How to Put Wood Ash in Compost


If your garden bed needs a little boost in potassium, or you're having a slug problem, one good source of potash is wood ashes. When you apply wood ash to the garden, use it sparingly, as it can change the pH and salinity of your garden bed. The same is true when you put wood ash in compost, because it eventually ends up in the garden. Collect wood ash from your furnace or fireplace over the winter months, and then work off of it throughout the growing season.

Step 1

Turn the soil and rotting materials inside your compost bin as normal, using a shovel or pitchfork. Push some material to the outer edges of the composter to form a shallow well in the center for the new material.

Step 2

Dump your new materials into the center of the composter to fill the well. Sprinkle a handful of wood ash over the surface of the new material using approximately 1/2 cup of wood ash per 3-feet by 3-feet surface area of compost bin.

Step 3

Draw the older materials in toward the center, away from the sides, and pull it over the new material. Cover the new material and wood ash with the older, still-rotting compost.

Step 4

Repeat turning the soil as often as desired to keep the bin "cooking," and add more wood ash only occasionally with every three or four additions of new material.

Tips and Warnings

  • Allow any freshly spread compost which contains wood ash to rest in the garden bed for two weeks before planting any new seeds to ensure they germinate.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or pitchfork
  • New compost materials (kitchen scraps, leaves, grass clippings, etc.)


  • "The Rodale Guide to Composting;" Jerry Minnich and Marjorie Hunt; 1979
  • "The Rodale Book of Composting;" Deborah L. Martin and Grace Gershuny; 1992

Who Can Help

  • Amazon: Order Wood Ash
Keywords: wood ash in compost, composting wood ash, how to put wood ash in compost

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.