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How to Use Wood Ashes in the Garden

Now that winter is over, and we’re on our way to summer. You need to have your fireplace cleaned and closed out for the season, and move your extra firewood outside. You also should clean the fireplace of ashes and debris for the summer—but, what do you do with all the ashes?

Properly Removing and Storing Ashes

You should use a long-handled shovel to remove ashes from the fireplace whether it is hot or not. It’s best to keep ashes from getting into your hair, clothes, and skin. Many professionals recommend wearing a mask when removing ashes or working with ashes for household projects. We want our customers to keep the fireplace clean, maintain it properly, and put the ashes to good use, but doing it safely! Your ash bin should be kept away from your home to prevent accidental fire during burn season. A metal container with a lid is the best, and it will also keep your ashes dry so that you can put them to use!

Ashes in the Garden

Did you know you can use your ashes in landscaping? Whether it’s a vegetable garden, herb garden, flower garden, or your grass, ashes deter certain insects and tiny critters from damaging your plants. Ashes also become a nuisance and change the pH level in your soil. Green thumbs swear that ashes in the soil beneath tomato plants produce plumper, juicier tomatoes. Ashes contain calcium, potassium, and many minerals that promote plant health. Adding them to your soil will change the soil rapidly, so you want to add it sparingly. You also should test your soil before attempting to change it. You can usually find free soil testing through a local university.

Do not use ashes around acid-loving plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas, and holly. You can add up to 20 pounds of ashes to soil with a pH level of 6 to 6.5, and it is easy to do. Choose a day that isn’t windy, and mix the ashes into the soil. Do not leave ashes on top of already-growing plants. A little rinse with a water sprinkler should do the trick.

You can use ashes around the perimeter of your garden if you don’t want to mix it into the soil, and this will actually repel slugs. This will only work until it is rinsed away by rain or sprinkler water.

Other Ways to Use Ash

Many homeowners use ashes to clean around the house. Mixing ashes with a little bit of water can shine silver, clean glass, and lift gummy grease from stovetops. It’s best to use gloves when working with ashes to avoid burns and skin irritation. You can also sprinkle ashes onto oil spills in the garage and sweep it up as if it were never there. Dusting a little into your dog’s fur will neutralize nasty odors, and it also helps to deter ticks and mites.

Do you have an ash problem? Perhaps an ash dump that hasn’t been emptied in some time? Maybe you are tired of ashes altogether! The Cozy Flame can help, whether arranging a cleaning or exchanging your wood fireplace for gas. Call a Comfort Consultant at 203-283-4459 today!

By Steve Sobczak | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Uses for Fireplace or Stove Ashes

While a wood burning fire can add warmth to your home during the cold months of winter, it also creates piles and piles of ash. In fact, burning a full cord of wood can produce as much as 50 pounds of ashes! Rather than just throwing them away, consider using your ashes in an alternative way.

Ashes are a mineral rich substance that can be used in a variety of ways both inside and outside your home. The following are some of our favorite alternative uses for fireplace or stove ashes; using your ashes in a new way turns trash into a valuable product that can be used throughout your home.Repurpose Fireplace or Stove Ashes - Milford CT - The Cozy Flame

  1. Natural deicer.

    Ash is natures deicer. During wintry conditions, sprinkle ashes on your driveway, sidewalk, stairs, or other slippery areas to melt the ice and create traction. Likewise, carrying a small box ashes in the car can be a useful tool to move a vehicle stuck in an icy patch. Using ashes instead of salt eliminates chemical runoff and is safer for pets and small children; however, it is extremely important to remember to wipe your shoes!

  2. Block garden pests.

    Sprinkling ashes around the borders of a garden plot or flower bed can create a natural barrier against slugs and snails.

  3. Add alkalinity to your lawn.

    Because of its alkaline nature, wood ashes can also be used to change the pH of your soil. Small amounts of high quality ashes can be added to soil; only a small amount is needed to enrich your soil.

  4. De-skunk pets.

    If your dog or cat has had an unfortunate run in with a skunk, ashes can help eliminate the small and get life back to normal without the added time and trouble of going to the store to buy tomato juice. Rubbing small amounts of ash into the dog’s fur can quickly eliminate the offensive odors.

  5. Make your own soap.

    If you’ve never made your own soap, having an excess of ash can help you along in the process. Soaking ashes turn them into lye; this can then be mixed with animal fat and boiled to produce homemade candles.

  6. Control pond algae.

    If algae is making over your pond, fountain, or water feature, use ashes to control its spread. Adding 1     tablespoon per 1,000 gallons of water can give competing plants enough potassium to compete against the algae growth.

Storing Ashes

Whether you are storing your ashes to use around your home or are waiting to dump them out with the trash, it is important that they are stored in a fireproof container. Because “wood ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days, it is important that they are stored in an airtight metal container. Well-designed ash containers should sit off of the ground as well as have long handles for carrying. Ash containers should never be stored near any combustible materials; this means keep your ashes out of the garage and away from woodpiles and buildings. Correctly storing ashes is another way to reduce the risk of accidental fire.

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