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Thread: Wood ashes

  1. #1
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    Question Wood ashes

    It seems to me that I recall hearing or reading somewhere that wood ashes are good for a vegetable garden. Is this true? If so, in what way are they good for the garden? Since I just installed a wood furnace in my house I was thinking about spreading the ashes around on my garden.

    What say you?
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  2. #2
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    Smile Like everything, it depends.

    Wood ashes can help neutralize an acid soil to some extent and contain some potash which is needed by plants. If you only using a wood furnace and have a small garden you may generate more than you can use.

  3. #3
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    Well, I would have to look it up, but I think I recall that adding ashes raises the pH, which in this area is already about 9
    I could be wrong about this, though. I'll check and get back to you.

  4. #4
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    Yep, I looked it up and it does raise pH, so do you know approximately what your soil pH is?

  5. #5
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    basically (pun intended) its lye.

    lye is the name commonly used for a strongly alkaline solution. Its a solution of potassium carbonate (potash) prepared by leaching wood ashes with water.

    If your garden PH can benefit from lyme then you can use lye (wood ashes). Or at least thats what I understand.

  6. #6
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    Small amounts only!!!!

  7. #7
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    Default

    To answer some of the questions.

    1. I intend to use the wood furnace as the primary heat in my roughly 2000 sq. ft. home.

    2. My garden is only 30' by 50'.

    3. Last I checked, about 2 years ago, my garden ph was right around 6.0.
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  8. #8
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    Default I think 6 is most likely too low for many plants

    I think you'll see better results if you raise it. Cucumbers will really benefit from this. Different plants have different needs though. May help to know specific needs of your garden plants. Not all may benefit from more alkalinity.

  9. #9
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    Here's a graph of pH vs. nutrient availability. Not all plants resond the same and this is kind of general, but it gives some idea of where things work best.

    www.southeasttexasgardening.info/nutrient.htm

    Pushing your pH up to 6.5 could be beneficial. Wood ashes aren't terribly well buffered, so they tend to have a quick, but relatively short effect.

  10. #10
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    Some ideas. Soil test to determine how much you need and what would be excessive.
    Use excess in compost.
    Use as a barrier around slug-prone areas.

    Wayacoyote
    WayaCoyote

  11. #11
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    I use wood ash on apple trees. It doesn't have the nitrogen that apples need to keep at lower levels.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by carbide View Post
    It seems to me that I recall hearing or reading somewhere that wood ashes are good for a vegetable garden. Is this true?
    Yes. They are excellent for vegetable garden. They replenish needed minerals.

  13. #13
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    One of the best things you can do as a gardener is to have your soil tested. It's not a big deal to do or expensive and most Extension offices can set you up. The lab test beats a home test, at least your first one, because you know it's correct.

    Here in Central Wisconsin, I have an overabundance of potassium and phosphorus, so really only need to add nitrogen and organic material to improve soil texture. Wood ash is ok in moderation, but before you load it on, find out if you need it. We have a wood burner and boiler, so generate a lot of ash too. I hate to waste it, so I also throw some in my compost pile, lawn, prairie, and woods. That way non of the areas overdoses.

    Hope this helps!
    Mabe
    Buy locally, buy only humanely raised animals, eat in season, keep bees!

  14. #14
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    I agree with Mabe. I had mine tested last fall and found that my soil was fine except for nitrogen - so that's all I added this year. I knew all that soil building with compost and manure was doing something right!
    - Ann, a Gardening Beek

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann View Post
    I agree with Mabe. I had mine tested last fall and found that my soil was fine except for nitrogen - so that's all I added this year. I knew all that soil building with compost and manure was doing something right!
    I was talking not about NPK but about 60 essential minerals.

  16. #16
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    All this soil testing is OK I guess, but plants don't know the results of those tests...
    When I grew up in Europe there were 3 families in our house. All were using wood stoves for kooking, year round! Plus wood heat in winter. Had 3 gardens, one for each family. All wood-ashes went in the special cement tank in the ground.
    Leaves in the fall, winter mulch and other refuse was in the spring burnt on the garden and the ashes accumulated in the pit were thrown on and worked in the garden.
    Boy, vegetables grew like you would not believe..?!

    And more: All country is siting on limestone.... So go figure?!

    Regards,
    France

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcelar View Post
    I was talking not about NPK but about 60 essential minerals.
    Would you like to see the soil analysis they did? It wasn't just for NPK. I know enough about gardening and soil to know those are the primary but by no means the only nutrients needed to grow wonderful veggies and flowers.
    - Ann, a Gardening Beek

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann View Post
    Would you like to see the soil analysis they did? It wasn't just for NPK. I know enough about gardening and soil to know those are the primary but by no means the only nutrients needed to grow wonderful veggies and flowers.
    OK Ann, can you please post it so we can see it? I am talking about 60 essential minerals that are needed for humans growth and development.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcelar View Post
    OK Ann, can you please post it so we can see it? I am talking about 60 essential minerals that are needed for humans growth and development.
    Since I'm not growing humans I hardly think it's pertinent.
    - Ann, a Gardening Beek

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