Back Problem & Bonfire Ashes

I’ve not posted for a couple of weeks as my back has been so bad. Just sitting at my desk to write became difficult. After just an hour catching up on emails, I was done in!


Bonfire Ashes – How to Use Them?

It wasn’t just the pain but the effect of the painkillers. They’re marvellous things but they dull the intellect as well as the pain. The muscle relaxant, diazepam, is basically Valium – another drug that dulls your wits. I’ve also been exhausted. The pains have awakened me near enough every night and so I’ve been functioning on less sleep than I need, and disturbed sleep at that.

Even if I’d not had my back problem, there’s not much I could do outside. I’ve lots I would like to do but the ground is absolutely sodden. We’re used to a lot of rain here but this year has been exceptional for everyone. There are things I’d like to do in the greenhouses and polytunnel where the rain isn’t a problem but the back stopped that.

The good news is that it finally seems to be on the mend. I saw an osteopath in Caernarfon who manipulated my back. It’s a bit strange if you’ve never been before but it didn’t hurt at all (yes, I’m a wimp!) and I’ve actually had a decent night’s sleep. I can’t say it’s cured, but it’s an awful lot better now.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get the polytunnel and greenhouses sorted soon. And you never know, it might stop raining too. And now, a question from a reader about bonfire ash.

Best Use for Bonfire Ash (Potash)

I had a bonfire burn earlier this month, and have put the resulting potash in a dustbin for the time being. What’s the best use for it, and when and where should it be applied?

Wood ashes tend to have a high level of potash (the K in NPK) as you know, so they’re best applied to potash hungry crops like tomatoes or around the base of fruit trees. Broad beans will benefit from potash – it helps prevent broad bean chocolate spot from developing.

Garlic is another crop that will benefit from additional potash. Having said that, don’t add additional potash to onions. It prevents them from taking up sulphur and weakens their flavour.

Potash easily washes out of the soil so best applied in late spring and early summer when the plants need and can use the nutrients. Storing in a dustbin or other container that will keep the ashes dry until needed is a good idea.

One point to keep in mind is that wood ashes are a bit like lime and will increase soil pH. Normally this isn’t a problem unless you’ve a chalky soil but potatoes, which do benefit from additional potash, are best grown in a slightly acid soil which helps with scab.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Back Problem & Bonfire Ashes
  1. Richard Wells says:

    So pleased your back is on the mend. I’ve had mine ‘go’ a few times over the years and know there are few things worse. If it’s going to happen late Autumn and winter are the best times so look upon it as a positive. lol

  2. Rowland Wells says:

    it sounds like your osteopath is doing you some good and may that continue to getting you on the mend I to have terrible joint pain in the knees this cold damp weather is not helping things for my old joints still got a few jobs to do down the allotments but its little and often at the moment I’m afraid can’t wait for that warmer weather to warm up the joints

    as for wood ash we only burn wood on the wood burner and I sieve the ash and bag it for spring but I note that you say wood ash is good for broad beans and as I bench grow my broad beans in pots before planting out on the allotments I’m thinking I could add my wood ash to my compost mix when I sow the broad bean seed?

    and I’m going to save some wood ash for our tomato plants never gave that thought anyway good advise for using wood ash hope you and your osteopath get that back put right

    PS disco dancing is definitely out with that back this Christmas good luck with getting that back rite John


    • John Harrison says:

      Thanks Rowland. I’d spread some ashes around the broad beans when you plant out.
      It’s a bit two steps forward, one step back with the back but that’s my fault. It feels better so I over do it and then it’s paining again.
      We’re probably getting a new stove next year – currently it’s multi-fuel and we do burn coal as well as wood. When it’s just wood, I save the ashes. Hey – free fertiliser!

Leave a Comment Here on Back Problem & Bonfire Ashes

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


May 2024

What to do now on your plot!

Monthly Free Newsletter

Allotment Photo History

Our Books – A Growing Offer!

Our bestselling books for growing success!
More Information


Allotment & Garden Online Planning

Free Trial - Allotment Planner
Personal Planting Updates & Tips
by email twice a month
Allotment Garden Planning Software