The Q&A Archives: Backyard Composting

Question: Are there any benefits to adding the ashes from our outdoor fire pit to my compost pile? I only burn fallen dead tree branches and occasionally some dead leaves. The compost goes into my vegetable garden. Thanks!

Answer: Wood ash has trace elements that are good for plants. A small amount added to a large compost pile is probably fine. The danger though is that concentrated doses of wood ash can upset the decomposition process. You can safely throw a shovelful of ashes between the layers in your compost bin, just don't overdo things. If you have lots of wood ash, you can counteract it with an equal amount of fresh cow manure. Hope this provides some guidance!

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