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10 messages
19/02/2014 at 19:05

Is it OK to use wood stove ashes in my garden. Thanks.

19/02/2014 at 19:33

Hi Eddie3 

When I lived out in the sticks and had a woodburning stove I used the ash in layers in the compost heap.  We also spread it on the veg patch and allotment in the winter and forked it in and left the winter weather to do the rest  - more info here

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=621

19/02/2014 at 19:38

Hi eddie, Wood ash is slightly alkaline so best not used near acid-loving plants such as the rhododendron family or blueberries.  As long as the ash is from burnt logs etc (ie not painted or wood treated with a preservative) then it can be used on the garden when sprinkled sparingly around and will provide some useful nutrients.  You can also add it to compost heaps but, again, don't create really thick layers and mix it in well.

19/02/2014 at 19:39

Thank you for the info.

01/04/2014 at 12:18

what if ive used fire lighters

01/04/2014 at 12:19

I use my wood ash around the fruit trees and bushed in winter early spring but nor now - now it goes in the compost bin

01/04/2014 at 12:44

Firelighters shouldn't be a problem as they burn completely.

I use wood ash for all fruits; the basicity counteracts (or so I fondly imagine) the acidity of the compost.

What about using it to make lye and thence soap?

01/04/2014 at 12:50

It depends on the wood - if it's firewood logs it won't do any harm to use it as has been described above.  If it's constructional timber which has been treated or painted I wouldn't use it on the garden.

However, there's not a lot of benefit to be gained from using the ash of large logs - the most potash is produced by twiggy growth rather than heartwood. That is why the ash from a garden bonfire using old pea sticks, prunings etc is so useful. 

01/04/2014 at 14:37
Steve 309 wrote (see)

.... What about using it to make lye and thence soap?

Lye is pretty nasty stuff  http://craftblog.stitchingthenightaway.com/488/the-dangers-of-lye-and-what-it-means-for-soap-crafters/ 

01/04/2014 at 14:49

Yes - sodium hydroxide.  In  my lab days I used it occasionally and I'm well aware of the hazards; Never done it (yet) but I doubt if soaking wood ash in water produces anything like as high a concentration of NaOH as you get in the lab bottle.  Worth being careful though.  Thanks for the reminder

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