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Ashes from burn piles for soil enhancement?

Discussion in 'Composting & Soil Building' started by dinnertym, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Oct 30, 2011
    dinnertym

    dinnertym Leafing Out

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    Hey folks...after burning some debris piles down (leaves, branches, clippings) I was wondering if the ashes left would be good to spread into the garden? Any thoughts?
  2. Oct 30, 2011
    Chickie'sMomaInNH

    Chickie'sMomaInNH Deeply Rooted

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    sure! we used to take the ashes from the wood stove all the time when i was a kid to the garden and till it in!
  3. Oct 30, 2011
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    acidic & neutral pH soil:
    ashes = good

    alkaline soil:
    ashes = not so good

    Steve
  4. Oct 30, 2011
    dinnertym

    dinnertym Leafing Out

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    What is clay soil considered, acidic or alkaline?
  5. Oct 31, 2011
    hoodat

    hoodat Deeply Rooted

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    Could be either one. A simple PH test will tell you. The kits are cheap and available in just about any nursery.
  6. Oct 31, 2011
    moxies_chickienuggets

    moxies_chickienuggets Attractive To Bees

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    Well...good post!! I just did my own experiment in our yard. We had a small circular burn pile....and I couldn't see it going to waste. Nothing to dig up ...so to speak. I had planted some peonies (too hot-full sun), red cabbage....still alive but nt thriving, comfrey..it hated the spot......and some marigold seeds/small transplants the MIL had given me. Now, 8 months later....I have removed the comfrey, transplanted 2 peonies to a cooler spot, left the red cabbage for now, and ...I have never seen such huge marigold plants! They are massive. The same plants I put elsewheres, haven't done nearly as well.
    Oh, I also planted some swiss chard..they died right off...and some yellow squash..they died immediately also. Next spring...I will just plant the same marigolds in that spot.
  7. Feb 4, 2012
    galanie

    galanie Sprout

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    Aye yes, if you live where I do you don't want to put those ashes in the garden. Our soil is very alkaline. But they are great for letting the chickens dust bathe in! :D
  8. Feb 4, 2012
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Deeply Rooted

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    It's not just the soil pH , but ashes provide certain nutrients. If your soil is deficient in these nutrients, then they'll help your soil. If you already have plenty, they won't really help it. A soils test could help you decide. That's if you want to get technical. I think in any case a pH test is a tremendus idea. But I don't worry that much about which nutrients are in ashes.

    The "old-time" gardens I was familiar with stayed in the exact same spot for decades and continued to produce. I remember spreading ashes in ours when I was growing up. A lot of other stuff went on there too, manure and leaves, for example, but also chemical fertilizer. Mom still plants some vegetables in the same garden. I think the people Dad bought that farm from first planted a garden there in 1935. That garden fed a lot of people and it still produces well.

    My garden does not move around. Some plants use up certain nutrients, or they get leeched from the soil by water. Again I'll mention that a pH test is probably a real good idea, but I just look at adding ashes as adding nutrients and don't worry about the exact make-up of the nutrients in those ashes. I don't pile then real deep and try to grow in that, but spread them out and work them in.

    Some people burn wood in their garden for the nutrients. I used to but quit. I feel that the fire in there will burn organic material in the soil that I want in the soil. I burn elsewhere and carry the ashes.

    I think I'm rambling even more than I normally do, and I know this is not a scientific approach to it. But it is my thoughts.
  9. Apr 9, 2012
    marshallsmyth

    marshallsmyth Garden Addicted

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    I use the ashes from the burn pile as the main substance of the mix with compost and soil on the bottom part of my soil. This has been an evolving and figuring out process. The upper layers generally have little ash now. The ash I did add to the upper layers this winter was the "primo" ash from my woodstove.

    mmm, today when I was getting compost from an 8th of a mile away with my wheelbarrow, I came across a section of compost that was very old ash layered with composted wild grasses and Oak leaves, VERY thoroughly composted, and deep. Sure wish there was more of it than 10 cubic feet. Someone years ago dumped ashes on a low spot of the ground that had been filled with Leaves and grasses. I'll try to find more like that tomorrow! This is to finish filling my grape bed.

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