I had seen several posts long time ago about the benefits of using
fireplace ash blended into the vegetable garden as a means of
providing many minerals...we burn oak primarily. A recent search shows
that most plants like scallion and tomato need slightly acid
conditions, but the ash is obviouly basic in nature. I heavily mulch
the garden using rotted leaf mulch so there is plenty of organic
matter blended in. If upon testing, I need to lower the ph due to the
ashes, what is typical for this application ... I know that lime is
used to raise ph, but unlike grass lawns, a veggie garden is not
supposed to get past 7.0
I was thinking of spreading oak shavings from woodworking as a means
to add acid.
TIA for any tips
Oak shavings will reduce the pH of your soil for a while, but as it
decomposes they will tend toward neutral pH. In the process they will
tie up nitrogen, so you will have to fertilize. In general, the more
finely divided the wood is, the faster it will take up nitrogen and
decompose. Sticks won't hurt, but sawdust is a problem. Shavings could
be a problem.
If your soil is in the range ph 5.5-7.0, I wouldn't worry about it
unless you are trying to grow something like blueberries, which need
acid. If it's above 7.0, sulfur is a way to produce a more lasting acid
reaction without affecting soil nutrients.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Stew Corman) wrote in message
it's more complicated than that. Ash pH is 10.4, and I actually give
ash to my tomatoes because it provides Ca, K and because the tomatoes
taste better that way (my soil is naturally acid - I disagree that
tomatoes prefer it acid. They will grow at any pH between 5.5 and 7).
Other plants, like beet, chard or onions, grow better with a bit of
ash and actually prefer it right around 7, and will pout at 6 or
You can use wood ash as a substitute for lime, and as you say, if you
mix it with woodchips or coffee grounds you can get a near neutral
soil amendment. Also ash is fairly rich in micronutrients, essentially
providing everything except N, P and S. Mixing anything with leaves
will generally bring the pH towards neutral. I give ash and wood chips
to the tomatoes, garlic, radicchio and fruit trees, and ash manure and
leaves to most everything else. I give woodchips and coffee grounds to
various cranberry lingonberry and blueberries.
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