Better Call Mr Ash

Ever since I began farming I have insisted and told my man-Friday Mangal: Don’t ever burn.
And he has never done otherwise.
wood ash
While my neighbours have continued burning leaves, twigs and branches my farm has never witnessed a matchstick being struck. However, my recent readings have made me realize that most of the organic materials used in making compost do not have adequate amounts of potassium. Forcing me to rethink my strategies.
Wood ash has a good amount of potash and that’s why it is recommended for incorporation into the compost. One can add ash after every layer of compost to ensure that the trace elements in the ash are incorporated into the soil. When added to compost, ash can also help neutralise acidity in the compost as it is more alkaline in nature.
Ash is composed of many major and minor elements that trees need for growth. Since most of these elements are extracted from the soil and atmosphere during the tree’s growth, they are common in our environment and are also essential in the production of crops and forages.
Calcium is the most abundant element in wood ash and gives ash properties similar to agricultural lime. Ash is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. In terms of commercial fertilizer, average wood ash would be about 0-1-3 (N-P-K). In addition to these macro-nutrients, wood ash is a good source of many micronutrients needed in trace amounts for adequate plant growth. Wood ash contains few elements that pose environmental problems.
Nitrogen fertilizers often lower the soil pH, which makes neutralizing agents such as lime or wood ash a necessity.
Sprinkled lightly about susceptible plants, wood ashes will irritate slugs’ moist bodies and repel them. The repellent effect will disappear after rain or irrigation dissolves the ashes
Ash from charcoal is not beneficial as it has some chemicals that may be present in high concentrations.


Sources:
http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=B1142;/https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2279e/ http://theorganicfarmer.org/content/importance-ash-compost\ http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/wood-ash-can-be-useful-yard-if-used-caution

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