Q. I've enjoyed your articles in the LVRJ over the years. I Love my backyard garden here on Sunrise Mountain but it's been a challenge compared to growing a garden on the Island of Maui. I would like to augment my garden soil with the wood ashes from my fireplace. Would that be good for the garden soil?
A. If these ashes are from plants then there should be no problem incorporating some of it. Much of this has to do with the volume that you want to add. Small volumes of this distributed over a larger area will be no problem as it will be high in some nutrients. One ton of wood ash has about 15 lbs of phosphorus and 50 lbs of potassium but it is strongly alkaline which we don't need. If this ash is coming from plastics or other manufactured products then I would not use it.