How to Use BBQ Ash for Plants and Projects

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So you have feasted on the delicious grilled meat you prepared last night. Now you must be thinking about throwing the charcoal lump. However, that stagnant pile of unused charcoal is loaded with organic ingredients, which can be used in various domains ranging from gardening to DIY.

When charcoal decomposes, it breaks down to give many naturally occurring organic materials like potassium and carbon, which can come in handy if you are into gardening. This article will tell you how to BBQ ash for plants and projects so that the next time you go to throw out wood ash in a perforated bag, you know its applications.

How to collect charcoal ash?


Since charcoal is an insulator, it can absorb heat and still be warm even after hours of the fire dying. Wait for the wood ashes to completely cool off, and then you can wrap them with aluminum foil or store them in a spare container.

Ideally, you should wait for 48 hours to let the fire pit cool down, as this reduces the probability of any accidental flare-ups. You can also catalyze the process by spraying water on the lid of the charcoal grill.

Benefits of using charcoal for garden

Scientific study has revealed that charcoal ash is packed with minerals and nutrients such as copper, potash, and magnates. The calcium carbonate extracts can neutralize acidic soils with ease. It works in the same way as a fertilizer. Let us find out more about its other applications.

Using  BBQ ash in the garden

Using wood ash from charcoal briquettes as a compost pile

Adding a mixture of charcoal and wood ash while preparing compost can give your plants a balanced diet. Adding charcoal will also help restore the pH balance if you add lemon peels in your compost heap or certain plant leaves, which are considered acidic.

Tip: You should opt out of charcoal briquettes while preparing compost as it has many disadvantages.

Compost consists of three layers. Browns provide carbon for plant growth. A green layer that contains fruits, scraps rich in nitrogen, and a layer of water that speeds up soil decomposition. Wood ash can be added to these layers alternatively. Moreover, since wood ash is water-soluble, you can also prepare ash tears by soaking barbecue ash in lighter fluid for 3-4 days. This can then be sprinkled on plant roots to give them a nutrient boost.

Using wood ash for pest control

Various microbes and farm pests can hamper your produce. To avoid this, you can sprinkle wood ash on susceptible plants, which will shield them from pests and keep them at bay. In addition, invertebrates such as snails can be easily deterred by wood charcoal due to its alkaline nature. Just make a circle of wood ash around these slimy creatures, and you are good to go.

BBQ ash for acidic soil amendment

Wood ash alone is not a suitable replacement for fertilizers. However, it can raise the pH of your garden soil so that you don’t have to run to your garden store to get additional lime supplies. If your soil’s pH level is below six, then it is considered acidic. Certain plants like tomatoes need soil amendments to be made as they require potassium, while others can be termed as acid loving plants. You should know your garden’s requirements and add ash accordingly.

Acid loving plants and wood charcoal

How to Use BBQ Ash for Plants and Projects

As we know, the minerals present in wood ash facilitate better plant growth. However, adding too much ash can result in an alkalinity kickback which can cause discoloration of leaves. Many plants do not react well to this pH change. Other drawbacks of excess ash in soil are algae infestation, foul smell, withered flowers, and microbial contamination. Blueberries, parsley, and strawberries are some examples of plants that prefer acidic soil more.

Other uses of lump charcoal ash

As an absorbent

After burning, charcoal becomes porous, which allows it to soak up any toxic chemicals present nearby. Due to this, it can also absorb any foul smell. Charcoal ash is also used to absorb the smell of ammonia from compost. If kept in a moist place, wood charcoal can absorb moisture easily.

Tip: Put a small amount of wood charcoal in a pouch and keep it inside your shoes. The smell will be gone in no time.

Fire control

In a wood stove, people often pile up some ash over the burning fire to control it. However, fire needs a constant air supply to keep burning. Charcoal prohibits this by forming an air-tight barrier to cut off the fire. If an extinguisher is not available in case of an emergency, then wood ash can be a good replacement for smothering small household fires by throwing ashes on hot coals.

Sprinkling ash around pathways

This can add traction between your sole and the surface while walking. Keep in mind to clean your shoes in case there’s residue stuck on them. Some people also prefer to keep wood ashes in their toolbox to avoid the accumulation of moisture. This helps their tools stay rust-free.

Making lye soap from charcoal ashes

A combination of ashes and water can be used to prepare lye. This paste can be used to clean tarnished metals, glass, etcetera. Lastly, some household applications include :

●     Breaking down the food waste by adding ashes to your compost
●     As an alternative to harmful chemicals like borax in compost bins.
●     It can be used with coffee grounds in trees to provide nitrogen.

We hope that this post enlightened you with various potential benefits of using charcoal. Wood ash and coal serve a crucial purpose besides being the byproducts of cooking fires. They not only preserve nutrients from the hardwood they were cremated from, but they also gain new vitamins and minerals formed by the combustion, such as potassium and carbon dioxide. Furthermore, both charcoal and ash have a high absorbent value, making them helpful in absorbing chemical odors and neutralising acids in the ground.

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