Wood ash


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I just started to compost this summer after many years of not having a compost pile. I've tried to research what are or are not good additions to a compost. While I've read that wood ash is good for a compost (but not directly onto a garden), I'm wondering if there's a limit as to how much is good? We have an energy efficient wood-burning stove and go through quite a bit of wood in a winter. Can all of it be added or is there a reason that that would be too much? TIA
 
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Your soil is the answer. What you do, ultimately, is use it all in your soil. So then the characteristics of a particular medium begin to influence your soil. Another oft overlooked detail is the Mass of the amendments compared to the soil.

Ashes tend to be alkaline. If your soil is already a 7.5pH, you may not care to add them. If you only have a few Kg of ash and many square meters of soil, you wont change much and while the the potassium and other trace elements are generically a good thing, there is simply not much there, so it might just come out as a good way to recycle ash.

The volume weight of 54 square feet of soil 6 inches down (1 yard) is roughly 2350 lb (2000-2700lbs). You would need a lot of ash by weight before it notices your efforts.
 
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Once upon a time quite a few years ago I also had a wood burning stove but my garden wasn't at the house. However, I did have an unwanted rosebush.. I also had a compost pile into which I added all of the ashes. Each year I would add about 4 inches of compost which was mostly ash. I did this for 2 winters and by the 3rd winter the rose was in very poor condition, just about dead. What I learned from this experiment was not to use too much of a good thing. The alkaline ash onto alkaline soil is not a good thing. So, the moral of this story is that if your soil is even slightly alkaline don't use it or if you do use very little of it.


The first spring after applying the ash filled compost the rose bush did amazingly. Bunches and bunches of roses. My wife thought I had found Nirvana but I told her to wait before she started going orgasmic. The second spring only a few buds and they looked to be miniaturized. At the 3rd spring what leaves came out were yellowish and few. That summer we moved to where I am now and I never saw the final result of my little experiment.

p.s. wife got a tad depressed
 
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Your soil is the answer. What you do, ultimately, is use it all in your soil. So then the characteristics of a particular medium begin to influence your soil. Another oft overlooked detail is the Mass of the amendments compared to the soil.

Ashes tend to be alkaline. If your soil is already a 7.5pH, you may not care to add them. If you only have a few Kg of ash and many square meters of soil, you wont change much and while the the potassium and other trace elements are generically a good thing, there is simply not much there, so it might just come out as a good way to recycle ash.

The volume weight of 54 square feet of soil 6 inches down (1 yard) is roughly 2350 lb (2000-2700lbs). You would need a lot of ash by weight before it notices your efforts.
Thanks!
 
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Your soil is the answer. What you do, ultimately, is use it all in your soil. So then the characteristics of a particular medium begin to influence your soil. Another oft overlooked detail is the Mass of the amendments compared to the soil.

Ashes tend to be alkaline. If your soil is already a 7.5pH, you may not care to add them. If you only have a few Kg of ash and many square meters of soil, you wont change much and while the the potassium and other trace elements are generically a good thing, there is simply not much there, so it might just come out as a good way to recycle ash.

The volume weight of 54 square feet of soil 6 inches down (1 yard) is roughly 2350 lb (2000-2700lbs). You would need a lot of ash by weight before it notices your efforts.
Sounds like a soil test would be a good idea before choosing to add ash or not.
 
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