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Wood Burning Stoves – Don’t Toss Those Ashes!

If you’re aiming to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, did you know there are many ways of recycling the ashes from wood burning stoves? Don’t throw the ashes in the dustbin, as they can be recycled in a number of ways.

The ashes from wood burning stoves are a beneficial, natural resource for your allotment or garden. They can be used for enriching the compost, repelling snails and slugs, preparing the soil for flowers and plants that thrive in alkaline, or growing better crops of fruits and vegetables that love potash.

The Best Ashes to Use from Wood Burning Stoves

You must keep the wood burning stove ashes dry, or they will lose their nutrients. It’s best to keep them in a metal bucket indoors.

Don’t use the ashes if you’ve been burning smokeless fuel. They can contain traces of iron, cadmium, lead, aluminium, zinc and copper and these elements aren’t good for your garden.

As long as it’s firewood ash, then this is a great source of nitrogen, lime, magnesium, potassium, trace minerals and carbon, all of which are beneficial.

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The exact nutrients will depend on the type of wood that you’ve been burning. Woods such as oak and other hardwoods can contain approximately five times as many nutrients as softwoods, such as pine.

Check out our range of woodburning stoves to see some of the fantastic options available. These stoves are designed predominately to burn wood only and are ideal for producing firewood ash that will benefit your garden.

Adding Wood Ash to Compost

Add the ash to your compost pile by sprinkling it on in layers, building up your compost pile with a layer of ash, followed by a layer of compost, and so on.

wood burning stove compost

Keep turning the compost pile as you add the ashes, ensuring they’re not all in one area. They must be spread evenly throughout the compost.

If you want the compost to be less alkaline, add citrus fruit peels too.

Repelling Snails and Slugs

By sprinkling the wood burning stove ashes around the base of your vulnerable plants, you’re creating a barrier that will discourage snails and slugs from climbing up the plants’ stems.

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Re-apply the ashes every time it rains. As the ash makes the soil more alkaline, test it regularly to make sure the pH of the soil hasn’t increased too much. You can buy a pH soil testing kit from any DIY store or garden centre.

Feed Flowers and Vegetables

If you have plants and flowers that like an alkaline environment, feed them with the ashes. Do this by sprinkling ashes around the plants, then rake them into the soil. Don’t leave clumps of ashes sitting on top. Make sure they’re all mixed in.

Flowers that thrive in potash include lavender, peonies, clematis, rosemary, carnations, asters, columbines, lupines, sunflowers, oriental poppies, daffodils and perennials.

Your vegetables are likely to grow better with an application of firewood ashes. Try this with your tomatoes, cauliflower, courgettes, sprouts, cabbages and asparagus.

When planting tomatoes, place a quarter of a cup of potash into the hole. This will grow a higher yield.


Useful Tip for Hydrangeas

As the colour of blue and pink hydrangeas is influenced by the pH of the soil, adding ashes will change their hue. The light pinks can become darker; the blue flowers will develop a pink tone and the dark pink blooms can turn burgundy.

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Apply the ashes three times a year, in mid-May, June and in the winter. This will change the hydrangeas’ colours in one season.

As you relax during the winter in front of your woodburning stove, remember how much good recycling the ashes will do for your garden, so that it will be a pleasure to sit outdoors and relax in the summer!

Guest post submitted by Kirsten with StoveSellers.com.

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