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ThisOldGarageNJ 10-09-2009 04:25 PM

***Ashes To Ashes***
Out of curiousity, What do most of you do with your ashes from your ovens ??
are they helpful to the garden ?? Any Other suggestions ??


RTflorida 10-09-2009 04:59 PM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
hate to say it.....TRASH. I have a trash can lined with a trash bag in my outdoor kitchen are, I just dump my ash pail in it when full.


egalecki 10-09-2009 05:53 PM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
I have a big galvanized can I haven't dumped yet, but I was thinking about sifting it over another can thru some chicken wire to get the bigger chunks to use for charcoal and putting the rest in my compost heap.

Archena 10-09-2009 06:35 PM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
1. Compost - don't over do it. A little goes a long way in the garden.
2. Make soap. A lot of soap.
3. Insulation. Yes, really, but don't let it get wet.
4. Hearth cooking. Yes, really. See insulation.
5. Special effects for disaster movies.
6. Land fill - I hear fxpose is looking for some. Be nice and offer free shipping.
7. Diamonds - assuming you have a strong enough compactor... :D

Other ideas:

10 Uses for Wood Ashes | Fireplace | This Old House - 1

Serious but offbeat uses:
1. Cat box odor control. A little mixed in sand or clay helps (never clumping - really icky things happen). Requires a lot of prep but can be used to line bottom of box (great with sand or paper) - not worth it for a cattery of less than 10 adult cats.

2. Drawing - charcoals. Very messy but can be very impressive.

3. Weed control in side walks. Fill in the cracks really well. The stuff makes lye - in high concentrations it does bad things to plants.

ThisOldGarageNJ 10-10-2009 03:57 AM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***

2. Make soap. A lot of soap.
Arch,, are you serioous, can you really make soap out of ashes ??


7. Pump up tomatoes. For the calcium-loving plants, McGrath places 1/4 cup right in the hole when planting
I will certainly be doing this one next year, But that still leaves a lot of ashes,,, definitely the compost pile too..

I just feel like its a shame to let all this by product go to the dumps where we aleady have too much stuff

Archena 10-10-2009 04:24 AM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***

Originally Posted by ThisOldGarageNJ (Post 67220)
Arch,, are you serioous, can you really make soap out of ashes ??


Yup. Wood ash supplies the lye. It's actually the original way to make soap.


Originally Posted by Mother Earth News
To make lye in the kitchen, boil the ashes from a hardwood fire (soft woods are too resinous to mix with fat) in a little soft water (rain water is best) for about half an hour. Allow the ashes to settle to the bottom of the pan and then skim the liquid lye off the top. You can do this daily and when you've got enough of the weak solution start the soap making process by boiling the liquid down until it'll float an egg. (One word of caution: DON'T use aluminum dishes or pots. The lye will eat right through `em!)



Originally Posted by Soap Factory
But by far the most common soap was made from potash and pearlash. Potash and pearlash are forms of the potassium based alkali present in plant and wood material. Potash and pearlash soaps were used by everyone from the reigning monarchs to the peasant or cottager, who made their own soap from the waste fats and ashes they saved.

Colonial Soap Making. Its History and Techniques

ThisOldGarageNJ 10-10-2009 04:36 AM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
thats too cool, may have to give it a try,,, Isnt lye kinda caustic though ??

Archena 10-10-2009 04:43 AM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
"Kinda" doesn't begin to cover it. Lye is very caustic so play carefully.

ThisOldGarageNJ 10-10-2009 08:05 PM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
ok did a little research and came up with the following.

Ash contains potash (potassium carbonate), phosphate, iron, manganese, boron, copper and zinc and can be quite beneficial as a natural fertilizer... sometimes. Wood ash increases the pH or alkalinity of soil, so use sparingly. I made the mistake of applying a stack of it in an area full of limestone - and guess what else is in ash - lime (calcium oxide). It wasn't the smartest move and I don't think anything will be growing there for a while. Black charcoal is a little different in that it has a much higher ratio of carbon - so this can be used more liberally.


Dip a damp rag into ash and use to clean silverware, brass and glass. Ash added to a scourer can also give your scouring a bit more oomph.

No great stuff,, they did also say it makes a great ice melter, I dont know that I would be wanting to track it thru the house though,,,,

jmhepworth 10-10-2009 08:18 PM

Re: ***Ashes To Ashes***
Out here in the West putting the ashes on the garden is a really bad idea. We have alkaline soil as it is. I just dump it in the trash (after making really sure its not still hot).

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