use wood ashes instead of lime?

Asked July 27, 2016, 6:25 PM EDT

Can wood ashes be used to lower the ph of a vegetable garden instead of lime? In response to a previous question Ask An Expert told me that wood ashes will lower the ph of a lawn just as lime does but that it is less effective. I want to use ashes from my fire place on part of my vegetable garden but was once cautioned by someone to do so only sparingly. Howeve, an acquaintance who sometimes uses his fireplace ashes on his lawn says there are no adverse effects. I realize that that the amount used has to be measured in order to avoid lowering the ph too much and I have a test instrument that measures I can test the ph before and after. Do you think that I can go ahead? If so, should I also spray the soil with a hose after I spread a layer of ashes over the top?

Charles County Maryland

1 Response

If you want to use wood ash on your vegetable garden, we would suggest applying them thinly right before you dig it up in the fall. That way the ashes will be well incorporated into the soil. You will not need to spray with a hose at that time. There is huge variation among home pH meters and we cannot attest to their accuracy. vw