Wood Ash in the Compost?

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Wood Ash in the Compost?

Postby Phil_and_Gayle » Jan 23, 2010 8:46 am

We have gone back and forth over whether to add our ashes from the wood stove into our compost pile. We heat entirely with wood and have LOTS of wood ash to dispose of. Any opinions?
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Wood Ash in the Compost?

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Re: Wood Ash in the Compost?

Postby party_music50 » Jan 23, 2010 9:57 am

"lots" of wood ash might be too much to add, depending upon how much "lots" is relative to the size of your compost pile and what else goes into it. It can affect the Ph, but that can be good if you have very acidic soil. And if you layer it on thickly without mixing, and then it gets wet, you can end up with a sort of slimey compacted mess. lol! If you have lilacs you should definitely give them some -- they love it. (I just sprinkle wood ash liberally around mine).

My sister and BIL burn pellets exclusively for heat and he dumps all of his ash and veggie compostables onto his veggie garden throughout the winter, and then tills it all in in the spring. His stuff grows great, but I doubt if their pellet stoves produce anywhere near the amount of ash that would come from woodstoves, and he has naturally great soil anyway.

So how big is your compost pile relative to your ash pile? lol!
~~~ Audrey ~~~
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Re: Wood Ash in the Compost?

Postby Chris_W » Jan 23, 2010 3:16 pm

Hi,

Yes, wood ash can be added to the compost pile, or directly to the garden, but it is high in calcium so it could raise the pH like lime. And I agree completely, so long as you have a lot more other compost in there, a little wood ash won't hurt a bit. I also add ours directly to the veggie garden through the winter and till it in in the spring, but then correct with a pH lowering fertilizer, as our soil is already pretty alkaline. We also heat exclusively with wood, but the ash pile isn't that big overall compared to the garden, and we also add lots more compost to it too.

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Re: Wood Ash in the Compost?

Postby Phil_and_Gayle » Jan 24, 2010 8:51 am

You can’t have any idea what a convoluted discussion arose between us; trying to derive a ratio between compost and wood ash. First - do we estimate using the volume or the weight? Then - what about the moisture content? Then - he knows everything because he's the one who shovels the most. Top this off with enough "happy hour" that I’m impatient and he’s overly emphatic and maybe our plight can be understood. . . . . . . one hour later we finally arrive at our estimate of 5% wood ash to 95% compost.

Our compost bin is a large (25’dia x 2’ deep) hole that we fill with mostly leaves then grass clippings, kitchen waste (coffee grounds, filters, egg shells, veggies, etc.), sawdust and now wood ash. It gets “stirred up” with the tractor bucket 2 or three times a year. All this is used for our hosta gardens. We don’t do a vegetable garden (not enough sun), but we do have two pretty sickly lilacs (again – not enough sun). We’ll start giving them a healthy dose of the ash before adding the rest to the compost bin. Thanks for your input.
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Re: Wood Ash in the Compost?

Postby Ginger » Jan 25, 2010 10:09 am

Your liliacs will love the wood ash! I was going to suggest sprinkling it around any flowering shrubs you have. I had a huge problem with one of my lilac bushes a few years ago and a friends Mom told me to spread wood ash around the ground below it in the winter and that spring it was flourishing! I had twice as many blooms as before. Good luck

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