[permaculture] Re Wood Ashes as a soil amendment

Karen Kellogg garuda2 at comcast.net
Sun Dec 17 15:06:41 EST 2006

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  
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?


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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