If you have a fireplace or woodstove, use wood ashes to improve garden soil! Wood ash is full of nutrients that plants need, such as potassium and phosphorus, so it’s great for using on the vegetable garden. But it’s important to know where not to use it, too. In this short video, we show you when, where and how much wood ash to apply to keep your plants in tiptop condition.
Wood ash is particularly useful for fruiting plants.
Ash from hardwoods like oak and beech are best as they contain more nutrients than ashes of softwoods like pine. Avoid using the ash from coal or treated timber, which could be harmful to your soil and plants.
The nutrients in wood ash are soluble. They must be kept out of the rain so they don’t wash out. Use a container with a close-fitting lid to keep your wood ash dry until you’re ready to use it.
Composting Wood Ash
Wood ash is alkaline, so it can help to reduce the acidity of a compost heap. This creates better conditions for composting worms and results in compost that is perfect for mulching around vegetables.
Add thin layers of wood ash to your compost heap no more frequently than every six inches of material.
Using Wood Ash on Garden Soil
Most vegetables need a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. If your soil’s below 6.5, fork or rake wood ash to help raise the pH. You can test your soil using an inexpensive test kit to find out its pH.
Wood ash is about half as effective as lime in neutralizing acid. As a general rule, scatter about two ounces of ash to every square yard. Do this on a still day in winter and wear gloves to protect your hands.
Brassicas such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts are best grown in a more alkaline soil. Apply wood ash the winter before planting, or around actively growing plants.
Wood ash is high in potassium, which helps flowering and fruiting, so it’s ideal to use around most fruit bushes and around fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes.
Avoid using wood ash around plants that require an acid soil such as blueberries. Don’t let it come into contact with seedlings or use on potato beds, as alkaline soil encourages potato scab.
Wood ash would need to be used in huge quantities to make your soil too alkaline for most other crops, but it would be worth re-testing your soil’s pH every two years to check it doesn’t go above 7.5.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/video/how-use-wood-ash-vegetable-garden?trk_msg=HF7ML22L6JN4VB30C98TJIPBDC&trk_contact=I366NNSLAJU6KS9H67PLAT219S&trk_sid=86D5A9EQV3MUET4I2BGNVKJLQK&utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=How+to+Use+Wood+Ash+in+the+Vegetable+Garden+(title)&utm_campaign=Companion+Daily
-Using Wood Ash in the Garden
We’ve accumulated a lot of wood ash over the winter. Can we add it to our garden soil or compost pile? wood ash in the garden
Whether using wood ash in the garden is a good idea depends on your garden soil’s pH and fertility levels. If a soil test has shown your garden soil’s pH to be below 6.0 (meaning it’s moderately acidic), adding wood ash could be beneficial, says Garn Wallace, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and is general manager of Wallace Laboratories in El Segundo, Calif.
In acidic soils, wood ash can increase soil fertility by increasing the availability of phosphorus and potassium as well as some micronutrients — although wood ashes won’t supply any nitrogen. Also rich in calcium, wood ashes are effective for raising soil pH — a potential benefit in places where pH is below the ideal level for most vegetables (6.0 to 7.0).
“Moderation is the key,” Wallace says. “People tend to over-apply nutrients. And after you add something to the soil, you can’t take it away without replacing the soil. If you apply wood ashes without a soil test, it is possible to ruin soil in just one year.”
If, after testing your soil pH, you decide to add wood ash, start with a thin dusting across the soil surface, then work the ashes deeply into the topsoil, because most nutrients won’t move much in the soil. A Purdue Extension publication suggests that gardeners whose soils are below a pH of 6.5 can safely apply 20 pounds of wood ashes per 100 square feet if the ash is worked into the soil about 6 inches.
The following year, test the soil pH and nutrients again. If the pH is still low, work in another thin layer as you did the previous year. When your soil pH has reached 6.5 to 7.0, stop adding wood ash. If you add too much wood ash, you risk raising the pH over the neutral 7.0 to 7.2 range, which can tie up essential nutrients in the soil. Continue to test the soil every two to three years, and adjust soil amendments according to the test results.
As for composting the wood ash, it depends on what stage your compost pile has reached. Adding small amounts of ashes to a new compost pile is probably OK. If the compost is at or near maturity, however, adding wood ash would raise the pH and could increase the availability of heavy metals to harmful levels. “You want these minerals in minute amounts — too much of them is never a good thing,” Wallace says.
One last caution: Never use ashes from treated wood in your garden. Treated wood contains copper, arsenic, chromium and sometimes boron, and ashes that contain these heavy metals could harm soil, plants and animals.
— Vicki Mattern, Contributing Editor
Taken from https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/using-wood-ash-in-the-garden-zb0z1303zsor
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365