Composting with fireplace ashes

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Is there a compelling reason to use use or not use fireplace ashes in my compost pile?
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I would not use fire ashes on plants or compost due to the likely risk of poisons from burnt coal that would build up in the soil over time. I am not certain if such toxins would exist from ash of known woods. Perhaps others could advise? "Grandpa" <jsdebooATcomcast.net> wrote in message

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Good point, for those who might know, I'm burnng Pine, Juniper and Piρon.
Mike Gilmore wrote:

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Grandpa <jsdebooATcomcast.net> wrote:

Depends what you use as fuel.. Large chopped logs contain very little in the way of beneficial nutrient. SMALL woody clippings contain appreciable amounts of potash.. but it will leach if rained on.. SO keep covered and introduce into copmpost in a controlled manner..
Be aware alsothat bruning some woods (eg laburnum etc) releases toxic fumes.
Soot/Ashes and cinders from coalite/coal are best used for paths, slug barriers etc only in limited amounts as can be quite toxic.
Jim
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On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 10:41:12 -0700, Grandpa <jsdebooATcomcast.net> wrote:

Use them! They are also beneficial to use directly on shrubs, trees, and lawn. You can use them to encircle your plants to ward off slugs. Ashes are potash rich. They tend to make the soil alkaline, so avoid using ashes on acid-loving plants. Ashes can also be used on ice patches on steps, driveway--more kind to plants than using salt.
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I agree with this advice. I put ashes in my compost, but because it's pH is so high, I usually wait until my composting process has slowed down to avoid getting ammonia, and thus a bad smell and loss of nitrogen. Because my soil is naturally acid, I also put ashes around my liliacs which like alkaline conditions. I don't think ashes in reasonable amounts are going to make any significant effect on the compost pH, which tends to be neutral, no matter what you put in it (assuming normal type waste, not battery acid).
--
Compostman
Washington, DC
  Click to see the full signature.
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On 11/8/03 8:07 AM, in article jU5rb.35141$ snipped-for-privacy@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net, "Compostman"

I am finding this all very interesting - here in NE, normal fireplace and woodstove ashes are highly recommended to spread over the soil or in the compost. (I think they included pellets and those new corn product pellets in this.) What I do know is don't use coal or manufactured charcoal ash. Cheryl
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my
is
avoid
soil
any
I have to disagree - I have done large scale R&D on composting and pH will change dependent on material. A reasonable amount will not affect - but as I said I have a woodstove and one winter of constant burning can certainly result in an unreasonable amount. Also due to the low porosity value of ash - it will lead to anaerobicity if added in too high a volume.
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Compostman wrote:

Speaking of composting, my pile (I'm new to composting) is on a side of the house that gets sun for maybe 3 hours a day at best. In order to keep it warm I covered it lightly with a hunk of old solar blanket from our pool (which is now a beautiful garden). This of course keeps the rain (like we have any in Albuquerque) out and most of the moisture fom frost, like we have much of that either. Any recommendations re: if I should remove the cover for the winter and let nature take its course or keep it covered. The enclosure is of oak pallets so it has lots of air flow around it,
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AS long is the air flow is good- solar blanket is fine. Wish I could get my hands on one!! "Grandpa" <jsdebooATcomcast.net> wrote in message

my
pH is

avoid
soil
alkaline
any
matter
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I'd ask at a pool supply store & see if they have a few scrap pieces around. I paid $110 for the 20'x40' one I had on our pool<sigh>. At least the pool AND part of the blanket are now doing double duty<G>.
Tina Gibson wrote:

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I'm getting ready to throw ours away and I would offer it to you for free, but the shipping would be outrages! Sue in Mi. (zone 5)
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Thanks Sue. I do have a few friends with pools and hot tubs- I'll keep my ears open for when they are replacing. Tina

my
but
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"Grandpa" <jsdebooATcomcast.net> wrote in message

my
pH is

avoid
soil
alkaline
any
matter
It's not necessary to put compost piles in the sun. Mine are under a tree in permanent shade and they stay very hot. Actually sun, especially in a dry climate like where you live can be bad because it can dry out the pile. Your solar blanket may be doing more to keep your pile from drying out than keeping it warm. Bacteria are the primary source of heat in a compost pile.
--
Compostman
Washington, DC
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Sun, 09 Nov 2003 21:38:54 GMT, "Compostman"
<snip>

Mine are in the shade too. They are steaming hot. I am fortunate to be near a mountain stream and use that water to keep the piles moist. Without water, the compost piles (like most living things) die.
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Phish, do you measure the heat cycles?
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my
make
pile.
than
pile.
Mine are in the shade as well and are very hot in the summer. But - in temps of -40 they freeze right through. So in this case the solar blanket helps prolong the compost season a month or so.
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<jsdebooATcomcast.net>
ashes in my

trees,
slugs.
avoid
I spread them on the mossy areas of my lawn - It seems to slow the moss down pretty well.
Bob
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I've been putting my fireplace ashes in my garden for 13yrs. We only burn red & white oak and maple. When this question came up on this message board last year, someone advised me that I should not be telling people this because their soil might not be the same as mine and it might not be a good thing for them to do. I have a beautiful veggie garden every year. I had enough cukes to can 95 jars of pickles this year. Sue in Mi. (zone 5) and COLD tonight!!!!
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red &

their
them to

can 95

Cold here too!! I think as with everything in a garden - try it! If it works for you good - if it doesn't well at least you tried!! I grow a lot of tomaotos and rotate beds often. We have alkaline soil so I don't add any more ash. Doesn't mean I never will again though!
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