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Fire Pit Ashes

Can you spread fire pit ashes on your garden?  Is it good for the soil?

It depends on your soil.  I feel the benefits of using wood ash do not outweigh the disadvantages for most garden situations.  Wood ash contains potassium, phosphate, boron and other elements and raises the pH of the soil.  Do not add wood ash if your soil is alkaline (high pH) or contains adequate to excessive amounts of any of these nutrients.  Many urban and highly cultivated soils are high to excessive in phosphorous and potassium.  Take a soil test before incorporating wood ash into the garden.  If you decide to use ash as a soil amendment, keep it away from seedlings and plant roots.  Contact with wood ash can burn the roots.  Never use coal ash or large amounts of wood ash.  Both can be toxic to your plants. The University of Iowa recommends applying no more than 20 pounds (about a five gallon bucket) of wood ash to 1000 square feet of lawn and gardens  in late winter or early spring where the pH is below 7.0.


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