10 Uses of Wood Ashes
We usually ignore the remnants of the woods we burned which is the ash. But did you know that you can use it in so many ways? Here are some of the uses of wood ashes.
- Use wood ash in your chicken coop.
Wood ash can be used for the dust bath of your chickens. It will help suffocate parasites such as mites, lice, fleas and ticks. It also serves as their food supplements. In the wild, it was observed that they feed on charred branches of trees after a forest fire. It also improve the laying capacity of your chickens because ashes contains nutrients such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Ash works as laxative and detoxifier, flushing toxins out of the body and expel internal worms. It will also help chickens to heal their open wounds as the ash has antibacterial qualities.
2. Use wood ash to raise soil pH
As mentioned above, it contains many nutrients including potassium, calcium, etc. The potassium content of ash which is around 3-10%, when in contact with water will form as potassium hydroxite which can rapidly raise soil pH. Make sure, however, that the ash did not came from cardboard, plywood, barbeque, painted surfaces or any other pressure-treated wood. Just a word of CAUTION: Use wood ash only if your soil pH is less than 7 on a soil test.
3. Wood ash as fertilizer for your plants
Since wood ashes contain nutrients needed by the plants, it serves as an organic fertilizer. Wood ashes contains around 20% calcium and other nutrients althought in a smaller amount. For instance, its potassium content is around 4%, and less than 2% of phosphorus, magnesium, aluminum and sodium. In an article written by Timothy S. Griffin of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, he said that “the small amound of these nutrients is the reason that ash is considered a “low grade” fertilizer. In terms of commercial fertilizer, average wood ash would be about 0-1-3 (NPK).” Read more about the article here.
“The small amound of these nutrients is the reason that ash is considered a “low grade” fertilizer. In terms of commercial fertilizer, average wood ash would be about 0-1-3 (NPK).” Timothy S. Griffin, Univeresity of Maine Cooperative Extension
4. It kills weeds
Though there is no specific study that claims wood ash can kill weeds but there are some people, based on their experience, who claims that their weeds died after sprinkling wood ashes. In an article in Raise Your Garden, they claimed that their weeds died after sprinkling ashes. But you have to be careful with this because it can also kill your seeds. If you will kill weeds using ash, let your soil rest for about 2 weeks before planting.
5. Serves as to fill mouse holes
Fill mouse holes with wood ash and compact it but you need to refill it once in while. It is one of our problem as farmer and gardener because they are eating our plants. So fill those holes and get rid of these mice.
6. Kill ant mounds
Sprinkle a good amount of ash over the mound of ant to get rid of ants in your garden.
7. Use as a cleaner
Did you know that ash can be used as a cleaning agent? Wood ash can clean and sanitized your clothes, floors, windows, silverwares, plates and even remove rusts. To make it, simply boil 2-3 spoons of ash with water and filter it with cloth or coffee filter. The water can be used to as cleaner.
8. It can deter pests
Sprinkle some amount of ash around your plants but not in the base of the plant, to deter pests. This will keep slugs away.
9. Make a soap out of ash
I haven’t tried this and if you try this and successfully made a soap out of wood ash, please give us a feedback. It is a long process and the soap is a traditional one not like the commercial soaps you are buying from the supermarket. You can see the procedure here in Mother Earth News website.
10. Keeps tomato fresh
Putting your tomatoes in a bucket of ash will keep it fresh and it will last long.