There are millions of people who use wood for heat and cooking purposes. In our home, we use wood for half of our tasks. So people like you and I have a good amount of wood ash in our home on a daily basis. Here are a few common questions about wood ash:
- Should I use wood ash in my garden?
- Is ash good or bad for my garden?
- Can I use wood ash in the composting process?
Don’t worry, in this post I will try to give answers to all these questions plus I will explain 10 ways to use wood ash in the garden, so you don’t have to dump this amazing by-product.
Note: Before putting any wood ash in your garden, make sure the wood that you are burning is natural. Wood with paint and other chemicals on it is no good for plants, this kind of wood will add harmful chemicals in the soil.
1: Make Your Soil Less Acidic
If you recently test your soil and it is overly acidic, you can use wood ash to correct this. If not, you should test your soil first. There are different ways to test your soil, you can even perform this test at home by using baking soda and vinegar.
Watch: How to Test Soil pH without a Test Kit
If the soil is acidic, you should add wood ash in the soil during tilling. According to research at the University of California Davis, for every 100 square feet, you should apply 5 to 10 pounds of wood ash.
If you want to apply ash after planting, make sure your wood ash is totally cool or it can burn the leaves of your plants.
Note: If your soil is already alkaline and pH is higher, you should not use wood ash in your garden soil or you can hurt your plants badly, especially alkalinity loving plants.
2: Help In Composting
Wood ash contains tons of nutrients in it. These nutrients will help your plants at the end plus ash helps decomposing bacteria in the process. If your compost pile is acidic and not doing well, you can use wood ash to fix this problem.
Do not add a lot of ash at once, as it can increase the pH level of the compost pile, and bacteria and other microbes can be affected. So just a thin layer of ash at once will be enough.
3: Make Compost Tea
Compost tea can do wonders for your plants, especially for indoor alkalinity loving houseplants. Here is what you need to make compost tea by using wood ash:
- 1 pound of wood ash
- Old cloth bag
- 10-gallon water
- A container or garbage pail
Put 1 pound of wood ash in an old cloth bag (make sure ash is totally cold). Now put that bag of ash in a container of water or garbage pail. For 1 pound wood ash, 10 gallon water is enough.
After 4 to 5 days, your wood ash compost tea will be ready. Do not give this tea to acid-loving plants. High pH loving plants will do great after this tea.
4: Keep Slugs And Snails Away From Your Veggie Garden
Slugs and snails can destroy your veggies in your kitchen garden. They love vegetables like cabbage. If you have slugs and snails problem on your garden, here is what you need to do to get rid of them for good:
- Just sprinkle some wood ash around the plants that are susceptible to slugs and snails. Make a circle of ash around those plants.
- Wood ash will keep them away from your plants. You have to sprinkle ash after every rain.
5: A Cheap Fertilizer
As I mentioned before, wood ash contains tons of nutrients. These nutrients can do wonders for your plants. You can make compost or compost tea by using wood ash or you can directly use wood ash on plants. I already talk about the uses of wood ash in compost and compost tea.
Wood ash contains phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, and much more. All these nutrients are great for the growth of new plants. Just put some wood ash (cool ash) on the soil of young plants.
6: Best Alternative Of Lime
I already talked about this on the first point. Basically, lime is also used in garden soil to increase the pH of the soil to make the soil more optimal for most of the plants. Here is why you should use wood ash instead of lime:
- Wood ash also does the same trick as lime.
- Wood ash is basically free. And you are doing recycling by reusing the waste of the kitchen or BBQ.
- Wood ash breakdown quickly as compares to lime and lower the acidity of soil quickly.
- 25 pounds of wood ash for 1000 square feet of soil is enough. You can calculate it according to your needs.
7: Fertilizer For Lawn
Wood ash is an excellent fertilizer to turn your lawn from pale to green in color. The method of using wood ash in your lawn is very easy. Here is what you need to do to fertilize your lawn:
- Just sprinkle some cool wood ash on the top of your lawn.
- Give a good amount of water, so the water sinks in the soil. The soil of the lawn will absorb water with wood ash.
- Wood ash will provide tons of nutrients to your lawn.
8: Calcium For Your Vegetable Garden
There are so many vegetables that need a good level of calcium in the soil for better growth. You can provide them calcium by applying wood ash to their soil. Again, don’t be greedy with wood ash, an extra amount of wood ash can cause harm to your garden. Here are few vegetables that do great in a good level of calcium:
9: Protect Your Plants From Frost
I learned this trick from my Mother. My Mother always uses wood ash on winter crops like garlic in our vegetable garden to protect them from frost. Frost can kill your plants in no time.
Just sprinkle some cold wood ash on the top of plants. Just dust your plants. It will keep your plants from dying in the winter season. If frost is too much, you may have to use cold frames, because ash will not be enough for too much frost.
10: Cure Your Tomato Plants
Blossom end rot is a very common problem of tomato fruits. It can destroy the whole harvest of tomatoes. Here is how you should use wood ash to keep your plants healthy:
- Keep the calcium level of soil high for tomatoes. For that, add some wood ash in the hole, before transplanting the seedlings of tomatoes. It will keep the calcium level high and plants healthy.
When Not To Use Wood Ash?
Wood ash is amazing in the garden but the excess of everything is bad. Keep these points in mind before using wood ash in your garden:
- When wood ash is fresh and hot, do not use it. It can burn the leaves of your plants and kill microorganisms in the soil.
- If the pH of your soil is 7 or more than 7. As wood ash will increase the pH of the soil and some plants can not even absorb nutrients from the soil in higher pH.
- Do not use wood ash for acid-loving plants like blueberries. Acid loving plants will not happy in the presence of wood ash.