Wood ash has been acknowledged as a great addition to the soil. In fact, in the 18th century, wood ash was to Britain to be used as fertilizer. Today, 80 percent of ash manufactured in Northeastern states is applied in farmlands. So how does wood ash benefit your garden?
Well, there are myriad benefits that you stand to gain when you use fireplace ashes for gardening, including but not limited to:
• Wood ash is derived from plants hence contains most of the 13 essential nutrients that the soil must have for a healthy plant growth
• Nitrogen and sulfur gases are expelled when wood burns, leaving calcium, magnesium potassium, and other trace elements which are all essential for your crops. Calcium is essential for root development, protein formation, and strong cell wall formations while potassium is a vital catalyst in photosynthesis process and is very significant for seed formation, protein synthesis, and movement of sugars.
• The remaining oxides and carbonates when wood burns are significant in raising pH and can neutralize acidic soils.
• Wood ash has fine particles and reacts rapidly and completely in the soil.
• Wood ash can repel insects, bugs, and snails as it draws water out these invertebrates.
Precautions to Take When Using Wood Ash in Your Garden
For good results, there are certain factors that you should remember when using wood ash in your garden, including:
• Acidic soils that are low in potassium can significantly benefit from wood ash. However, plants that love acidic conditions such as azaleas, blueberries, rhododendrons, and cranberries will never do well if you apply wood ash.
• Never apply wood ash in areas where potatoes will be planted as it promotes potato scab.
• Too much ash can increase the soil pH or accumulate higher salt levels that can be harmful to certain plants; so it should be used carefully.
• Wood ash should be stored in secure metal containers with lids to prevent accidental fires from live coals. This will also prevent water from flowing and leaching out the valuable nutrients before you apply it to your garden.
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