Using Wood Ash in the Vegetable Garden

The richer the soil, the tastier vegetables in your garden. The plants in your vegetable garden need calcium as well and they get it through your soil.  Wood ash is a good source of calcium and a bit of potassium. Here’s what you need to know to get started properly.

(C) Serenity in the Garden

Bonfires are a contentious issue, what with smoke and global warming. Personally, I love them, though I go for the fast and furious approach of an incinerator, piling everything in and (a personal best) achieving a spurt of flame two-foot high from the chimney. Reservations aside, a fire gives you the great satisfaction of getting rid of perennial weeds, branches too thick for the shredder, and diseased material while, at the same time, producing a valuable by-product: ash.

Wood ash (as opposed to coal ash) can be a great addition to the garden. It contains potassium or potash (they’re not identical but – scientists look away now – the terms are often used interchangeably), and potassium is a vital nutrient for crops.

Just as it does in humans, potassium regulates plants’ water balance (so tissue is firm and juicy), and has a part in transporting food within the plant and creating sugars and starches. Without enough, vegetables are more vulnerable to drought, frost, pests and diseases.

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