Saturday, 18 December 2010

Wood Ash, what to do with it?


Every day after using our open fire or wood burning stove we end up with wood ash. What to do with it. First of all, when the ashes have cooled down, store them under very dry conditions.

Come spring when we are preparing our vegetable patch or flower bed, the ash can be incorporated into the soil whilst we are turning over the soil. When the soil is heavy clay it is better to mix the ashes with compost or fertiliser rather then directly into the soil. With clay soil ash tends to attach itself to the outer surface of the clay rather than to mix with it.

Wood ash is rich in potassium, trace elements and calcium. It improves the soil. The quantity of ash to add to the soil is 5kg/100m2.

Slugs and snail do not like wood ash. A sprinkling of ash around seedlings or small plants prevents the plants for being eaten. The only disadvantage is that the procedure has to be repeated after rain, but it remains the most natural way of slug control.

Some bits of charcoal are always left in the ash. These have their uses. When pulverised they can be sprinkled in autumn around plants of the onion family against fungus infection.

Bibliography: Rustica

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