wood ash

Asked December 4, 2012, 4:35 PM EST

I have been putting my wood ashes in our veg. garden (345 sq. ft.) for the last couple of years. I also add six-three cu.ft. bails of peat moss, a large amount of un-composted leaves and till it all in. Reading up on wood ash, I think I've been adding too much,and how can I counter act the excess wood ash in the garden, or is the peat moss counter acting it? Its been a great garden and has produced well until of late. Our tomatoes for the first time have all suffered blossom end rot and what about using kelp meal as a growth enhancer?Any help would be greatly accepted, thank you? rich.

Kent County Delaware mulch horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

It looks like you are in Delaware? Is your soil normally acid? If so,there is less problem than if you are in the midwest where the soil is alkaline where adding wood ash makes the soil more alkaline. The best thing to do would get a soil test so you can know the pH of your soil. If it is alkaline (a pH higher than 7) then quit adding the ash. If it is more acid (below 7) then the wood ash would not seem to be a problem. Blossom end rot is caused by uneven and/or excessive periods of high heat. When soil gets very dry, and then the tomatoes get watered, the water rushes through the plant and the nutrients are bypassing the fruit and going to the leaves. A similar thing happens when there is excessive heat- the water is being pulled rapidly from the plant through the leaves, and is not able to nourish the fruit. The problem usually is with the first fruits. It also happens in peppers, and squash. The University Of Nebraska has a helpful publication about blossom end rot and how to manage it at: www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/g1752.pdf