[permaculture] Re Wood Ashes as a soil amendment

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Sun Dec 17 08:08:08 EST 2006

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.
Worse yet pathogens in the pile may not be removed, thermophilic bacteria may not function and fungal growth may be 
interrupted which would slow the process of breaking down cellulose and lignin in the biomass.

Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Venaura Farm
lfl at intrex.net
info at market-farming.com
IM: lawrence.london at pandion.be & lfl at amber.org.uk
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