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Have a chimney? Here's a different use for your wood ash. It could be used for any household cleaning needs that requires scouring. It can also be used in the garden as fertilizer and if you have a pen for livestock, the ash can be sprinkled on the floor and animal droppings before sweeping. Saves you a few pennies that would have been used to buy cleaning detergents. (Did you know that wood ash, specifically that of the palm tree, is one of the two ingredients for making native soap (the other being palm kernel oil) in some parts of Africa)
By NY from Upper Darby, PA
During these winter months when fireplaces are in high use, you will generate quite a bit of ash. We clean out our fireplace into a paper grocery bag. The bag is then rolled shut tight down to the level of the ash and placed into a storage tub with a secure lid. One tub will hold quite a few bags.
These bags will be periodically be added to our compost heaps throughout the spring and summer. I even take one or two out the pile now and simply place the bag in the pile. Wet weather will break down the bag and keep the ash from blowing around.
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I need some ideas on what I can do with all the wood ash from our wood furnace and fire place. In the winter we use it like salt on the snow and ice. But what can I use it for now? Is it good in the garden?
By Donna from Foymount, Ontario
I use ours around our rose bushes and it helps them be so full of color and around my Azalea bushes.
Ashes work great in my garden.
I've read that SOME ash in a vegetable garden is ok but too much is bad. Since I don't know how much is too much I don't put any.
I believe ashes are alkaline, so don't use so much the soil pH gets unbalanced.
If you have evergreens in your yard especially near gardens or flower beds, the soil may become to acidic, causing plants and grass to die. You can get a ph tester and check to see how acid your soil is. If it is highly acidic, wood ash will neutralize it if you dig it into the soil.
If the wood ash has no large hard chunks, it can also be used to remove white rings on wood furniture caused by water or heat. make a paste of ash and water over the mark and rub with a soft cloth. Repeat if necessary. Polish as usual.
If you have a compost pile, that's a great place to put them.
Thank you all so much for the suggestions! I can use many of them.
CAll your local extension service, they may ask what you plant in the garden or tell you what kinds of areas in the yard you can dispose of this at.
This was truly the best advice so far! There are too many possible variables to say that wood ash is a good idea for your garden or even your compost bin. Wood ash is alkaline, and it only provides a small amount of useable potassium for the soil.
Volunteer master gardeners at your county extension office will know local details from pests and diseases to what plants grow best and what is the general soil quality of your area. They can help you know how much wood ash, if any, you should place in your garden, under a specific plant, or in general compost bin.
They can also help you make a balanced bin if you truly want to put wood ash in it.
Here are some better ways to use your fireplace ashes:
I just used ashes out of my woos burning stove for staining wood. I looks nice.
1. Poured vinegar into Ashes. 2. Stirred it. 3. Painted it on. 4. Wiped it off.
What can I do with wood ash? Besides tossing in the woods. What garden plants or veggies like it?
We have a request from November that deals with part of this question. - Editor
Just about *all* garden variety plants can use the ash... just work it into the topsoil when preparing for planting.
We put our wood stove ashes in the garden. My husband roto-tils it all in and it is good for all vegetables.
We have always uses our fireplace ash on our roses.. they do well.. and we burn our horse manure.. (it has wood shavings and hay mixed in)and then we burn it. It will smolder for days then we use the ash on out pecan trees..and our veg. Garden.. everything flourishes.
How do I use fireplace ashes for algae control in pond? Can it be used for weed control under pine trees?
By Ernie M.
It all depends on what you are burning to create the ashes. Different woods result in ashes that are either acidic or alkaline. I would not put the ashes in the pond-it clouds the water and can kill plants and fish in it. It can also kill grass, weeds and anything under the tree. It also picks up and blows when the wind blows. We dump our ashes far from the house in an old tank. Once one of the kids dumped it closer to the house and it was windy a few days later. Ashes ended up all over our vehicles and on the clothes on the clothes line as well.
I would not
This is a page about using wood ashes in your garden. Wood ash can be a good source of potassium, that many garden plants love.
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Wood ash has a lot of uses. Here are just a few suggestions.
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I put mine on the garden and in the chicken yard (keeps down the smell and insects) chickens will dust bathe in them too. They are better for icy walks and steps than salt, as they don't kill the grass or eat the cement like salt can. You do have to keep a rug at the door or take off your shoes at the door. Ashes and melted ice make for great tracks. Carry some in the trunk of your car in a milk jug. iI you get stuck or have to walk on ice you have your handy ashes. (09/28/2006)
When I have wood ashes I pour them on the soil where I will be planting radishes. No worms. Epsom salts works too. (09/28/2006)
I also put them on my vegetables in the garden to get rid of aphids, worked last year on collards and Swiss chard. (09/28/2006)
They used to make soap from animal fat and wood ash. Probably a stretch for 2006, but then there are worse hobbies, too. (11/17/2006)
By Dan - Iowa
I have used ashes and mayo on wood - it works great when you have a lot of wax buildup, but I would not try and use to for polishing. Note: make sure the ashes are free of debris, for that will only scratch the table. I sifted mine before using it to eliminate the problem. Also, scrub very gently when first applying; you can always scrub harder later. (12/02/2006)
If you want to mix it with your compost pile it will delay the decay reaction, but I mix it with some 10-10-10 first in a bucket with water to make sure there are no live embers. Mixing it with the fertilizer helps make a more potent compost. (11/01/2008)
Ashes can also be used as leavening for bread by putting the ash in a box, mixing plenty of water in and catching it in a pan below the box. This was a colonial method, but is still done in parts of the Appalachians and elsewhere in the world. Another way is just catching the wild yeast from the air of a room with the fireplace. This method is found on the internet by searching "wild yeast roundup".
Ash from coal especially has reflective properties that will melt ice and snow super fast if the sun is out. That is more cinders than just ash I guess.
I use it mostly to make walking safer and my path easier to see when I go out to milk the cows and check the greenhouse and chicken coop. Most of the time I am doing it in the dark on the way there in the morning and in the dark on the way back at night. Really helps a lot. (01/29/2009)
I have heard that you can put fireplace ashes on certain plants. Can someone tell me what plants this works for and what plants I shouldn't put them on?