Put ashes on veggies with care

GARDEN Q&A

April 07, 2007|By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | Ellen Nibali and David Clement,Special to The Sun

Last year I put charcoal-grill ashes on my vegetable garden and had the worst yield ever. I thought ashes made good fertilizer.

Charcoal, unlike wood ashes, may contain coal. Coal and treated-lumber ash are toxic. Check charcoal bags for ingredients. Ashes from wood are fine for raising soil pH. About half the strength of lime, they also add potassium, phosphate and boron.

Checklist

Sow peas and continue to plant succession crops of spinach, beets, lettuce and radishes.

Allow the foliage to die back naturally on spring-flowering bulbs. Cutting back green foliage will stunt the plants.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the regional specialist. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call 800-342-2507 or go to hgic.umd.edu.

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