What can you make out of ashes?
If you don’t want to just throw your ashes in the snow or on the ground, there are a few things you may do with them around your farm.
1. Put out fire
Fine wood ash, like sand, can suffocate a little fire. Keep an ash pail near the fire pit or fireplace in case any stray embers need to be extinguished.
2. Put them in your compost bin
Wood ash has a high calcium content, making it a great liming agent, as well as potassium and other trace minerals that increase the nutritious value of your compost. A liming chemical that can assist in raising pH levels and neutralizing acidic soils.
The pH of the soil is rapidly altered by wood ash. They advise spreading wood ash at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet, which equates to a five-gallon bucket of ash. Assuming your soil already has the right pH, this is a good annual treatment, and your garden will not require any further lime or potassium.
When added to your compost as brown matter, it breaks down with green materials such as grass clippings or food scraps to produce a more balanced garden fertilizer.
Making compost from ash is preferable to applying ash straight to a garden plot because it can harm acid-loving plants like blueberries and rhododendrons. Tomatoes, on the other hand, adore calcium, and a quarter cup of ashes placed to a hole before planting a tomato seedling can help it grow quickly.
3. Crops should be protected from frost damage
When the temperatures begin to drop in the fall, nothing strikes fear into the heart of a gardener faster than the danger of frost.
On cold nights, I recall my grandma “tucking in” the tomatoes with old bedsheets. No need to worry; simply dust your plants with powdered wood ash to protect them from frost damage.
4. Get rid of pests
Wood ash can be used as a non-chemical pest repellent. Combine one cup of wood ashes and one cup of hydrated lime in two gallons of water to keep leaf-eating bugs away from your plants. This liquid should be sprayed over the tops and bottoms of the vegetation.
Crawling bugs and slugs dislike ashes, therefore a circle of ashes around a plot or around individual plants will help repel pests such as cutworms, slugs, and snails. Wood ash applications, whether liquid or dry, must be replenished every day or two, and after any rain, to safeguard your crops.
4. Algae management
We recommend putting some ashes into the water if you have a lot of ashes and are witnessing increased algae in your farm pond. One tablespoon of ash per 1,000 gallons of water will add enough potassium to the pond to stimulate aquatic plants that compete with algae, so inhibiting algal growth.
5. Control of traction
To melt winter ice, use wood ash on your driveway or sidewalk. Wood ash includes potassium salts, sometimes known as “potash,” which act as a natural de-icer. While you may wind up tracking some of it inside the home, ash is less hazardous to the earth beneath the ice and snow than chemical de-icers.
6. Make some soap
Something for the winter: heat your ashes in water for approximately 30 minutes, then allow the ashes to fall to the bottom of the pan to make lye — the colloquial term for sodium hydroxide, which is a fundamental ingredient in soap-making. The lye that accumulates on top of the water during the ash-boiling process can be skimmed off. Hardwood ashes are preferable for creating lye since softwood ashes are too resinous and generate lye that does not mix well with the fat used in the soap making process.
7. Make dry shampoo
These days, every hair care business has a dry shampoo. It took them all a while to realize what was going on.
Long before the days of lather, rinse, repeat, wood ash was used as a dry shampoo. Begin with a tiny amount of powdery ash, a pinch or two, and apply it to your portion. As you would with a regular wash, massage the ash into your scalp and roots. I feel that giving your hair a nice scruffle helps. Allow the wood ash to absorb the excess oil for a few minutes before flipping your head down and fluffing your hair again to shake out any excess. Finally, brush your hair out.
8. Spa for chickens
On my property, I usually deposit my ashes in the same snowbank all winter. There is an impressive pile of light ash left over in the spring, and that is the first spot my chickens go when they start to free range in the spring for a lovely ash-dust bath. By mid-summer, the chickens had thoroughly distributed the ashes around my yard.
9. Melt ice on walks and driveways with ashes
In the winter, sprinkle some ash on icy patches. Its composition aids in the melting of ice and gives much-needed grip in slick regions. Furthermore, it is a natural alternative to many chemical ice melts, which can be hazardous to pets and children.
10. Clean driveway spills
With ashes from your fireplace, you can eliminate oil stains from your asphalt or concrete driveway. Sprinkle the ashes on top of the stain, allow them to soak the oil for several hours, then sweep it all away with a broom.
11. Cleaner for the Grill
Speaking of grilling, once again, wood ash comes to the rescue and makes cleanup a breeze.
Make a thick paste with ash and water and liberally apply it to your grill’s grates and insides. The ash and water will combine with the grilled animal fats to form a natural soap.
Allow them to sit for a few minutes before giving them a good scrubbing. Rinse well with water. You should use gloves for this task because the natural soap can be somewhat drying.
12. Using an ash paste, polish your silver
Make a thick mixture with 1 cup of ashes (144 grams) and a little water. Coat your silver with the paste while wearing cooking gloves. Allow it to sit for a minute to release the gunk before buffing your silver with a clean cloth.
13. Odor absorption
Wood ash, like baking soda, is alkaline, which means it absorbs moisture and smells from the air. Put a small dish of it in your fridge or a musty room to absorb odors and restore freshness.
14. Remove skunk smell
If your pet has ever had an encounter with a skunk, you know how difficult it is to remove the stink! Because fireplace ashes absorb scents, you can use them to quickly make your pet smell better. Simply massage the ashes into your pet’s fur to absorb the odor.
15. Fireplace glass cleaner
A wood-ash paste can be used to remove soot from fireplace doors in the same manner that it can remove tarnish. Simply make a paste of ashes and a little water, then use it as a mild abrasive to get that glass bright and clean again.
16. Humidity control
Wood ash is a desiccant that can be used in humid environments such as a damp basement or a poorly ventilated bathroom. A little tray of wood ash in a corner can help pull moisture out of a space.
Fertilizer, soil amendment, deicer, soap component, and poultry dust are all examples of products. It’s very amazing how many practical things ashes can perform around your house. Knowing this makes cleaning out the woodstove a pleasurable and satisfying experience.
Where do you put ashes in a fire pit?
Place the ashes in a lidded, empty metal container, such as a small metal garbage can. Pour a small amount of water over the ashes in the can to ensure there is no danger of a fire. Place the can’s lid on top. When the fire pit needs to be emptied, add more ash to the can.
Get rid of the ashes
If you prefer to dispose of the ashes rather than use them in the yard or garden, call your local trash collection agency or visit the entity’s website to learn about the ash regulations. While many permit the ashes to be left in regular garbage cans for pickup, others have special regulations, such as placing the cooled ashes in sealed bags or boxes before placing them in the trash can. Waiting a full week before disposing of the ashes helps to ensure that they do not start a fire.
How does wood ash affect the garden’s pH?
Controlling the pH levels in the garden is one of the greatest methods to use wood ash in the garden. Wood ash has the ability to enhance soil pH levels. This will reduce its alkalinity and acidity. It is critical to keep an eye on the pH levels. This will affect how the plants absorb nutrients.
The appropriate pH levels will be determined by the plants you have. Some people, for example, will enjoy acidic soil. Others, on the other hand, will favor more alkaline soil. You should investigate the plant species you have to see what pH range they would thrive in. However, the garden will perform best if the pH is regulated between 6 and 7pH.
A simple test can be used to determine the current pH level. This should be available at most hardware stores. Test the soil and compare it to the given strip. If it is less than 6, you can use wood ash to boost the pH levels. This is frequently favored over limescale since ash produces faster results. Simply scatter the ashes throughout the garden and water them in.
If the test results show that your soil already has a pH of 7, you should avoid utilizing wood ash. You don’t want the soil to become very acidic. Retest the soil on a regular basis. This will allow you to see when the soil’s acidity begins to decline, giving you a decent sense of when you’ll need to apply more wood ash.