Ashes from the Fireplace

 Hi, I'm Laura, Linda's daughter, and I own a greenhouse - a small one attached to my house. I'm doing a post every week on a Friday for my Mom about plants and what's happening at the greenhouse, MY greenhouse. I'm learning as I go and I'm sharing it with you all.
 Have a great weekend.








 To save on the cost of oil heat this winter, I bought a wood burning fireplace insert.  My Quadrafire 5100i is a non-catalytic wood burning fireplace.  Just to briefly review, the fireplace burns wood then re-burns the gases from the wood for a longer more efficient burn.  Less wood, longer burn times =  ashes from the fireplace.





  Since we only burn seasoned wood in the fireplace, I figured there must be something we could do with the ash.  It is organic and I hate to waste anything.  So I did some research and found the most common use is for composting.  We started a compost heap this past fall and I have used the little ash that we have for that, but there's more...

Here's the ash bin. I'm putting ash in the compost pile.



 This is me, Laura, working the compost bin.









I found a website that I feel is worth checking out.  http://woodburningstovesreviews.net/
This website gives a lot of information on wood burning stoves, and what to do with the leftover ashes. Here's an overview of the uses they suggest, and of course my opinion.  :)


 1. Sprinkle a light layer of ashes in between your organic matter to balance out the nutrients in your COMPOST PILE.  - We started a compost pile this past fall.  We'll have to keep you posted this spring.

2.  A ring of ash around plants can keep some GARDEN PESTS AWAY.  - I'll let you know if the slugs eat my nasturtiums again this year.

3. A tbsp of ash per 1000 gallons of water will SUPPRESS POND ALGAE & allow your aquatic plants to grow.  - I don't have a pond... yet...  :)

4.  As a FERTILIZER for calcium loving veggies such as tomatoes, corn, cucumber and asparagus.  Put 1/4 cup cup of ash into the hole then plant.

5.  MELTING ICE

6.  Dust bath to control bird mites.

7.  Making soap

8.  ODOR NEUTRALIZER in compost heaps, chicken coops, and even skunked pets.  They even suggested packaging it in a T-shirt type material to make odor eaters for stinky shoes.  -  I might have to remember this one in case my puppy, Molly should happen to get sprayed by a skunk one night.

9. CLEANING the wood stove's glass door with a moist sponge dipped in ashes or hiding stains like wet paint on concrete.

10. Make a paste of water and ash to POLISH YOUR SILVER.

I am very excited about some of these new found uses for ashes.  I'm not so sure I'll be trying some of these suggestions such as the soap or dust baths for the birds, so if you try or have tried any of these suggestions, please let us know how it's worked for you.

I did a post over on Hometalk and there were lots of comments about other ways to use fireplace wood ashes. Here are a few of them:

Update: Brenda mentioned that if you want to take hair dye off your hands, rub some wood ash on them. It works, she says! Thanks, Brenda!

Jim from Texas:  "You can also coat your cut potatoes with ashes before you plant the chunks in the spring. It seals the outside of the fresh cut and keeps the potato from rotting when they are planted."

Cherie from New Jersey: "I use them to clean out the oven. I use a green scrubby sponge, wet the oven a bit with a spray of water, and scrub down the oven with the wood ashes. It really works, and it's better (and cheaper) than using harsh nasty chemicals or even cleanser. The final cleanup is much easier too: the ashes and grit just wipe right off."

 Tonya from Minnesota: "Ash also helps to nuetralize acidic soil, so if you have a pine tree die (or other acid loving plant) and want to plant something that likes sweeter soil, you can work ash into the area to help with that."

Deb from Iowa:  "We use it in our garden, helps for potato bugs and other garden critters." 

Cherie from New Jersey: "I use them to clean out the oven. I use a green scrubby sponge, wet the oven a bit with a spray of water, and scrub down the oven with the wood ashes. It really works, and it's better (and cheaper) than using harsh nasty chemicals or even cleanser. The final cleanup is much easier too: the ashes and grit just wipe right off." 

Cyndi from Idaho:  "Sprinkle on an icy or snow packed road it helps create traction and acts as a snow melter."


 Did you find any good uses for ashes? If so, I'd love for you to share them with us.










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I am the crafter extraordinaire (on this blog anyway.) I live with my husband, my son, David, in a cozy cape cod style house in Connecticut.

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