Wood Ash Can Be Used In Your Vegetable Garden

Did you know wood ash from bonfires or wood burning stoves can be beneficial to your garden? If you didn’t keep reading and we will explain the different ways you can use wood ash in your garden. Yes your bonfire or wood burning stove are excellent providers of heat whilst at the same time they are producing a valuable by product, ash that has fantastic nutritional benefits for your vegetable and flower garden.

Benefits of wood ash in your garden

Wood ash contains potassium which is a vital nutrient for many crops. Similar to the way potassium benefits humans it can help balance plants water and plays a role in transporting food within the plant. If plants lack potassium they become vulnerable to drought, frost and other disease. Using wood ash in your garden is not only a practical solution for disposing of ash it also contributes to the health of your plants. 


Adding wood ash to your compost heap

The first way you can use ash in your garden is by adding it to your compost heap. The benefit of this is that the ash will help plant fertility. When adding ash to your compost you must carefully regulate the amount you add, this is due to the ash being an alkaline therefore will affect the PH level. If the PH level is raised too much this will affect the bacteria. Ideally you should keep the ash in a container close by to your compost heap and sprinkle a thin layer every so often.

Adding wood ash direct to your soil

Wood ash can also be spread directly on your soil in your vegetable garden. The wood ash is great at deterring slugs and snails helping to protect your vegetables.  Generally you can use wood ash during Spring and Autumn however you may also want to use it during late Winter if you have a large amount of wood ash from burning logs during the Winter months. There are some vegetables that may benefit more from potassium therefore if you only have a limited amount of ash prioritise carrots, parsnips, peas, beans and fruit.

Tips when adding wood ash to your soil:

·         Sprinkle the wood ash on your soil then fork or rake in

·         It would be beneficial to sieve the ash before sprinkling, this will remove any large bits of debris.

·         When handling wood ash we would advise you wear a face protector and gloves

·         Regularly test the PH level of your soil if you are adding wood ash frequently

·         Never leave wood ash out in the rain as the potassium can easily be leaked out.

Where not to use wood ash

Due to the wood ash being an alkaline you should ensure that you do not add it to any soil that has a PH level of 7.5 or higher. You should also make sure you do not add the ash to fruits such as blueberries as these favour acid. Additionally wood ash should never be added to soil where you intend on growing potatoes although the potatoes would benefit from the potassium the increased alkaline in the soil can encourage fungus and other diseases. 

The ash from soil fuels like coal is best disposed of in your rubbish as this ash has very little nutritional benefits. You should not use this ash in your garden as it can be potentially harmful for vegetables and flowers.

We hope this guide has inspired you to be a little more creative with your wood ash. Don’t dispose of your wood ash as it has great nutritional benefits from vegetables and flowers. Adding wood ash to your compost heap or soil can take a matter of minutes just be sure not to add too much.