Ash Soil - Knowledgebase Question

Watertown, Co
Avatar for holycrosskid
Question by holycrosskid
March 2, 2010
We recently had a huge log and stick pile burned and I decided I would use it for growing some corn and giant pumpkins. The soil is quite ashy and I don't know if that's okay? Also what can I do to improve it? The area is about 50' x 50'

Answer from NGA
March 2, 2010
The standard application rate for ashes is a one-gallon bucket of ashes per square yard on loam to clay-loam soil, and half as much on sandier soils. Ashes can neutralize acidic soils but really throw off the pH in alkaline soils so you'll want to have the soil tested before planting anything in it. I suspect that the ashy area contains far too much in volume for successful gardening. I'd shovel and bag it up to use throughout the yard. You can save dry ashes for a number of years if you have a place to store it (bag it up in leaf or yard waste plastic bags to keep it dry during storage). Eventually the ashes will decompose and you'll be able to plant in the area. To help, mix in some compost or other organic material and have the soil tested every year or two. It will take time, but eventually you'll be able to plant there.

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