[permaculture] Re Wood Ashes - a multifunctional resource

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Mon Dec 18 00:11:25 EST 2006


Well done!

The qualities that make ash tricky in soils may make it useful through 
other pathways.  Degreaser.. of course.  Everything is a potential 
resource.  Is ash that has been leached for lye a more moderated soil 
ammendment?

P

Robyn Francis wrote:

>There's many uses for wood beyond sparing garden applications - here's a few
>of the things I use it for.
>
>Wood ash is the main cleaning agent I use in the home - I sift out the fine
>white ash for cleaning sinks, stove top and oven, pots and pans, any
>stainless steel surfaces, grease, oil etc  I often make up batches lightly
>fragranced with an antiseptic essential oil (lemon myrtle's my favourite)
>and pack nicely as gifts for friends who don't have access to wood ash as a
>natural cleaner - they love it and invariably ask for more when it runs out.
>
>I also use wood ash to cure my olives as a substitute for salt for the first
>2-3 soakings to reduce the saltiness of salt-brine treatment.
>
>I keep a jar of the sifted ash mixed with a little fine sand for washing
>hands, especially for when I've been handling oily or sticky things. I mix a
>little fine wood ash and sand into my "gardeners soap" as well.
>
>BTW does anyone know proportions for making the correct strength Lye from
>wood ash for soap making. I make an annual batch of soap and would prefer to
>make my own lye from wood ash rather than caustic soda.
>
>I also use wood ash for storing things - keeps bugs out of stored seed, and
>roll my Jerusalem artichokes in ash before I put them into clamp storage
>etc.
>
>In the garden it can be used as snail barriers but use sparingly. Pumpkins
>can handle a bit more wood ash than most other veg.
>
>Ciao
>
>Robyn
>
>On 18/12/06 7:06 AM, "Karen Kellogg" <garuda2 at comcast.net> wrote:
>
>  
>
>>So, any suggestions on what to do with the wood ashes?  Pick one spot
>>and designate it as the 'ash dump'?  Get them off the property? To
>>where?
>>The soil only needs a tad, we don't want to breathe them or have them
>>in our water,  not in the compost... Is it safe to use them to dampen
>>plant growth, say along a fence line that is hard to mow?
>>
>>Karen
>>
>>
>>On Dec 17, 2006, at 8:08 AM, Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
>>
>>    
>>
>>>john norton wrote:
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>>>Hi
>>>>Be careful if using wood ash as a soil amendment. The
>>>>burning can form polycyclic aromatiic hydrocarboms
>>>>PAHs in the ash, which can be acutely toxic to plants
>>>>and people and they can be carcinogenic.
>>>>        
>>>>
>>>If at all, only use small amounts of wood ashes in
>>>gardens. A friend years ago put all the ashes from his wood stove
>>>on his large garden
>>>year after year. The soil became poisoned and very little would
>>>grow in it. It took him years to get it back to normal.
>>>
>>>Never add wood ashes or any pH mediating product to a compost pile.
>>>The bacteria in compost regulate pH themselves;
>>>if you override this with ashes or lime the pile will cease to
>>>function normally and you will end up with poor compost.
>>>      
>>>
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>>
>
>
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