What to do with ashes........

Discussion in 'Composting' started by oldschoolbbq, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thinking bach a bunch of years, I remember reading where Hardwood ashes were great for adding nutrients to the ground( Pottasium I think). I scatter my ashes on the lawn when cooled and sieved for chunks and it seems to make it grow better and greener.[​IMG].

    Has anyone done this,it may make Chiles better also...

    Just a thought[​IMG]
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey Stan you are right as usual...Here is a great article that specifies the best use for Wood Ash...JJ


    This article goes into a discussion of the best fertilizer for Chiles...While it indicates Chiles benefit from Potassium they prefer a Neutral or slightly Acidic Soil for best nutrient uptake, so too much Wood Ash would make the soil too Alkaline and inhibit growth...

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Interesting, I may start putting some in our garden.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I know when I was younger I used to help an old boss with his fruit trees and we used to put pot ash around the base of his trees. It was suppose to help with the production of fruit. Now I do know that his trees put off alot of fruit so maybe that is a use that is good for you.
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks,JJ[​IMG],I'll never remember how I remembered that , oldstimers I guess[​IMG]
  6. I might add that ash from wood or natural charcoal would be fine, but ash from briquettes contains who knows what.  And though wood ash does contain potassium, it isn't enough to be considered fertilizer.  Now if you have some saltpeter laying around, that's GREAT fertilizer...
  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes and no?  And I am no expert!

    Way back when, we were told to dig the ashes into our soil and everything would be wonderful.  Now I am reading that too much of that stuff causes problems.

    Having said that, back then we burned all our trash?

    Actually, we knew it was spring when dad burned the piles of leaves after he let us jump and play in it.  Aside from the falling temps, it was the smell of burning leaves that let us know that Fall was upon us.  Isn't it wonderful that our kids and grandkids will never again have these memories?

    My ashes go in the trash.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    An old fart moment.

    We knew it was Fall, when we smelled the sweet burning leaves.  My bad!  LOLOL

    Actually we had other rituals for spring, like digging worms for fishing.  Is that still legal?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  9. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Well I am an ol timer and I have always put ashes in my garden from my fireplace don`t have any from smoking...
  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have been putting them in Mrs. Scar's rose garden and all I can tell you is we have great looking roses.
  11. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    i read through the article...is says not to use coal cause there are chemicals in it.  if i'm using standard kingsford charcoal (not the ready-lit stuff)...is it safe to assume there are no chemicals in it since it's just condensed smoked wood pieces? or is this still unsafe?
  12. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    don't know about safety, but I know Kingsford, etc. use a lot of binders in the mix to get those consistent briquettes -- something I would not throw into my vegetable garden.  the rest of the garden I wouldn't worry about so much...
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Stan, wood ashes have lots of nutrients for plant growth.... Get some ammonium sulfate to acidify the alkalinity of the ashes... it also adds nitrogen to the soil.... Dave.....

    How are the stones treating you, by the way....
  14. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think you'd be OK with either. Even with the ready light stuff, the ignition aid would be burned away by the time there was nothing but ash left.
  15. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here's the official ingredient list from Kingsford.

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Here is the official ingredient list for Kingsford Charcoal Briquets from a company press release, including the purpose of each ingredient in parentheses. The explanation after each ingredient is my own.[/font]
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Wood char  (Heat source)
      This is simply the wood by-products I mentioned above, burned down into charcoal—almost pure carbon. In the case of Kingsford, they use woods like fir, cedar, and alder that are local to the regions in which they operate—Burnside and Summer Shade, Kentucky; Glen, Mississippi; Belle, Missouri; Springfield, Oregon; and Beryl and Parsons, West Virginia.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Mineral char  (Heat source)
      This is a geologically young form of coal with a soft, brown texture. It helps Kingsford burn hotter and longer than a plain charcoal briquette. As with the wood, Kingsford heats this material in an oxygen-controlled environment, eliminating water, nitrogen, and other elements, leaving behind—almost pure carbon.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Mineral carbon  (Heat source)
      This is anthracite coal, the old, hard, black stuff once commonly used for home heating. It helps Kingsford burn hotter and longer than a plain charcoal briquette. It's already 86-98% pure carbon, but once again, Kingsford processes it in an oxygen-controlled environment, leaving behind—almost pure carbon.
      What exactly is coal, you ask? "Nasty stuff," some folks say. Well, coal is a fossil fuel, most of which was formed more than 300 million years ago. To make a really, really long story short: Plants and trees died, sank to the bottom of swampy areas, accumulated into many layers, then geologic processes covered the stuff with sand, clay, and rock, and the combination of heat and pressure converted it into what we call coal.
      So, coal is really old plant material that can be processed into almost pure carbon. Charcoal is wood that is burned down into almost pure carbon. Not much difference, in my book. End of coal lesson.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Limestone  (Uniform visual ashing)
      Limestone creates the pretty, white coating of ash you see after lighting the briquettes. Limestone is a sedimentary rock consisting of calcium carbonate—also found in egg shells, antacids, and calcium dietary supplements.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Starch  (Binder)
      As mentioned above, starch is used to hold briquettes together, and is found in corn, wheat, potatoes, and rice.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Borax  (Press release)
      Borax is used in small amounts to help briquettes release from the molds. But isn't Borax a detergent? Well, yes, it is, but it's actually a naturally-occurring mineral that is non-toxic in the quantities we're talking about in a briquette. It consists of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. You already know what oxygen and water are. Sodium is a common element found in lots of stuff we eat, including salt. Boron is an element that is necessary in small quantities for plant growth. Borax is commonly used in cosmetics and medicines.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Sodium nitrate  (Ignition aid)
      This is the same stuff used to cure meat. According to Robert L. Wolke, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, sodium nitrate gives off oxygen when heated, helping the briquettes to light faster.
    • [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Sawdust  (Ignition aid)
      Sawdust burns quickly, helping the briquettes to light faster.
  16. msiferllc

    msiferllc Newbie

    Ashes are a great source of potassium, just don't over-do it.
  17. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Jees AK1

    GREAT post.  Learned a lot.  Thank you!!!!

    All the ashes from my fireplace (mainly birch, spruce, and pine) and my charcoal smoker (birch, willow, apple, cherry, and charcoal) go onto my compost pile. Of course, since I'm mowing a full acre of lawn once a week, my compost pile is about 4 ft tall by 6 ft diameter--ashes are a very small content.  Might just start spreading them on the grass--never thought of that.  My side and front lawns each got 20 ton of 8 year old steer manure (I can just stand there and watch them grow), but my back lawn was put in first and didn't get any--hadn't met my rancher buddy then.  Sad to say, the clay on my property is about 150 feet deep--no topsoil.  


Share This Page