Composting woodstove ashes/straw


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Hey everyone,

I'm new to gardening and composting. I have a big pile of wood stove ashes and I have a bunch of straw from cleaning out my goat shed. The straw has goat manure mixed in it.

Is it ok to just mix the woodstove ash and straw in my composting bin? Will that combo compost properly?

Also can I just put woodstove ashes on my garden and till it in the soil before I plant the garden this weekend?
 
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Good post, with good questions! We have grass clippings mixed with chicken manure, and I compost that in our compost piles. Goat manure isn't as "hot" ( nitrogen rich) as chicken manure, but still needs to be composted. The straw is just an added attraction.
We have some wood stove ashes (we are in warm Texas and don't fire up the stove often) but we do have ashes from the barbecue--a mix of mesquite wood ash and charcoal ash. We put the ashes on a part of the garden that isn't going to be planted for 3-4 months. The ashes that are still on top of the soil are tilled in shortly before planting, but by that time almost 99% are incorporated into the soil without tilling.
I wouldn't add the ashes just before planting--They will be okay to add to the compost pile.
 
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I add fresh woodash as I plant, it's alkalining action is great for deterring slugs from potatoes, and is a great source of natural potash for fruit and veg, BUT, I am very careful to add it in moderation because of that liming effect (it is half as strong as garden lime). It can very quickly raise the pH
This being the case, I do not compost it, I keep it separately in binbags awaiting planting
Furthermore, compost, before use, especially open compost heaps, are prone to becoming very weedy, if they contain the full range of nutrients, so I wouldn't help to complete the range by adding woodash.
 
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I add fresh woodash as I plant, it's alkalining action is great for deterring slugs from potatoes, and is a great source of natural potash for fruit and veg, BUT, I am very careful to add it in moderation because of that liming effect (it is half as strong as garden lime). It can very quickly raise the pH
This being the case, I do not compost it, I keep it separately in binbags awaiting planting
Furthermore, compost, before use, especially open compost heaps, are prone to becoming very weedy, if they contain the full range of nutrients, so I wouldn't help to complete the range by adding woodash.
So it wouldn't be a good idea to mix the wood ash with my straw pile?
 
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I'd just get both straight into the soil, where the woodash can give up its nutrients and the straw can decompose.
 
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I think you are fine either way. I choose to put everything in the compost pile (including wood ashes, straw, animal manure and a lot of other things) then I know the finished compost has the most variety of nutrients.

Congratulations for starting to compost! I believe it is the easiest and best way to get 'everything' into the soil, especially if you have animals. One of the basic things you will need to learn as you go is about carbon and nitrogen. Some people call this 'green' and 'brown' but understanding carbon and nitrogen is much more accurate. You will need the approximate correct ratio and will learn the symptoms when there is not enough of one or the other. (Moisture is the third thing that needs to be approximately correct.) In your situation, it mainly depends on the amount of straw (carbon) compared to manure (nitrogen). A lot of straw, and you might need more nitrogen (such vegetables, lawn clippings). If you don't have much straw, you will need more carbon. The wood ashes are mainly carbon. The only way to know how much of what is to start doing it, then adjust as you go.
 
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I think you are fine either way. I choose to put everything in the compost pile (including wood ashes, straw, animal manure and a lot of other things) then I know the finished compost has the most variety of nutrients.

Congratulations for starting to compost! I believe it is the easiest and best way to get 'everything' into the soil, especially if you have animals. One of the basic things you will need to learn as you go is about carbon and nitrogen. Some people call this 'green' and 'brown' but understanding carbon and nitrogen is much more accurate. You will need the approximate correct ratio and will learn the symptoms when there is not enough of one or the other. (Moisture is the third thing that needs to be approximately correct.) In your situation, it mainly depends on the amount of straw (carbon) compared to manure (nitrogen). A lot of straw, and you might need more nitrogen (such vegetables, lawn clippings). If you don't have much straw, you will need more carbon. The wood ashes are mainly carbon. The only way to know how much of what is to start doing it, then adjust as you go.
My method is different, but that's not to criticise yours.
I make the compost as plain as possible; browns and greens and as few nutrients as possible, then I know I have to add all the necessary nutrients to be ready just in time for planting.
 

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