Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Making Woodash

A few weeks ago (when it wasn't raining), I spent the afternoon making wood ash. Wood ash is particularly great for onions. It can be a good source of potassium - the nutrient that helps fruit and flower production. It has a liming effect so is particularly good for very acidic soils. I often use it as a mulch and if I have a lot, I also add a layer to the compost heap as a general soil improver. I usually make mine using our chiminea, but if we have a lot of material to burn then we will have a bonfire and I collect the wood ash up into bags afterwards. We happen to have a lot of wood around the garden from all the tree felling we have done. It is best to use dry wood because it burns easier and is a bit less smoky. I try to use wood that has been seasoned - left to dry out, for a year or so. I begin with a small amount of twigs and any dry kindling type materials, I also make sure I have a decent stack of different sized sticks and wood pieces so that I can keep feeding the fire.

However, as useful as wood ash can be in the garden, it should be used sparingly as creating too much alkalinity in the soil can damage plants. Wood ash can also cause scab in potatoes.
I love being able to recycle things from around the garden and put them back into the earth, it's good putting nutrients into the soil when I know where they have come from in the first place.
What do you recycle around the garden?

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