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 Post subject: Using Ashes
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 10:05 am
Posts: 51
Location: Huntsville, TX
I hate throwing out the fireplace ashes and thought, Hey! there has to be an organic use for them, so I found this document from Oklahoma State Extension Service.

Has anyone tried this.

OK, when I first started writing this, I thought HG had missed mentioning it in the pro or con which supprised me. But on further inspection, I see it is under Fireplace, not just ashes. So even though I found my answer (p. 350) I post anyway for the benifit of the organic wonks out there that want to know the actual analysis for ashes.

How about mixing in the ashes at the start of the composting process, or would that raise the pH and mess up the process.

May the forest be with you.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:15 am
Posts: 964
Location: Odenville,Alabama
There is technically no difference (in a sustainable gardening sense), between fireplace wood ashes and natural charcoal ashes. They both are great carbon sources that contains up to 70% potassium, and lots of calcium carbonate, thus they are also great liming materials.

Commercial charcoal ashes contain some petro-chemical waxing on the outer coating before buring, so that makes it not acceptable as a pure USDA certified organic farming source, but perfectly fine in a less strict sustainable gardening world.

Also keep in mind that no liming material should be directly applied to any soil without a prior native soil pH test first! If soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0, no calcium liming materials nor sulfur products are really needed anymore. Just keep using lots of compost forever on your soil. The humus and beneficial aerobic microbes in compost both buffer and help balance local soil pH near plant roots.

The composting process neutalizes high acidic (like sawdust) and high alkalinic (like animal manures) organic materials. So composting limes and ashes makes sense for getting rid of lots of the stuff in an effective way, if your native garden soil pH is fine.

The main reason most soil scientists don't like adding too much calcium carbonate liming materials to compost piles is that it chemically reacts with lots of greens like raw animal manures in the pile, thus creating too much atmospheric ammonia gas that wastes the precious nitrogen in the pile before it can be applied to the garden soil.

So use your own judgement on how you want to use ashes in your gardening plans.

Happy Gardening!

The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:13 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:31 pm
Posts: 10
Location: Rochester,NEW YORK

I grow outside during the season, but I also grow inside year round. I use wood ash in my indoor soil mixes. I love the stuff because it's loaded with micronutients.

For indoors, I blend my own organic fertilizer mix to the NPK ratio I prefer, using the wood ash as a large portion of my potassium.

This all really started several years ago when I had someone offer me a very large amount of plum wood from some trees they replaced when they moved in.

After I had used all the smaller pieces in my smoker (great for BBQ ribs by the way) :D I needed something to do with the larger pieces. Long story short, woodash has become a regular part of my indoor growing mix.

I even use it in my indoor teas for a pH amendment from time to time. It's surprisingly very alkaline, and only takes less than an 1/8 of a tspn to raise the pH in a gallon jug a full point.

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