This winter I installed a wood burning stove. Evenings inside are toastier, but outside any garden plants that produce woody growth are trembling with fear that they might be next for kindling (so far a ragged holly bush has gone up in smoke and I’m already thinking I have one wooden shed too many).
But there is a benefit for the garden in the form of post-fire wood ash. Here are six uses, let us know if you have any more.*
Flamin’ groovy. Wood ash contains nutrients, specifically potassium, which is good for the garden and especially groovy for worms. Sprinkle sparingly in the compost.
Ring of fire. Use as a mulch around plants but avoid using it on acid lovers such as raspberries. Slugs might also think twice about traversing the slime-sapping substance.
Fire walk with me. Sprinkle it over slippery paths to improve traction between stone and welly.
Play with fire. Take advantage of its visibility against mud by making playful art in the garden. Or, more usefully, use it to mark out boundaries for planting schemes.
Fire and water. A damp cloth dipped into a bit of ash is a useful weapon against dirty glass. Greenhouse owners take note.
Fire and ice. Ash helps speed up the thawing of ice and can also guard against light frosts.
*And if you can come up with better musically firey puns, please do…