Many Georgia families enjoy building roaring fires in their fireplaces or wood-burning stoves during the winter. Whether as a source of heat or for enjoyment, when the flames die down, a pile of wood ash remains.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents get calls this time of year from gardeners asking if they can add wood ash to their garden plots. UGA Extension consumer vegetable specialist Bob Westerfield says the answer is “yes, but in moderation.”“At the end of the day, ashes are a source of nutrients; primarily potassium or potash,” he said.“You can add wood ash to your garden and get the soil to a level where it’s good for your vegetables, but the problem is adding too much.”This potash is a stable nutrient, so it doesn’t “go away quickly” from the soil once you add it, he said.Adding wood ash to a garden plot also adds calcium and magnesium to the soil, similar to applying lime. Like lime, this will increase the pH level in your soil, Westerfield added. “Again, once the pH hits a proper level and you have a slightly acidic soil, if you keep throwing ashes out there it’s just going to skyrocket the pH. Your soil will end up going the other direction and become too basic,” he said. “Your vegetable plants will start to yellow because the plants will no longer be able to absorb the nitrogen. They essentially begin to starve themselves to death.”Slightly acid soil at a pH level of 6.5-6.8 is perfect for most vegetables and ornamentals.When too much wood ash is added to the soil, the pH will “jump up,” nutrients can get out balance and the roots can’t absorb the nutrients.To safely add wood ash to your home vegetable garden, Westerfield recommends adding no more than five pounds of wood ash per 1,000 square feet per year. To check the pH level, take a soil sample to your local UGA Extension office and have the soil tested every two years.“The soil test will tell you the pH level and if you are at a level where you need to hold off on adding more wood ash,” Westerfield said.Wood ash should not be added to compost piles.“Compost needs an acidic environment. The wood ash may slow down the microbes,” he said. “This is also why UGA Extension agents and specialists say not to add lime to your compost pile. You can add a little fertilizer, though.”
Robert ‘Bob’ Edward Meyer, age 88 of Batesville, Indiana passed away on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at Manderly Health Care Center in Osgood, IN. The son of Edward & Leora (nee: Wuellner) Meyer was born on April 10, 1929 in Batesville.The 1947 Batesville High School graduate married Wilma Ahrens on April 29, 1950 at Adams Lutheran Church in Batesville, where he was also a member. Bob worked as the district sales manager for American Breeders Service out of Madison, WI until his retirement. Bob was a long time 4-H leader for the kids in this area and also served many years on the Batesville Community School Board.Bob loved attending the sporting events of his grandchildren and was an avid Bengals fan going to many games as well. He liked traveling with his wife which included visiting all 50 states and even to Europe and Canada. Many times, Bob could be seen out enjoying the ride on his lawn mower cutting the grass. He always liked putting out a big garden every year and sharing his fresh produce too. In his earlier years, Bob enjoyed coon hunting and later on mostly hunted rabbit. Most of all, Bob was a man of faith and loved spending time with his family.He will be dearly missed by his son, Roger (Bonnie) Meyer, daughters, Karen (Mike) Weisenbach, Kathy (Roger) Wagner and Connie (Larry) Coyle all of Batesville; eight grandchildren Matt & Mark Weisenbach, Justin & Joshua Wagner, Kari Rauch, Abby Hackman, Ryan Meyer & Ethan Meyer; sixteen great grandchildren; along with his sister Marjorie (Mervin) Ahrens of Batesville and Jim (Sharon) Meyer of Greensburg.In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his dear wife, Wilma in October 2016 and his brothers Kenny & Marvin Meyer.Visitation will be Wednesday, 4-8pm at Meyers Funeral Home in Batesville. Funeral Service at 11:00am on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at Adams Lutheran Church, Batesville. Pastor Tamara Keen officiating. Burial will follow in the Adams Lutheran Church Cemetery.Memorials may be given to the Adams Church Memorial Fund c/o the funeral home.