I heat my shop with a wood burning stove and therefore have a great deal of (hardwood) ash each week. My question is, would it be good to use the ashes in my compost bin or to till into my soil in the garden?
Are ashes good for my garden/compost?
I can't help you because I am a newbie gardener, but I copied this from a post I found, I hope this helps.
* If you heat with wood, save your ashes to spread in the garden and mix into your compost pile. Remember to use sparingly, similar to spreading lime on your garden.
Ecrane, you were right, it is a very interesting article. Thanks.
I spread about an inch of wood ash on top of my soil and fork / rake it into the soil it is full of nutrients but dont over do it at any one time, it is so fine and powdery you dont want to block out air getting through to the soil if the ash forms a crust, also when you sweep the soot from your fire chimney, it is good for spreading around the base of roses as it helps to keep woolly mites and scale insects away from some other shrubs too. good luck. WeeNel.
Please note "biochar" is a long way from ash. Ash has no carbon left in it and it is mostly salts. These salts in areas of low PH (acid soil) are very helpful. But most garden sites are 6 to 7. This I have tried to use in my garden soils by topical application here in Montana (not acid soils) and it kills every thing from grass to flowers. Though I have successfully used it in the compost pile with very small amounts placed on compost just before applying to soil. Compost of course is quite acidic and this provides the needed neutralization of these salts to available minerals. Potassium, and many trace minerals. People with ph of soils of 5 to 6 would benefit with small applications.
From experience I use ash to kill snails that eat the leaves of my flowers and vegetables. This method of using ashes as pesticide was used by my grandfather as it was expensive to buy pesticide in the 1950s.
I recommend this method as pesticide as it is not expensive.
Thanks for that, salotew. Towards the end of the last growing season, the slug and snail population exploded here and I had very little luck with the chemical controls. Easy enough to keep a 5-gallon bucket of ashes for that.
I use it to kill grass along the perimeter of our lawn where the edges of the raised beds are. That is why I have to be careful of how much I use. I learned this when I thought it would be good for my lawn and spread it over the snow in the spring and when the grass started to grow there was brown grass for almost the whole summer where I had put it on too heavy.
I found this, which has tips for ash and slugs, at http://www.urbanfoodgarden.org/main/vegetable-patch-management/pest-control---vegetable-patch-management/pest-control-deter-snails---vegetable-patch-management.htm
But it also says "It is...ideal for placing around vegetables that thrive in alkali soils, such as the Brassica family - Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli. In fact wood ash makes a good substitute for lime, so when a gardening book says 'add lime' you can safely substitute wood ash. "
(Lime may have longer-lasting effects, though...)
Exactly it raises ph and when you already have 7 you can go to 9. That is why it kills grass here in montana.