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5 REASONS TO STASH THE ASH

With an extensive list of well documented benefits including carbon reduction and reduced energy bills, its no surprise that the positive features of a wood burning stove combined with the obvious aesthetic beauty, make it the most desirable and aspirational item for the modern home.

However, did you know that your stove can also help to grow vegetables and can even make your garden bloom? What’s more, it won’t cost you a penny! How is this possible? The answer is in the contents of your ash pan. This powdery residue, so often destined for the waste bin, can be used in multiple ways. As we head into the height of summer we have pulled together the following top tips to help your garden bloom to its full potential.

Here are our top 5 reasons why you should stash your ash:

1 – Blooming Marvellous

Ash is a wonderful ingredient for your compost heap. As a natural source of potassium, your wood burning ash may contain levels of this plant nutrient essential for flowering and fruiting. The age of the wood that is burnt in your stove will determine the levels of potassium in your stove ash.  Mix layers of your wood ash into your compost heap adding screwed up paper and card to aid circulation and absorb excess moisture.

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2 – All Creatures Great and Small

Slugs, snails and insects can cause chaos with fruit, plants and vegetables patches. However, creating small walls or channels of ash around your produce and plants will send these little creatures on their way, leaving your plants to blossom. For best results create a channel above the soil with some guttering or a wide hose with the top removed and fill it with your ashes. It is important to remember that although they are a nuisance, these little creatures do have their benefits, such as turning plant material into compost (which is great for your compost heap). So think twice before using a commercial slug killer, which can also be toxic to birds and other wildlife, and opt for the organic animal friendly solution from your ash pan.

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3 – Leading The Way

Take your ash a step further and incorporate it into your garden landscape designs. Ash can be used to create a garden path by sprinkling your ash onto the ground. The ash will compact underfoot, building your garden path.

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4 – The Big Freeze

As summer rolls into autumn it’s best to be prepared for the chilly months ahead. Your stove ash contains potassium carbonate which is a type of salt, meaning that your ash is ideal for breaking up ice or snow on your driveway or walkway. The widespread use of rock salt containing Sodium Chloride has proved to have negative environmental effects by producing bodies of toxic water which are extremely harmful to plants and animals. Unlike rock salt, your ash won’t corrode surfaces or harm animals or plants. Opt for the safe, natural and eco-friendly alternative found in your ash pan. Plus, you can add a layer of ash over vulnerable plants over the winter period which will act as a winter coat protecting them from the harmful effects of frost.

Winter-squrrel

5 – Beauty Secret

If you are lucky enough to keep chickens in your back yard, your ash can be used as a chicken dust bath to help to keep your chickens clean and mite free. Mix a shovel of sand with your stove ash to create your chicken beauty treatment. The sand will weigh down the ash and stop it from blowing away. Place a pile of the dust in the corner of the chicken coop and allow them to wriggle in it at their leisure.Who would have thought that stove ash could have so many uses and this is only a small selection of the capabilities. So think twice the next time you empty your ash bin, you never know when you may need it.

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