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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Gajin Tokuno / wood ashes

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  • Michael Meredith
    http://www.geotimes.org/webcasts/article.html?id=char.html http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0411-terra_preta.html charcoal ________________________________ From:
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 31, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      http://www.geotimes.org/webcasts/article.html?id=char.html

      http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0411-terra_preta.html
      charcoal




      ________________________________
      From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...>
      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 7:42:32 PM
      Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Gajin Tokuno / wood ashes


      We heat with wood and I use the ashes in the garden, lots of them . .
      . But we live in a high rainfall area where the soils tend to be a
      bit on the acidic side.

      In low rainfall areas, especially if the soil tends towards alkaline,
      the ashes can be problematic if not used sparingly . . .

      Ashes actually are high in calcium, which soils in high rainfall areas
      tend to be low in . . . They are low in nitrogen and sulfur, but
      otherwise provide all the minerals plants need. However, these
      minerals have been changed into an inorganic form, so it is very
      useful to also add plenty of organic matter.

      The areas that I have been using plenty of ashes and mulch, the soil
      has a beautiful crumbly texture . . . My greens and garlic love it,
      and nothing at all seems to complain . . .

      Harvest
      http://harvestsgard eningsecrets. blogspot. com/

      --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Michael Meredith
      <meredith848@ ...> wrote:
      >
      > Wood ashes are good, but the charcoal is probably better.
      > Michael
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ____________ _________ _________ __
      > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ ...>
      > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
      > Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:25:42 AM
      > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
      >
      >
      > Bob,
      >
      > Why would a natural farmer not use wood ashes?
      >
      > Dieter
      >
      > On 12/31/08, Michael Meredith <meredith848@ yahoo.com> wrote:
      > > OK< so who's doing azomite, charcoal , and sonic bloom in their
      weed garden
      > > but me?
      > > Michael
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ____________ _________ _________ __
      > > From: Robert Monie <bobm20001@yahoo. com>
      > > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
      > > Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:30:01 PM
      > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
      > >
      > >
      > > Hi,
      > >
      > > Tokuno's "Let Nature Do the Growing' is available used on
      abebooks.com for
      > > about $5.95, if you want a copy. He was a splendid illustrator and
      his book
      > > (if you can get past the sometimes obscure translation of the
      plant names)
      > > is a great introduction to Asian vegetables for westerners not
      familiar with
      > > their appearance or how to grow them.
      > >
      > > But he was not a natural farmer or a forest gardener. He used
      wood ash and
      > > other ashes as fertilizer.
      > >
      > > Bob Monie
      > > New Orleans, La 70119
      > > Zone 8
      > >
      > > --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com> wrote:
      > >
      > > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com>
      > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
      > > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
      > > Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 3:36 AM
      > >
      > > Hank,
      > >
      > > I have heard about the author but I didn't read any of his books.
      > > Tokuno used to be an illustrator and author of children books. He
      > > even received a Manga award, if I remember correctly. In the 80s, he
      > > started writing gardening books on "how to grow vegetables without
      > > chemicals." His main interest appears to be "companion planting" and
      > > "growing vegetables in small spaces." He is the author of numerous
      > > books in Japanese and is generally associated with the broad spectrum
      > > of Natural Farming in Japan.
      > >
      > > Dieter Brand
      > > Portugal
      > >
      > > On 12/28/08, La Clarine Farm <laclarinefarm@ att.net> wrote:
      > >> Does anybody have any experiences with author Gajin Tokuno (wrote
      a book
      > >> called "Let Nature Do The Growing")? Any opinions?
      > >>
      > >> Thanks,
      > >>
      > >> Hank
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • La Clarine Farm
      Harvest, some claim that ashes will dry out a soil. Do you have any feeling that this occurs? -Hank
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 31, 2008
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        Harvest, some claim that ashes will dry out a soil. Do you have any
        feeling that this occurs?

        -Hank

        Harvest McCampbell wrote:
        >
        > We heat with wood and I use the ashes in the garden, lots of them . .
        > . But we live in a high rainfall area where the soils tend to be a
        > bit on the acidic side.
        >
        > In low rainfall areas, especially if the soil tends towards alkaline,
        > the ashes can be problematic if not used sparingly . . .
        >
        > Ashes actually are high in calcium, which soils in high rainfall areas
        > tend to be low in . . . They are low in nitrogen and sulfur, but
        > otherwise provide all the minerals plants need. However, these
        > minerals have been changed into an inorganic form, so it is very
        > useful to also add plenty of organic matter.
        >
        > The areas that I have been using plenty of ashes and mulch, the soil
        > has a beautiful crumbly texture . . . My greens and garlic love it,
        > and nothing at all seems to complain . . .
        >
        > Harvest
        > http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com/
        > <http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com/>
        >
        > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>, Michael Meredith
        > <meredith848@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Wood ashes are good, but the charcoal is probably better.
        > > Michael
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ________________________________
        > > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@...>
        > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
        > > Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:25:42 AM
        > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
        > >
        > >
        > > Bob,
        > >
        > > Why would a natural farmer not use wood ashes?
        > >
        > > Dieter
        > >
        > > On 12/31/08, Michael Meredith <meredith848@ yahoo.com> wrote:
        > > > OK< so who's doing azomite, charcoal , and sonic bloom in their
        > weed garden
        > > > but me?
        > > > Michael
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > ____________ _________ _________ __
        > > > From: Robert Monie <bobm20001@yahoo. com>
        > > > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
        > > > Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:30:01 PM
        > > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Hi,
        > > >
        > > > Tokuno's "Let Nature Do the Growing' is available used on
        > abebooks.com for
        > > > about $5.95, if you want a copy. He was a splendid illustrator and
        > his book
        > > > (if you can get past the sometimes obscure translation of the
        > plant names)
        > > > is a great introduction to Asian vegetables for westerners not
        > familiar with
        > > > their appearance or how to grow them.
        > > >
        > > > But he was not a natural farmer or a forest gardener. He used
        > wood ash and
        > > > other ashes as fertilizer.
        > > >
        > > > Bob Monie
        > > > New Orleans, La 70119
        > > > Zone 8
        > > >
        > > > --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com>
        > > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
        > > > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
        > > > Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 3:36 AM
        > > >
        > > > Hank,
        > > >
        > > > I have heard about the author but I didn't read any of his books.
        > > > Tokuno used to be an illustrator and author of children books. He
        > > > even received a Manga award, if I remember correctly. In the 80s, he
        > > > started writing gardening books on "how to grow vegetables without
        > > > chemicals." His main interest appears to be "companion planting" and
        > > > "growing vegetables in small spaces." He is the author of numerous
        > > > books in Japanese and is generally associated with the broad spectrum
        > > > of Natural Farming in Japan.
        > > >
        > > > Dieter Brand
        > > > Portugal
        > > >
        > > > On 12/28/08, La Clarine Farm <laclarinefarm@ att.net> wrote:
        > > >> Does anybody have any experiences with author Gajin Tokuno (wrote
        > a book
        > > >> called "Let Nature Do The Growing")? Any opinions?
        > > >>
        > > >> Thanks,
        > > >>
        > > >> Hank
        > > >>
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
        >
      • Michael Meredith
        Did I send you this one? What do you think of it?
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 1, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Did I send you this one?
          What do you think of it?

          http://newsagency.thecheers.org/Science/news_19828_Fertile-soil-in-ancient-Amazon-site-may-help-to-curb-global-warming.html

          Michael
          bigsculpture.org
          transparentroofing.com
          michaelsremodeling.com




          ________________________________
          From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@...>
          To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:25:42 AM
          Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno


          Bob,

          Why would a natural farmer not use wood ashes?

          Dieter

          On 12/31/08, Michael Meredith <meredith848@ yahoo.com> wrote:
          > OK< so who's doing azomite, charcoal , and sonic bloom in their weed garden
          > but me?
          > Michael
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ____________ _________ _________ __
          > From: Robert Monie <bobm20001@yahoo. com>
          > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
          > Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:30:01 PM
          > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
          >
          >
          > Hi,
          >
          > Tokuno's "Let Nature Do the Growing' is available used on abebooks.com for
          > about $5.95, if you want a copy. He was a splendid illustrator and his book
          > (if you can get past the sometimes obscure translation of the plant names)
          > is a great introduction to Asian vegetables for westerners not familiar with
          > their appearance or how to grow them.
          >
          > But he was not a natural farmer or a forest gardener. He used wood ash and
          > other ashes as fertilizer.
          >
          > Bob Monie
          > New Orleans, La 70119
          > Zone 8
          >
          > --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com> wrote:
          >
          > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com>
          > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
          > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
          > Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 3:36 AM
          >
          > Hank,
          >
          > I have heard about the author but I didn't read any of his books.
          > Tokuno used to be an illustrator and author of children books. He
          > even received a Manga award, if I remember correctly. In the 80s, he
          > started writing gardening books on "how to grow vegetables without
          > chemicals." His main interest appears to be "companion planting" and
          > "growing vegetables in small spaces." He is the author of numerous
          > books in Japanese and is generally associated with the broad spectrum
          > of Natural Farming in Japan.
          >
          > Dieter Brand
          > Portugal
          >
          > On 12/28/08, La Clarine Farm <laclarinefarm@ att.net> wrote:
          >> Does anybody have any experiences with author Gajin Tokuno (wrote a book
          >> called "Let Nature Do The Growing")? Any opinions?
          >>
          >> Thanks,
          >>
          >> Hank
          >>
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Harvest McCampbell
          Hi Hank . . . Rainfall here averages between 30 and 60 inches a year, and we burn wood and create ashes during the wet season . . . so, this is mearly
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 1, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Hank . . .

            Rainfall here averages between 30 and 60 inches a year, and we burn
            wood and create ashes during the wet season . . . so, this is mearly
            theoretical . . .

            But it seems that ashes may resemble salts in some ways, high in
            minerals and alkaline in nature .. . salts do tend to attract water,
            ashes may do the same . . .

            I think experience is the best judge . . . set up some test plots and
            try different things . . .

            Since burning anything releases carbon into the atmosphere, I would
            never make ashes on purpose, but since we do make them as a byproduct
            of heating, I am going to make the best use of them I can . . .

            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, La Clarine Farm
            <laclarinefarm@...> wrote:
            >
            > Harvest, some claim that ashes will dry out a soil. Do you have any
            > feeling that this occurs?
            >
            > -Hank
            >
            > Harvest McCampbell wrote:
            > >
            > > We heat with wood and I use the ashes in the garden, lots of them . .
            > > . But we live in a high rainfall area where the soils tend to be a
            > > bit on the acidic side.
            > >
            > > In low rainfall areas, especially if the soil tends towards alkaline,
            > > the ashes can be problematic if not used sparingly . . .
            > >
            > > Ashes actually are high in calcium, which soils in high rainfall areas
            > > tend to be low in . . . They are low in nitrogen and sulfur, but
            > > otherwise provide all the minerals plants need. However, these
            > > minerals have been changed into an inorganic form, so it is very
            > > useful to also add plenty of organic matter.
            > >
            > > The areas that I have been using plenty of ashes and mulch, the soil
            > > has a beautiful crumbly texture . . . My greens and garlic love it,
            > > and nothing at all seems to complain . . .
            > >
            > > Harvest
            > > http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com/
            > > <http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com/>
            > >
            > > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
            > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>, Michael Meredith
            > > <meredith848@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Wood ashes are good, but the charcoal is probably better.
            > > > Michael
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > ________________________________
            > > > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@>
            > > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
            > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
            > > > Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:25:42 AM
            > > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > Bob,
            > > >
            > > > Why would a natural farmer not use wood ashes?
            > > >
            > > > Dieter
            > > >
            > > > On 12/31/08, Michael Meredith <meredith848@ yahoo.com> wrote:
            > > > > OK< so who's doing azomite, charcoal , and sonic bloom in their
            > > weed garden
            > > > > but me?
            > > > > Michael
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > ____________ _________ _________ __
            > > > > From: Robert Monie <bobm20001@yahoo. com>
            > > > > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
            > > > > Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:30:01 PM
            > > > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > Hi,
            > > > >
            > > > > Tokuno's "Let Nature Do the Growing' is available used on
            > > abebooks.com for
            > > > > about $5.95, if you want a copy. He was a splendid illustrator and
            > > his book
            > > > > (if you can get past the sometimes obscure translation of the
            > > plant names)
            > > > > is a great introduction to Asian vegetables for westerners not
            > > familiar with
            > > > > their appearance or how to grow them.
            > > > >
            > > > > But he was not a natural farmer or a forest gardener. He used
            > > wood ash and
            > > > > other ashes as fertilizer.
            > > > >
            > > > > Bob Monie
            > > > > New Orleans, La 70119
            > > > > Zone 8
            > > > >
            > > > > --- On Mon, 12/29/08, Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com>
            wrote:
            > > > >
            > > > > From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@ gmail.com>
            > > > > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Gajin Tokuno
            > > > > To: fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com
            > > > > Date: Monday, December 29, 2008, 3:36 AM
            > > > >
            > > > > Hank,
            > > > >
            > > > > I have heard about the author but I didn't read any of his books.
            > > > > Tokuno used to be an illustrator and author of children books. He
            > > > > even received a Manga award, if I remember correctly. In the
            80s, he
            > > > > started writing gardening books on "how to grow vegetables without
            > > > > chemicals." His main interest appears to be "companion
            planting" and
            > > > > "growing vegetables in small spaces." He is the author of numerous
            > > > > books in Japanese and is generally associated with the broad
            spectrum
            > > > > of Natural Farming in Japan.
            > > > >
            > > > > Dieter Brand
            > > > > Portugal
            > > > >
            > > > > On 12/28/08, La Clarine Farm <laclarinefarm@ att.net> wrote:
            > > > >> Does anybody have any experiences with author Gajin Tokuno (wrote
            > > a book
            > > > >> called "Let Nature Do The Growing")? Any opinions?
            > > > >>
            > > > >> Thanks,
            > > > >>
            > > > >> Hank
            > > > >>
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > > >
            > >
            > >
            >
          • Dieter Brand
            Hank, Harvest, et al, We use some of our wood (only a tiny fraction of what grows back) for heating. On our clay soil, the effect of wood ashes is a bit like
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 2, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Hank, Harvest, et al,

              We use some of our wood (only a tiny fraction of what grows back) for heating.

              On our clay soil, the effect of wood ashes is a bit like that of lime:
              the solid light brown clay will turn into a crumblier darker soil. It
              would take too much time to set up test plots to do exact
              humidity-retaining tests. I have nevertheless no doubt that the
              crumblier soil structure can hold water better than pure clay.

              When I converted to Natural Farming five years ago, I stopped using
              the ashes in the garden and used it on the compost heap instead (some
              people recommend using ashes in compost) since I continued to make
              compost, even though a lot less than previously. However, I didn't
              like that very much because it was too much work to homogeneously mix
              the ashes with the compost, there would always remain some clumps of
              ashes in the heap. I also had the impression that the ashes did dry
              out the compost, but this really is a very subjective impression.

              Anyway, if my ever so non-scientific observations are correct, it
              could be that ashes do indeed have a drying-out effect in compost but
              that the overall effect on clay soil is positive.

              For a couple of years I just returned the ashes to the forest, but
              considering the positive effect the ashes have on our clay soil, I
              have now reverted to using the ashes in the garden and the fields.
              Anyway, spreading the ashes from one winter over an acre or two
              results in a very thin layer that shouldn't impact the soil biology
              too much.

              Fukuoka stopped using ashes in the garden when he noticed a negative
              effect on spiders and other insects living in the mulch near the
              ground. Obviously, the ashes would make the spider nets temporarily
              unusable. In my case, there are hardly any spiders in the garden
              during the winter anyways, and the ashes will be gone after a rain
              shower or irrigation.

              Hence, I concluded that, as long as the ashes are from our own hearth,
              to use wood ashes in the garden is consistent with Natural Farming as
              I understand it. To put them in the garbage would certainly be wrong.

              Dieter Brand
              Portugal
            • Michael Meredith
              Some people advocate mixing ashes and urine together to create a balanced fertilizer. Of course, we throw away so many valuable things. Michael
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 2, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Some people advocate mixing ashes and urine together to create a balanced fertilizer.
                Of course, we throw away so many valuable things.
                Michael




                ________________________________
                From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@...>
                To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, January 2, 2009 10:49:04 AM
                Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: was Gajin Tokuno now wood ashes


                Hank, Harvest, et al,

                We use some of our wood (only a tiny fraction of what grows back) for heating.

                On our clay soil, the effect of wood ashes is a bit like that of lime:
                the solid light brown clay will turn into a crumblier darker soil. It
                would take too much time to set up test plots to do exact
                humidity-retaining tests. I have nevertheless no doubt that the
                crumblier soil structure can hold water better than pure clay.

                When I converted to Natural Farming five years ago, I stopped using
                the ashes in the garden and used it on the compost heap instead (some
                people recommend using ashes in compost) since I continued to make
                compost, even though a lot less than previously. However, I didn't
                like that very much because it was too much work to homogeneously mix
                the ashes with the compost, there would always remain some clumps of
                ashes in the heap. I also had the impression that the ashes did dry
                out the compost, but this really is a very subjective impression.

                Anyway, if my ever so non-scientific observations are correct, it
                could be that ashes do indeed have a drying-out effect in compost but
                that the overall effect on clay soil is positive.

                For a couple of years I just returned the ashes to the forest, but
                considering the positive effect the ashes have on our clay soil, I
                have now reverted to using the ashes in the garden and the fields.
                Anyway, spreading the ashes from one winter over an acre or two
                results in a very thin layer that shouldn't impact the soil biology
                too much.

                Fukuoka stopped using ashes in the garden when he noticed a negative
                effect on spiders and other insects living in the mulch near the
                ground. Obviously, the ashes would make the spider nets temporarily
                unusable. In my case, there are hardly any spiders in the garden
                during the winter anyways, and the ashes will be gone after a rain
                shower or irrigation.

                Hence, I concluded that, as long as the ashes are from our own hearth,
                to use wood ashes in the garden is consistent with Natural Farming as
                I understand it. To put them in the garbage would certainly be wrong.

                Dieter Brand
                Portugal


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Harvest McCampbell
                Yes I think that is exactly right Dieter, the wood came from the soil, and if we are using it to create ashes it should be returned to the soil. Each of us
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 2, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Yes I think that is exactly right Dieter, the wood came from the soil,
                  and if we are using it to create ashes it should be returned to the
                  soil. Each of us needs to make our own observations on how this is
                  best done for our own gardens and farms . . .

                  Ashes were once used in soap making, in processing some foods, and I
                  am sure for other things as well . . . I think if we are producing
                  them, if possible we need to use them in a good way . . .

                  Harvest


                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Dieter Brand"
                  <brand.dieter@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hank, Harvest, et al,
                  >
                  > We use some of our wood (only a tiny fraction of what grows back)
                  for heating.
                  >
                  > On our clay soil, the effect of wood ashes is a bit like that of lime:
                  > the solid light brown clay will turn into a crumblier darker soil. It
                  > would take too much time to set up test plots to do exact
                  > humidity-retaining tests. I have nevertheless no doubt that the
                  > crumblier soil structure can hold water better than pure clay.
                  >
                  > When I converted to Natural Farming five years ago, I stopped using
                  > the ashes in the garden and used it on the compost heap instead (some
                  > people recommend using ashes in compost) since I continued to make
                  > compost, even though a lot less than previously. However, I didn't
                  > like that very much because it was too much work to homogeneously mix
                  > the ashes with the compost, there would always remain some clumps of
                  > ashes in the heap. I also had the impression that the ashes did dry
                  > out the compost, but this really is a very subjective impression.
                  >
                  > Anyway, if my ever so non-scientific observations are correct, it
                  > could be that ashes do indeed have a drying-out effect in compost but
                  > that the overall effect on clay soil is positive.
                  >
                  > For a couple of years I just returned the ashes to the forest, but
                  > considering the positive effect the ashes have on our clay soil, I
                  > have now reverted to using the ashes in the garden and the fields.
                  > Anyway, spreading the ashes from one winter over an acre or two
                  > results in a very thin layer that shouldn't impact the soil biology
                  > too much.
                  >
                  > Fukuoka stopped using ashes in the garden when he noticed a negative
                  > effect on spiders and other insects living in the mulch near the
                  > ground. Obviously, the ashes would make the spider nets temporarily
                  > unusable. In my case, there are hardly any spiders in the garden
                  > during the winter anyways, and the ashes will be gone after a rain
                  > shower or irrigation.
                  >
                  > Hence, I concluded that, as long as the ashes are from our own hearth,
                  > to use wood ashes in the garden is consistent with Natural Farming as
                  > I understand it. To put them in the garbage would certainly be wrong.
                  >
                  > Dieter Brand
                  > Portugal
                  >
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