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 Post subject: Ashes in Compost
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Terrell,TEXAS
:?: What are risks of putting wood ashes in the compost pile?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Dallas,TEXAS
According to some books I've read, you can apply them up to 20% of the pile, or directly on the soil @ 20-40 lbs per 1000 sq feet.
They would be your non-carbon source in your compost (i.e. the carbon was burned off). They supply nitrogen, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, along with many trace minerals.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:15 am
Posts: 964
Location: Odenville,Alabama
True. Fresh wood ashes are very alkaline (pH near 11.0) !

However old wood ashes can lose their alkalinity over time to the climate and weather.

In theory, any biodegradable material can be composted, if done correctly. If you have no other safe way to depose of the wood ashes, you can compost it. However I would treat them like any other controversal material (like fats and vegetable oil wastes, etc.):

I would always mix a small portion per week to a large stockpile of good conservative greens and browns (like grass clippings and leaves and hay).
This way you do the least amount of harm to the beneficial aerobic microbes growing in the large compost stockpile.

Also I would recommend adding a little dry molasses tea (or some other form of safe sugars or starch source) into the compost pile, in order to guarantee faster decomposition of the materials, and better aerobic microbial growth in the pile.

Also keep in mind that if a compost pile is designed correctly, and balanced with a good large supply of greens and browns, the final mature compost after several months will have a near neutral pH anyway. No matter if you added high alkaline materials like chicken manures (pH near 10.0), or very acidic materials like fresh pine needles (pH near 5.0) !

The key is always do everything with balance and moderation.

Hope this helps!
Happy Gardening!

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

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