In the current heatwave, there may not be much ash produced by your wood burning stove, in fact the chances are your stove would still very much be in it’s summer hibernation mode, having not produced an ounce of ash or heat since the Beast of the East took hold back in February/March.
This will quickly change in a few months from now however. When it does, what do you do with your ash?
After letting it cool, most will dispose of it in the waste. However, there are some ingenious ways to make good use of your ash. What better way to make the most from your sustainable heating source than to use the ash, once it’s provided it’s purpose of keeping you warm.
Inset Repellant – Wood ash is a great, non-chemical way to help repel insects, you can add to your borders and it can help repel slugs and snails, among other pests.
Fertiliser – Ash comes from trees, which would have been full of nutrients – there still are nutrients available long after the wood has been turned to ash. As a result you can use ash as a basic fertiliser. It’s free and takes about as much effort as dropping into the bin (not including the digging!).
Please note that adding ash will temporally increase the PH of your soil. If your soil has a PH of around 6 to 6.5 then adding around 15 to 20lbs of ash will not have a huge impact on it’s PH. However, if your soil PH is 7 or more, then you should not use ash in your soil.
It Controls Algae – Ash is a great way to control algae, ideal if you have a pond. It slows down the production of algae and so is a great addition to help combat the troublesome green stuff!
Composting Ash – You can certainly compost your ash. However, remember that adding too much can slow down the decaying process and neutralise any fertiliser, so if you are planning to use the compost on any acid loving plants, avoid or limit the amount of ash you add.
Cleaning – Ash is great for cleaning, and that includes the cleaning of stove window glass too. It has a slightly abrasive feel and so, where appropriate it can be used to remove stains and marks. It is also ideal for covering stains on external brick works and patios too.
Melting Ice – Ash can melt ice and so is great to use on icy walk and drive ways if you have no salt handy.
What about soap? – Rather amazingly you can use wood ash to make soap. This is rather a long process, but if you look online you will be able to find various videos and instructions on how to do this.