Bonfires, wood burners and open fireplaces produce lots of ash over the course of winter. Don’t throw it away! It’s a valuable source of nutrients for the garden.

Wood ash is particularly useful for fruiting plants, but it’s important to know where not to use it too.

In this short video we’ll show you when, where and how much wood ash to apply to keep your plants in tiptop condition.

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Using Wood Ash in Your Vegetable Garden

| Vegetable Gardening | 18 Comments
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  • Laura B

    We have frequent camp fires in our back yard in the summer…but what is left afterward looks more like charcoal. We never have that nice soft, light coloured stuff I see in the video. Most of what we burn is bits of wood from our property and leftover pieces of pine lumber…is it because we don't let burn for more than a couple of hours before we put it out? And is there anything I can do with black charcoal bits?

  • Tonya Wren

    But what if your soil is pretty alkaline already, and you're trying to keep it as acidic as possible with compost and manure?

  • Ross Minton

    I have a burn ever winter – check out the channel just had one.
    burning old cames, dried weeds, and any old non-treated wood. nothing leaves my plot, why waste what could be good ash.

    Another good reason to have a fire yourself is you really clear out the weeds, weed seeds and slug eggs where the fire was and next spring the fire area is good to plant. 😀 win-win!

  • Thomas Kilpatrick

    if i have a bonfire i get the shovel out once its cooled down and extricate, dry and use it for the purposes listed above. do you deliberately avoid using coal in the open fire (or did you go to someone elses open fire for the footage?) i have an old wood fired rayburn stove at my parents place which is still used for home heating, but we need to use coal to get the fire going and supplement with firewood, sadly due to the coal i cant use the ash, which is a pity as i have loads and loads of it! cheers

  • Jan Vautard

    I wonder whether the effect of wood ash is similar to the process that created the Terra Preta (Black Earth) in the Amazon? They have recently found planting beds that have been abandoned for at least hundreds of years in what is, otherwise a very infertile area, and have discovered that the primitive farmers were setting fire to logs and then burying them while they still smoldered. The resulting planting beds are very fertile even until modern times.

  • Emily Macdonald

    Thank you for this useful information. I have heard wood ash can be beneficial but did not know the specifics of how to use it. I like the idea of putting it in my compost piles . My soil is on the acid side testing pH 5.5 to 6.0 .

  • carry the world non profit

    do use caution when using wood ash in a worm bin. Don't use it as is in worm bins as woodash contains an ingredient that can hurt the worms. You can dilute it with water or use it really sparingly. I don't find the scientific papers about it anymore. If I do, I will pass them to you. I know the culprit is potassium hydroxide. Nice video, keep them coming.

  • The Simple Life

    Reminds me of here in central Florida where we do designated burns in the forest.
    After the burn everything comes back so green and lush ! Thanks for sharing !

  • terry phillips

    If you keep chickens, then wood ash sprinkled into the chicken house deodorises the droppings and by a complicated chemical reaction makes a perfectly balanced NPK fertiliser.

  • Benni L

    I use wood ash on my aspargus bed, in my tomato pots and around my fruit busches as black and red currants. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nancy Hildebrandt

    I pour a deep layer of wood ash in spots where I want to inhibit weed growth (and don't mix it in), such as alongside structural walls or rock walls. It's effective for years if it's deep enough, so I was worried about how much to use in the garden without killing my plants, so thanks for these tips.

  • Alison DeWitt

    I've sprinkled wood ash on leaves of plants which have been riddled with flea beetle damage. It is an effective repellent.

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