What to do with ashes from woodstove?


Old 10-07-12, 06:44 AM
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Location: Canada
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What to do with ashes from woodstove?

So, over the past couple of years we've managed to generate a couple of bags of ash from our wood stove. In previous years, we've put some bags into our vegetable garden at the recommendation of a neighbour. Since then, someone has told us that we shouldn't be doing this. We do have a flower garden at the front of the house.

Just curious about opinions as to what to do with this stuff?

A little background on our soil. Basically we live on the shore of Lake Huron. I've dug postholes 4' deep and our soil is basically sand all the way down. We've been told that at one point in history, some degenerate that owned our property was short on cash and had someone come in and skim the top 6" of topsoil off our backyard and sold it.

When we started our garden we did the Ph soil test. Basically it said our soil was pretty much inert! Mostly sand. We've added many bags of manure/black earth, etc. and our vegetable garden thrives.

Anyhoo, I'm thinking could I throw the ash in the flower garden?
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Old 10-07-12, 06:54 AM
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What was the reasoning behind the recommendation to NOT dump the ashes in the garden? That's where I've been dumping my ashes for over 20 yrs. My 'soil' is on the other end of the spectrum - mostly pulverized slate rock from repeated plowing

I've also brought in lots of compost and manure to fortify the 'dirt' in my garden. Sorry I don't have any real answers for you but I'm sure some of the others will be along later
Old 10-07-12, 06:59 AM
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Hey Mark, my wife isn't up yet and she will remember the advice we were given. Something about it possibly changing the acidity of the soil or something which in a vegetable garden is supposedly pretty important depending on what you're growing.

She's pretty much the official gardener. I'm the cheap labour (i.e. digging, fence building, etc.)

Ok, so here's what she said. She did an organic gardening course a while back. They said that adding "too much" ash would change the nitrogen level to a point that certain plants wouldn't grow. Adding some is fine, but not garbage cans full which is what we've got. Argh.
Old 10-07-12, 07:33 AM
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Well it is alkaline so it would reduce the acidity of your soil if acid or increase its aklinity if already alkaline. Bottom line it would depend on the PH needed by the vegetables. Your county extension agent might be best to ask.

Of course you could always use it with saved bacon grease to make soap. Gift wrap the soap and give it as Christmas gifts.
Old 10-07-12, 08:40 AM
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I just put mine in the regular garbage pickup.
Old 10-07-12, 11:18 AM
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First, take soil samples to your local Cooperative Extension Service and have them tell you what you need to grow vegetables. Wifey is organic, too (well, her methods are, anyway) and she uses our ashes judiciously where it is needed. Don't just go dumping it out there without regard to the pH. Don't put it near blueberries, azaleas, orany other acid loving plant. Use it but do it on an educated level. Oh, make sure they are cool

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