We all love a good campfire, be it for keeping warm, a good cup of coffee, to make tools, purify water, or simply just to stare at. Or, if you’re like one of my friends, you love the smell of burning firewood in the morning.
As we know, the by product of firewood is charred remnants and ashes. The former being good for spark based firestarting. Yes one can use charred wood much the same way you would char-cloth for spark based fire-making. But, what uses does the ash have? Do they serve any practical purpose? The answer is yes and in the following article you may just be surprised.
With the colder winter months in front of us, fireplaces and woodstoves will start to get more use. With woodburning, ash is always an end product that needs to be disposed of. With a little pre-planning and the tips from this article, you can turn a waste product into a valuable resource around the homestead and in the garden.
Before we begin our discussion of the uses of ash, a special note of caution needs to be mentioned. Take wood ash away from the woodstove or fireplace in a metal bucket. Never store it in plastic, at least not until the ash is absolutely cool. This way, you avoid burning down buildings (a potentially devastating risk) or damaging surfaces in your house.
Use only high-quality wood ash. No ashes from BBQ grills, cardboard, plywood, painted, or pressure-treated wood. Hardwood ash (oak) is superior to softwood (pine) ash.
Use Wood Ashes To:
1. Spread finely on the soil on your property. Use a large coffee can or a box with nail holes punched into the bottom. Spread so that it looks like fine baby powder on the soil.
2. Enrich compost. Enhance compost nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes so that it looks like a fine powder. Adding too much, though, ruins compost.
3. Composting citrus rinds. In a bucket of wood ash, place rinds of citrus or anything that is hard to break down. Make sure to cover the bucket.
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