CO 9000ft
  6. loneeagle15

    loneeagle15 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
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    Loc:
    Montana
    According to Paul James the gardening guy he says 5# per 1000sq. feet is the proper application rate for lawns and gardens
  7. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    near Milwaukee, WI
    We have slightly acidic soil here, so it is helpful to spread it around lightly. I have 5 acres so never too much to find a spot for. In the winter, though, especially this cold icy winter, I spread it on our gravel driveway. I put it on the icy spots, for instance in the place where there was smooth slippery ice and I fell on my butt yesterday. I was wearing my best hiking boots and trying to walk carefully, but to no avail. Anyway, I spread ash on one part of the ice but not another, to test the effect. It had seemed really useful in the past but I thought a scientific test would be good. Today the part where I put ashes is worn down and and walk on, the other part was still smooth ice. So I spread most of the remaining ash on the icy spots. May wreak some havoc with my nearby plants in the spring, but I apply it VERY thinly so I think it won't be a problem. I never put salt on my driveway since it kills plants and I am quite the gardener.
  8. Superlite

    Superlite New Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    I put it in with my compost pile, if I have too much I keep it next to the compost and til it in with my garden in the spring.
    just my .02
  9. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Agree, I store it up for the driveway (we have about 1200' at a 10-15% grade). It may be more effective than salt. If I don't need it for the driveway, it will go on the wife's garden.

    Ken
  10. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

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    Mar 5, 2008
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    Loc:
    bolton england
    We have a deep bed system of crop rotation using 5 beds and the woodash is always used for the peas and beans
  11. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
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    Loc:
    Southern Maine
    I have a pellet stove so not much ash....but when I did burn wood....and also my neighbor still burns wood and she gives me her ash. I put mine into the compost bin and have been doing it for years....I get great compost out of it. I have a 3 bin compost I built so it works nicely for turning the raw compost easily.
  12. Telco

    Telco New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Messages:
    164
    Loc:
    Okiehomey
    Wood ash spread on the yard will also keep down ticks in the yard, back when I had a yard large enough to have ticks. I didn't have a wood burning fireplace, when I cook on the grill I use a wood/charcoal mix.
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