The wood ash that remains after burning logs or pellets is an excellent fertilizer. Using wood ashes in the garden must be handled very carefully; otherwise, the effects will be opposite to the desired ones.
All of us who heat our houses with firewood or wood pellets must regularly remove ash from the fireplaces. During the heating season, a lot of it accumulates, and many people wonder where to go with it. There are two possibilities. Cooled and placed in a bag that is glued together, it can be placed in a container for mixed waste. Ashes do not belong in the container for organic waste.
Another option is to use ash in the garden. It can be added to beds or raised beds where vegetables grow, as well as to flower beds and fruit trees, and even the lawn will be grateful for it.
But here, we have to follow some rules. The amount must be precisely measured, and we also have to know the exceptions among plants that do not like wood ash at all. It should also be emphasized that only ash from wood that has not been industrially processed, varnished, or painted is suitable for the garden. Even ash, which is the residue of burning some other waste, is not suitable for spreading in the garden.
Ash Is a Nutritious Fertilizer That Neutralizes Acidic Soil
Ash contains important elements necessary for the quality growth of plants, flowers, and fruits. Among them, the most important is potassium, which is about 10 to 15 percent in the ash; calcium, which can be up to 30 percent; and about two percent phosphorus. Nitrogen, which is otherwise crucial for plant growth, is not present in ash, as it is consumed during burning. Due to the high calcium content, ash reacts with alkaline, which lowers the pH value in the soil, or in other words, reduces the soil’s acidity and somewhat neutralizes it. If the garden soil is sandy, i.e., alkaline, using ash is not the best solution.
Sprinkle the Vegetable and Ornamental Garden With Ash, but Some Plants Hate It, so Using Wood Ashes in the Garden Must Be Handled Very Carefully
Ashes can be sprinkled on the beds on which cruciferous vegetables will grow, i.e., cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli, as these vegetables need a lot of potassium. Potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic will also grow well in beds enriched with wood ash. Large consumers of potassium are also fruiting vegetables, which include tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, and squash. Decorative flower beds can be sprinkled with wood ash, especially where roses and other ornamental plants grow. It can also be added to fruit trees and shrubs, and vines. But beware! Plants that thrive in acidic soil will not be happy with wood ash. Therefore, we do not add it to hydrangeas, azaleas, or rhododendrons. We do not add it to American blueberries, either. Ashes can also be scattered on the lawn, especially where moss grows, which is an indicator of acidic soil. If we want to get rid of it or at least limit its growth, we sprinkle the ground with ash. There is another place in the garden where we can add ashes. This is compost or a compost pile.
Knowing How Much Wood Ashes in the Garden Is Enough Is Essential
When using ash in the garden, it is important when to sprinkle it and how much. In order to use the ash as efficiently as possible and at the right time, it is a good idea to store it during the heating season. But by no means do we scatter it all over the garden every time we clean the fireplace.
Above all, we have to be very precise with the amount because too much ash can stop the growth of plants, and in the case of tomatoes, for example, it prevents the fruits from ripening. With an excessive amount, we achieve the exact opposite effect from the desired one.
Too much potassium prevents the availability of nitrogen, which plants absolutely need for growth. The availability of phosphorus will also be limited. Too much calcium inhibits the availability of potassium and phosphorus. Therefore, sticking to the recommended amounts is good, depending on whether the beds are already fertilized.
Up to 1-Kilogram Wood Ashes in the Garden per 10 Square Meters
On beds that are not fertilized, for example, those where onions will grow, one kilogram per 10 square meters of surface can be added. Only 0.5 kilograms per 10 square meters are added to the beds fertilized with manure in the fall, and 0.75 kilograms to the beds fertilized with compost in the spring.
If wood ash has been regularly added to the compost throughout the year, the beds to be fertilized with this compost should not be sprinkled with ash.
Experts recommend weighing the appropriate amount of ash based on the area of the bed before spreading. And what’s more, we only add ash to the beds once a year.
Ashes in the Garden
in Winter; We Add Ashes to the Compost Later in the Year
We sprinkle wood ash in December if the ground is covered with snow and in January and February. If we sprinkle it on the snow, it will also be easier to spread it evenly over the surface since we can clearly see where it falls. If it is sprinkled on a surface that has not been covered by snow, it is necessary to be all the more careful that it is distributed as evenly as possible. Ash is incorporated into the soil with a hoe or rake in the spring before sowing and planting.
As a rule, ash is added to the compost during the period of mowing the grass. If we pile fresh grass, it is good to sprinkle it with a thin layer of ash each time, which prevents it from rotting instead of falling apart. The same can be done in a pile, where we dispose of kitchen and other fresh organic waste during the year. A thin layer of ash is sprinkled on every 15 centimeters of this waste. Ash can also be added when we stack the compost pile in autumn or spring, especially if we find that the mass is too wet. The ashes not used in the vegetable and ornamental garden and in the compost are scattered on the grass at the beginning of the year.