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Wood stove ash OK to mix in compost???

Post in 'The Green Room' started by North of 60, Apr 19, 2008.

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  1. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    In the next few weeks our compost will be thawed again and active/generating its own heat. My wood ash is mainly pine and
    poplar. Is it good to mix wood ash or would it be to acidic. Im only home on weekends for awhile so thought of a few projects
    to do around the house while hopefully spring is on its way. Any comments or experience appreciated.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Just the opposite, wood ash is basic. As long as the ash is only from wood, it's a fine soil amendment.
  3. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Last year I mixed ash from the GW with my clay soil for various vegetable containers. To the best of my memory, NONE of them grew. For what little you save, I would suggest not mixing. Everyone swears they never burn anything 'bad' in their hydronic unit, but sometimes we 'forget'.
  4. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I use a little for the potash purpose for our compost. I also spread ours on our gardens. Like said it is the opposite. It takes about 2 to 2.5 times the woodash to equal the lime when it comes to PH. We have clay soil, so I use it all the time on the gardens.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Right. Wood ash will not make the ground acidic.

    I too would not add ash to any vegetable containers but do always put it on the garden before tilling. If you do this, be sure to spread it good. Then you will have no problems.
  6. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    My neighbour has done it for 20 years. He told me just don't put too much in.
    Too much of anything is bad right?
  7. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like I will go ahead. Thanx for the replies guys. :cheese:
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have been applying "butt dust" to my large lawn this year. It is a 4-4-1 fertilizer that is actually straight burnt and pelletized sludge from our city wastewater treatment plant. They test it for all the varios levels of this or that to assure it qualifies as Class A or whatever and it is free. Fertilizer costs have gone up by 3x or more lately so free is good. Anyway, the last number is low so I need potash which I hope can be provided by the wood ash which I always spread around the lawn with no ill effects so far.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've found that wood ash put into a compost bin or pile tends to retard the heating/composting process. Hardwood ash is a fine soil amendment, but I don't think it helps the compost pile. I spread the ashes directly on the soil with aged compost, then turn the whole works under and the beginning or end of each season, depending on my time and energy resources.
  10. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Erics right, spread it where you need it and a little goes a long way. Wood ash acts the same as lime but with other great minerals included. Just keep it away from acid loving plants like Rhodies etc. This is why you do not add to compost. Then you can only use the compost on plants that need lime; not a good way to go.
  11. Fredman

    Fredman New Member

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    Make sure it is hardwood ash like maple not pine, cedar or other softwoods.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Why?
  13. Fredman

    Fredman New Member

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    I will have to ask my neighbor to find out. He stressed to me only maple ashes and when I find out I will resond.
  14. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Softwood evergreens grow well in acid soil so if you just used evergreen compost it would be best on other evergreens, rhodies, azalias and acid loving plants. If you mixed it with hardwood compost and tested the mix you could tell if it needed lime to bring it up to neutral 7. Hardwood ash contains up to 70% calcium carbonate, as well as potassium. phosphorus and as I mentioned a great many trace elements. It's fast acting lime and more is not better.. Usually applications are 25#or less / 1000sq.ft. and apply every two or three years. Testing soil yearly makes good sense. Peat moss and elemental sulfur will lower ph, just the opposite of lime, again test needed.
    Ed
  15. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    This guy talks like he knows his sheetz. . . .Dude?!! You know yer sheetz?
  16. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Old tired Master gardener. But would you buy a used car from me. ;-)
    Ed
  17. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I'm TRYING to do my bit for the economy by NOT buying ANYTHING, thus hoping to not have to have the rest of you bail me out. So no offense, but NO, I wouldn't buy a used car from ya.

    But on to more pressing matters . . . why do my tomato plants (about 18" tall as we speak) do fine in potting soil in coffee cans (Two to a can) but my cucumbers all seem to die after turning yellow? I read some 4-page explanation on some website and I think I know less now than I did before. Since there are no drain holes and the cans are plastic, I though I was over watering. I put some out in the garden last night (now the frost and hail will come) and when I removed them from the cans, the soil seemed dry to me.
  18. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Next time try using peat pots for cukes. One to a pot, keep soil moist, little fertilizer and keep under lights. When ready to plant you must put them out for a few hours each day, increasing the time till finally planting. We no longer fool with cukes in the house. We plant picklers outside a week or two after final frost, usually first or second week in June when soil temps are up. Black plastic will help raise temps before and after planting. Cukes need warm soil or they either just sit and not grow or the bugs get to them. Try another planting a few weeks after so when the first batch starts to yellow late in the season another will be ready to pick. The more you pick, the more you get. Good luck.
    Ed
  19. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    For the original questioner, I second the statement that you should spread the ash where you want to add the calcium and other nutrients. Keep in mind that it is VERY basic and too much is really bad. Sprinkle ash around the yard and garden. Don't add to the compost, since the ash is already broken down fine and it won't help to compost it, and many of the nutrients will leach out before the compost is done cooking.

    About planting things in the house, you NEED drainholes, or the risk of drowning your plants is high. As for cucumbers, they are very finicky about being hardened off right. I just plant the seeds in my garden. As for putting peat moss in anything, I have never seen the need for that. Why destroy a peat bog when you can use compost or shredded leaves or so many other free items in its place? I mix my clay soil, dried horse manure, and compost for my potting soil, and the plants love it!
  20. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Yeah, I'm beginning to think my hardening off is a lil bit skimpy for the cukes. I began planting them in paper pots starting in February (I think). As time went on I transplanted to plastic, and kept restarting more in paper. It seems the ones in paper - which stay indoors - don't yellow, though they seem to sop growing, probably due to the size of the pot. When I acclimate them to the outdoors, I generally move them and peppers and tomatoes out for longer periods for about three days, then I leave them out all day until about two weeks ago when I felt I could leave them out overnight.

    Damn economy . . . I was just about to build a solar greenhouse . . .
  21. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    I've read that a lot of that free 'sludge fertilizer' is tested only for biological threats (ie bacteria & viruses), not for chemical waste. Some of this free fertilizer has toxic levels of industrial waste.

    do a web search Yahoo News. It was all over the news about 2 months ago.
  22. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    How big are the cuke plants, Jimbo? In any event, it's too early to put them out. They like heat. Tomatoes are basically weeds, so they're a lot easier to grow, IME. And cukes don't like it particularly wet, so overwatering might be an issue despite the apparent condition of the soil. You can over fert, under fert, overwater, underwater, etc. etc. and wind up with yellow leaves. Are they root bound?
  23. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have added hardwood ash to my compost (sometimes lots!) for years with no ill effect on the composting process. As long as it's not "finished" compost, the ultimate pH of the finished product will be very little effected. One of the magic things about composting- the pH ends up close to 7 when finished. Remember that it goes through a stage where the pH drops fairly dramatically- hardwood ash would be neutralized.

    Normally, however- I spread ash thin on the lawn and gardens, or save it for pottery glazes.
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