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 . . .
--- In email@example.com
, "Dieter Brand"
> Hank, Harvest, et al,
> We use some of our wood (only a tiny fraction of what grows back)
> 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