I often end up with a pile of charcoal from burning brush piles . I'd like
to incorporate some of it into the soil in the wife's rose garden and into
my food garden . How fine does it need to be ? Are chunks somewhat smaller
than a briquet OK , or do I need to pulverize it before working it into the
soil ? Most of it is already pretty small , around teaspoon sized , with
some fines and some bigger chunks .
i'd leave it as it is. we need all the soil carbon
sequestration we can get. the larger chunks will be
around for hundreds or thousands of years.
if you are only using a small amount it doesn't
matter, but if you are going to put a larger amount
on a garden it is usual practice to run it through
the compost heap to give it some nutrients and
bacterial/fungi so it doesn't end up pulling them
from the garden soil. in the raw state it's a sink
for a while.
the more you pulverize it the larger the surface
area and that means it will bind more nutrients and
hold more bacterial/fungi but that also means it
won't last as long.
It, and the very fine ash, are both wonderful resources and never used
to be wasted in times past before humans climbed on the manufactured
chemical merry-go-round and when they still knew the value of real
manure and other natural products.
In winter we heat our house with wood and use a wood burning stove for
cookign on and heating our water. ALL the wood ash and carbon chunks
can be spread round the garden just as they come from the ash pan. The
only restriction is that you sprinkle it round like you were putting
icing sugar ('confectioners sugar' in USian) on he top of a cake and
don't ever put it on thickly.
I do sometimes sieve out the carbon chunks using a garden sieve so that
I can use them to lay over soil in the Spring to (hopefully) result in
warmer soil earlier by having the black carbon to the top of the soil.
I'm not sure if it works but that's my theory and it sure hasn't done
any harm so far.
I have read from someone whose gardening prowess I admire, that Peaonys
LOVE wood ash in a very big way. I've only started giving mine a
regular does of ashes though quite recently so can't vouch for the
veracity of that claim.
The peonies I planted didn't come up ... but it wasnt like I bought them , a
friend gave us a few pieces of root that we found while we were digging up
other stuff . I don't think those came up either . But that's alright ,
we've got 2 kinds of Iris , roses , tulips , gladiolus , and the roses for
perennials , plus some marigolds and whatever bee-friendly plants that
actually come up - some of them also perennials . Oh , and I almost forgot
all the daffodils , there are 4 different kinds out there .
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