Using wood ash

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We have a couple of wood burners that are heavily used from autumn until spring.  They produce a lot of wood ash.  An awful lot, in fact.  The wood is all untreated (much of it having been cut from our own trees) and it is therefore perfectly safe to use on the garden.  The soil here is heavy clay.  It is highly fertile (our local farmer delights in saying that “You can shove a stick in ‘ere and it’ll sprout”) but hard to work and becomes absolutely saturated in wet weather.  It is also slightly acidic.  Wood ash is ideal: it is alkaline and therefore raises the soil pH but it is also gritty and helps to build some structure.  Best of all, it’s basically free.  We put small quantities of ash onto our compost heaps but most of it is spread directly onto the borders to work its magic.

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