Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday!

Last week I came by a lovely bucketful of wood ash. This is a wonderful fertilizer containing potassium... if you think about it... potash..... anyway you can save any wood ash from bonfires or log fires to put on the fruit trees in your garden. Please don't use just any old bonfire ashes, it must be wood ash. While I'm on the subject of soft fruit, this time of year you can do a simple piece of maintenance on your goosberry bushes. Just scrape the top inch of soil away around the surface of the soil under your gooseberry bush (if you are really lucky you might find a baby boy or girl there) this exposes the soil in which the gooseberry sawfly has laid its eggs and larvae will hatch soon and demolish your foliage. This time of year, the hungry birds will soon peck away at the exposed soil and eat all the eggs and larvae - this really worked for me last year - saves having to use a pesticide spray later in the year.
Soft fruit will benefit from this potash feed early in the season, strawberries..
blueberries...
Loganberries, raspberries, and particularly your apple trees! Give your apple trees a helpful start to the season!
The latest report from under the black dustbin reveals that my forced rhubarb has nearly doubled in size in just 4 days! (see previous post). Finally, just to let you know that Matron is giving up shopping in supermarkets for Lent!! Had my last visit to Sainsbury's today!

18 Comments:

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

Mmmm... Sawfly lavae erradication - a perfect project to give the under-gardeners ;-)

Celia
x

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

I wonder if that goes for the saw flies that do for my solomon's Seal every year? Don't get any bother with the gooseberry.

Veg Heaven is giving up wine for Lent. (The heaviest bit of my supermarket shopping!) Having my lst glass of red later.

 
At 7:24 PM, Blogger dinzie said...

Potash is good for your tomato plants as well later on :O)

Rhubarb looking good ...only planted mine a few month back so have to leave it....

D

 
At 7:37 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Hi, if I cannot get a supply of bonfire ash is commercial potash suitable and also applied now?

 
At 10:16 PM, Blogger Gary Jen Sammie and Ruby said...

Hi Matron,
I hope your wood ash is old ? Generally I keep it for about a year before I use it, as fresh ash is too acidic. Unfortunately I'm out of available stuff right now, but a friend of mine has a wood burning stove ....

Rhubarb looks good too.

Seems you've been busy!

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Dan said...

I tossed a big box of wood ash away well I was staying at a cabin up north. Now I am thinking I should have kept it.

 
At 7:56 AM, Blogger Tattyanne said...

Thanks for the tip about the gooseberry sawfly Matron. I will definitely put that on my list of things to do today. Tatty

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

Ahh, wood ash. We had a lovely big bag of wood ash that we gathered up whilst using a log burner in a little cottage in Fermanaghover chrsitmas. Looking forward to using it for the first time until...my hubby through it in the bin!!!!!!!! Men.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger Curmudgeon said...

Yikes! I missed Fat Tuesday! So rumor has it that you are going to be an honorary visiting SAGBUTT. Most exciting news. And if you need a doggy fix, I'm sure our Diva Dog would be happy to oblige.
--Curmudgeon

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger Eco Gites of Lenault said...

If wood ash is initially too acidic do you think you could mix it with something to make it more alkaline - like lime?

And likewise my forced rhubarb is growlundandeing like mad too - oooooh, nearly time for a rhubarb crumble!

Rosie x

 
At 9:20 PM, OpenID AnneTanne said...

We always collect the ash from the wood stove for the garden... Sometimes for the trees in the orchard, sometimes for the tomatoes, and sometimes just in the hawthornhedge.

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

When I came back from my last trip I saw that my housekeeper had trimmed some branches and burned them-I did collect the ash left and added them to pots. I recycle all kitchen waste and water everyday. Its easy here as I can just throw the Kitchen waste at the base of a plant/pot and in a couple days its dried, and in a month broken down.

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

I have a woodstove and use the ash for my garden, especially for fruit bushes. Thanks for the tip about exposing the soil beneath the gooseberries!

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Ms Idler said...

Thanks for the tips on the wood ash - just had a few bonfires to clear some space so will now put the ash to good use!

 
At 5:04 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Peggy - I don't know about commercial potash, but potash is one of the general ingredients in plant fertilizer, and it is highest in feeds that are marketed as 'tomato food'
Eco Gites - I don't think it is all that acidic, not a problem for me because I have acidic soil anyway. If you do keep it, do so in a buchet in the dry. If it is outside all the goodness will be leached away.

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger tina said...

Hi Matron, Thanks for the info on the wood ash and gooseberries. I will be scraping the soil this week. A friend of mine is giving me some ash too so I'll be sure to sprinkle some on my soft fruits. In the past I usually just use it in my compost and on bulbs.

I am happy to hear that your tits are our chickadees!

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger Eco Gites of Lenault said...

What a brilliant thing to give up for Lent - Supermarkets. Well done you.

Rosie x

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous islandgal said...

hello from Barbados,

I have just burnt all my yard stuff and have lots of ash Lots of coconut branches, tree branches, grass and leaves. I was going to use it around my fruit trees as my mother instructed me to do. I have some strawberries and you have given me the info I needed. I never thought of that and thank you for the tip.

 

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