Showing posts with the label ash

Compost Bin Fire - Dry Material Burned in Late Winter - February 2024

I was feeling pretty good about my prescribed burning of tiny piles of leaves and some perennial litter from last season.  I posted the details of it yesterday .  Over the weekend, I went out and did a little bit more burning.  I used my small hand rake to pull together a pile of (mostly) oak leaves - creating a little burn break from other leaf litter - and use my small propane torch to light-it-up.   But, I think I got a little too cocky.  Burning and burning and burning.  And feeling good about returning the carbon to the soil via little ash piles.  All the up the beds a bit.  I was puttering around the beds making little piles and burning them.  They light up, then expire on their own when they exhaust all the material.  A little smoldering for a minute or two, then the piles of ash go dark.  And leave behind some white, burned out material.   I found myself back by the compost bins, where I recently filled-them-up with a bunch of ornamental grass cut-downs that I

Late Winter Burn In Perennial Garden Beds - February 2024

Here's something that I've never done:  burned parts of my garden beds.  Each Fall, I do a clean-up that includes mulching in A LOT of my leaves.  I also add a big number of mulched leaves to my compost bins.  And, I typically try to 'blow out' my beds into the lawn where I run them over with the mower.  I then...blow them 'back on' the beds.  A modified 'leave the leaves' that works for me .   Then there's the Oak trees.  They hold their leaves WELL past the time that I've called it quits with Fall clean-up.   So come late Winter, our beds are filled with leaves.   Over the past few years, I've tried using a weed propane torch to burn up some weeds.  In lieu of herbicides, the torch is supposed to be 'better' for the world that chemicals.   But, I also thought....maybe I could burn up some of the dried leaves laying around my beds.  And, it didn't take me long to learn that I certainly could.  Here's a photo showing the leave

Spreading Wood Ash On Garden Beds - January 2024

Last week, I read this post from Lee Reich where Lee compares spreading their hardwood ashes to conjuring the dark arts and had a little laugh.  I also...quickly learned a bunch - including how wood ash is a good source of Potassium (the "P" in N-P-K) and how a garden amendment that I've heard about/read about - Potash - is (obviously) the root word from Potassium, but is made up (mostly) of Ash.  Hence the name.   Lee talks about how the spreading of wood ash isn't a precise project; rather just a thin 'tossing' of the ash on the beds does the job.   Because we burn a lot of fires during the Winter, we end up with a surplus of ash that I collect at a couple of intervals when I clean out the fireplace and ash bucket.  Over the years, I've posted about how I've spread this ash - around trees in 2019 and on top of some snow in the perennial beds in 2022 .   I ended up with a bit more than five gallons of ash from Cherry, Birch, Oak, Hickory and....well

Amending Garden Beds With Hardwood Ash - January 2022

Posting a couple of photos in the [ garden diary ] to start the new year to mark where I've spread out some of our hardwood ash in the beds in the backyard.  The two photos below in this post show the thin layer that I've scattered on top of the snow in the south bed in the backyard from the Oakleaf Hydrangeas to the newly planted Hicks Yews .  I've done this in the past (bringing out the wood ash from our fireplaces) and scattered it around the yard.  In 2019, I applied a thin layer to the base of our Frans Fontaine Columnar Hormbeam trees . This year, I had a bucket-and-a-half and chose the south beds to amend the soil over there.  Currently, it looks a little strange.  Grey patches on top of pure white snow.  But, once we get a melt/thaw then freeze cycle - or...another snowfall, I'm thinking this stuff will disappear from view. The word on the Web is mixed in regards to adding ash to the garden, yard and compost bins.  It seems that in a limited way, there's no

Spreading Hardwood Ash As Tree Fertilizer

'Tis the season for fireplace burning in our house - and likely in yours.  That means that you'll have to deal with the ash that gets left behind after the wood burns.  We burn hardwoods exclusively (so far this year, we've burned Cherry and Birch) and that means we end up with hardwood ash.  Turns out, it has value in the garden as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.    According to the Oregon State University (Notice...I did include *the* for those other OSU lunatics) Extension office , hardwood ash can aid in making the soil an environment that supports plant and tree growth.  From the OSU Extension article : Because wood ash is derived from plant material, it contains most of the 13 essential nutrients the soil supplies for plant growth, according to Dan Sullivan, OSU Extension soil scientist.  "When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gas," Sullivan said, "but calcium, potassium, magnesium and other trace elements remain. The carbonates a