While, where I live, we are slowly (very slowly) heading out of Winter towards Summer, other parts of the world are getting ready to settle in for the colder temperatures.
With the colder temperatures, comes the need for heating and soon fires will be burning to keep everyone warm.
There was once a time when I viewed firewood as a totally used up resource, once it had burnt up in our fireplace.
Then I started gardening and with that, learning all the ways I could grow an organic, edible garden.
One of the things I learnt about along the way was the use of fertilizers, and how to create our own organic fertilisers.
Potash is one fertiliser that is well regarded as it helps to regulate moisture levels and helps with the transport of foods in the plant.
There is pretty decent industry around just producing Potash, but you don’t have to go down the route of investing in the commercial production by buying bags of this useful product at the garden store. If you are burning a wood fire at home, you have access to your own source of free Potash.
Because wood ash is created from by plant material, it contains many of the trace elements important to soil condition and healthy plant growth, including approximately 6% of organic Potash.
Although the percentage of Potash is low, if you regularly empty your fire box of ash, you will soon be applying a decent amount of Potash onto your garden over time.
Wood ash also contains a considerable amount of Lime, which is useful for raising the pH levels of your soil, and aiding break down rates in your compost pile.
Adding your wood ash to your compost pile also helps you to use more wood ash than you might be able to safely use in the garden. It is possible to have too much of a good thing and you need to be careful about how much wood ash you apply to your plants and lawn.
Using Wood Ash As Fertilizer
- Use your wood ash dry, as once it is wet, the nutrients are washed away.
- Make sure you are only burning dry, untreated wood before using the wood ash.
- Hardwoods yield more ash, and therefore a higher percentage of nutrients than soft woods.
- Do not use ash from burning paper, cardboard or any treated woods, due to the toxins present in the treatments of these products.
- Be sure to let the ash cool completely before emptying out the wood box, and applying the ash to your garden.
- Wood ash is great spread under trees and shurbs, and most other plants except acid loving plants like Blueberries.
- Also avoid using wood ash on Potato patches as this can encourage Potato scab.
- Sprinkle layers of wood ash between compost pile layers to neutralise the heap, improving decomposition and adding nutrients.
Once you realise wood ash is useful in the garden, cleaning out the fire box doesn’t seem such a chore any more. In fact, if you’re anything like me, it’s more like harvesting precious resources that will help create even more amazing fruits and vegetables.