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what to do with ashes?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 5
Location: Ontario
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Does anyone know what to do with wood ashes? I read some where it is the same as adding lime to your soil. What's it good for?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1460
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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You will get lots of different answers on this one - here's mine:

I just spread them willy-nilly all over everything. I'm not much of an organized gardener but things do grow like crazy.
 
steward
Posts: 3420
Location: woodland, washington
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John Richer wrote:Does anyone know what to do with wood ashes? I read some where it is the same as adding lime to your soil. What's it good for?



goes well with sackcloth...

not quite the same as lime, though it has similarities. it does raise pH like lime does, and it's largely calcium carbonate (same as limestone). there's a fair bit of potassium in there, too, and some other odds and ends including heavy metals. it also has in common with lime that over-application can cause troubles. and over-application is pretty easy to do.

other uses include high-temperature insulation (think wood stoves) and soap-making. for soap, water is passed through the ashes to obtain potassium hydroxide, which is then reacted with lipids to make soap. not a quick or easy endeavor.

I dump ashes along with charcoal in a corner of the chicken coop being careful not to send any airborne where it could damage chicken eyes and lungs. the birds chew up the charcoal occasionally, and slowly spread the ashes out into the rest of the bedding. that way it's all nice and composted by the time any earthworms or plants interact with it after I clean out the coop.
 
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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Down here, they add water to it and use it to put on their adobe ovens to make them look less like mud.
 
Posts: 181
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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I sift out the nails and add the ashes to the compost piles. Also I mix them into the soil where I'm planting root crops, to repel root maggots.
 
John Richer
Posts: 5
Location: Ontario
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oops- Looks like I should have searched this topic before posting.. http://www.permies.com/t/6013/homestead/uses-wood-ash
thanks for all the great responses! I'm going to figure out a good way to sift out the nails, etc. and then use it for the garden & compost
 
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10 uses for wood ash

I found it very useful...
 
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I made a thick slurry and put it down in my garden path under wood chips. I was warned so much about over application that I figured I would purposefully over-apply to keep the path clear. It worked well.
 
pollinator
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Location: France
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John Richer wrote:oops- Looks like I should have searched this topic before posting.. http://www.permies.com/t/6013/homestead/uses-wood-ash
thanks for all the great responses! I'm going to figure out a good way to sift out the nails, etc. and then use it for the garden & compost



As I started reading this I was thinking "There's a thread on this somewhere" - glad you found it A big magnet is good for getting out lots of the nails. Someone did tell me that it kills spiders so I no longer scatter it so freely. And just very thin layers in the compost heap - I learned that by bitter experience after dumping loads in mine and mucking up the whole process.

And John, welcome to permies - hope you find lots to talk about here
 
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We use ours for the chickens also...great for their health, great for the deep litter, great in the nest boxes to deter any parasites that may want to inhabit the hay.

You can also place it on your gravel driveway to keep down the grass growing up in between.

Place around cukes and squash seedlings to deter cut worm beetles from laying their eggs.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 181
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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John Richer wrote:I'm going to figure out a good way to sift out the nails, etc. and then use it for the garden & compost



I use a screen of 2x4s and 1/4" mesh hardware cloth. Quick and cheap and effective.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1467
Location: Vancouver Island
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And no one said make soap?
 
Ever since I found this suit I've felt strange new needs. And a tiny ad:
Rocket Oven plan download
https://permies.com/t/rocket-oven-plans
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