How to Use Ashes Around Home and Garden

Campfire ashes

Fun time in the evening around the fire pit or barbecue often means a big pile of ashes to be gotten rid of in the morning. Here is a list of nifty tips and tricks to put ashes to use around the house.

  • Hardwood ashes are best. Don’t use ashes from  processed or industrial items (barbecue briquets, cardboard, bags, etc.). They can contain toxic trace metals and chemicals.
  • Keep ash dry before use. Wet ash can be difficult to handle. Store ash in a sealed metal or plastic container until you’re ready to use it.
  • In the garden and yard, ashes can increase soil pH that is too acidic. Test your soil pH first before spreading large amounts. Use it in particular around root vegetables, peas and beans, apple trees and soft fruit bushes.
  • Spreading a thin layer of ash in the garden will also boost the soil calcium level a bit. Tomatoes love it.
  • DO NOT apply ashes to potatoes or acid loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas and hydrangeas.
  • Spread a thin layer of ashes over snow and ice in the winter to encourage it to melt more quickly.
  • Sprinkle a little ash in compost from time to time to counteract the acidity of many vegetables and coffee grounds in particular.
  • Make soap (recipe to come)