Wood Ash for the Garden to Raise pH Level and Add Nutrients

We gathered brush all year and placed into a pile in the corner of the yard.  We had no way to dispose of it, so we were planning to have a nice bonfire one cool fall evening.  We have quite a few trees in our yard that need the periodic trimming, and we removed a few large bushes so this brush pile had become rather large.

The pH of the soil in our garden was very low.  It was reading between 5.0 and 5.5.  While some of our veggies and bushes would be ok in that range, getting the pH around 6.0 would be appropriate for all of the veggies we plan on planting next year.  I had planned on getting a few bags of lime to spread on the garden to raise the pH.

I came across some information on the internet that said wood ash would also raise the pH of the soil as well as add some valuable nutrients that most fertilizers do not.  I verified this as best I could, not being trusting of everything I read on the internet.  I did find several sites that all seemed to agree on the usefulness of wood ash in garden soil.  It is very important to mention that you should not burn pressure treated wood or any thing that may contaminate your garden soil.  During a conversation with my brother-in-law it came up that a few years ago they had burned some brush on their garden and the next year things grew very well in the circle that they had burned.

So on a calm cool fall day I set to burning the brush smack dab in the middle of the garden.  Most of the brush was very dry so it burned fast.  Luckily we had a lot of it to burn.  I kept a good size fire going the entire day.  I saved the big pieces for last.  They went on the fire as Ann was getting home.

We spent the entire evening sitting by the fire, roasting marshmallows, and enjoy some peace and quiet.  It was a wonderful night.

One thing I have to add.  Both Ann and my oldest son, who helped with the burning, did the Beavis & Butthead “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!” at seperate times.

The next day the ground under the bonfire was still emminating a lot of heat.  I was a little surprised by this.  I spread the ash around the garden and tilled it in.  I retested the pH of the soil after this was done and it was reading between 5.5 – 6.0.  That saved us several bags of lime and added some nutrients to the soil.