Thursday, 13 October 2011

Various usages of wood ashes

Whether you have a wood stove, an open fireplace or even a pellet stove; you will have to regularly remove the ash. One of the big complaints home owners have about heating with wood is the mess that can be generated - bark and dirt brought in on the fire wood or ash from clearing up. Is this also your complaint for your wood stove?

Modern stoves are usually designed with ingenious moving grates and trays to make ash clearing easier and some simple tools can help keep the place tidy. Do you know that even the wood ash? It also can make a huge difference. Today, I will introduce some main usages of wood ashes.

Fertilizer. If you have a garden, you can take your wood ashes and spread them on the garden before you till up your garden. Ash contains potash (potassium carbonate), phosphate, iron, manganese, boron, copper and zinc and can be quite beneficial as a natural fertilizer... sometimes. Ash of multi fuel stoves increases the PH or alkalinity of soil, so use sparingly. Ashes have a special element in them, lye. Some soils need added lye for better harvests. Lye is good for crops like potatoes. Healthy potatoes need lye in the soil.

Fire helper. Left over charcoal (the black chunks, not the grey/white ash) can be reused for your next fire building. Moreover, you also can use it in the summer barbecue.

Pest deterrent. Sprinkle the ash around the border of garden beds to repel snails and slugs. This will need to be applied after rain.

Ice. Wood ash can be used as an anti/de-icing agent - a little more environmentally friendly than salt or other chemicals used these days

Cleaning. Dip a damp rag into ash and use to clean silverware, brass and glass. Ash added to a scourer can also give your scouring a bit more oomph.

Know of any other uses for ashes of log burning stoves? Please share your ideas below. In addition, you can read these wonderful posts about stoves:

Main Wood Stove Parts

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