With burning season behind us, how to use fireplace ashes?

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With cold weather finally starting to get behind us, it’s time to start thinking about what you should do with your fireplace ashes. Did you know, according to This Old House, that a cord of firewood can produce 50 pounds of ashes?

Fireplace ashes are rich in several minerals that plants need, most notably potassium. Sprinkling them around plants in the garden and adding them to compost piles are a couple of ways you could use them, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports.

Why use your fireplace ashes, which hopefully you carefully stored in a fireproof container with the lid shut, with no embers? Here’s some tips from gardening pros courtesy of Greenwood Nursery.

Ash makes soil less acidic – so to help neutralize, spread some ashes, which are alkaline into the soil.

Fertilize – a week or two before planting, spread up to 10 pounds of ashes (per 100 square feet or a 10×10 area). Use a hoe or spade to mix into the upper layer of soil. Don’t add anything else during this time. Let set and plant in a few weeks!

[This Old House has some more uses: Block garden pests; pump up tomatoes.]

(By the way … Not everyone agrees that fireplace ashes are good for the soil. Check out this item.)

Always be extremely careful with ashes after use! As this report shows, hot embers from fireplace ashes can reignite outdoors, causing issues such as this grass fire.

CSIA Video: Hot ashes a threat even after the fire’s out.

What’s your take on fireplace ashes and the garden?

Remember, why you take care of your ash, a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep can take care of your chimney. Find one by zip code at csia.org/search.


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