If your family is anything like ours, summer brings lots of braais, bonfires, campfires and in fact any excuse for sitting round a mesmerising fire, even if it’s just roasting marshmallows!

But what to do with the ash? Ash and chunks of charcoal are packed with minerals, while the alkalinity found in wood ash makes it a powerhouse in the garden!

TIP: It’s important to note that you should only be burning clean wood for the examples below, not chemically treated wood such as pressure treated, stained, or painted wood. If you wouldn’t braai your steak over the fire it came from, you shouldn’t be using it around your home or in your garden…

Correct acidic soil

Wood ash is an excellent soil adjuster for overly acidic soil. To use ash to help balance the pH of acidic soil, and we recommend testing the pH before applying, but experts suggest for every 10 square metres, you’ll apply around 4kg’s of ash.

Boost your compost

To “one-up” your compost heap throw in some ash, this boosts the nutrient-dense microbial environment that’s cooking in your compost. Read more about how to start your own compost heap here. Those little chunks of porous charcoal mixed in with the ash give your compost much-needed oxygen making for very happy microbes.

Naturally repel snails

Sprinkled lightly around snail-loving plants, wood ash will irritate snails’ moist bodies, encouraging them to move away. The repellent effect will disappear after rain or irrigation, so apply again after watering.

Bust blossom end rot

When planting tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, toss a small handful of wood ash into the hole before the plant as this helps to prevent blossom end rot by giving your plants an extra boost of calcium!

For other healthy gardening tips and advice, visit our blog page here.