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Add  Wood Ash to Compost ONLY IF you do not plan to mix your compost into existing clay soil here in Dallas county.

It is that time of year:  What to do with the ashes in the fireplace?  I'm putting mine in my compost and in the compost bins at the Garland Community Garden. Wood ash (not coal ash) is a great addition to garden soil.  It contains potassium--a vital nutrient for plants.  I can do this because the soil I use for my garden and the Garland Community Garden is all made from organic materials put on top of cardboard to create raised garden bed mounds.  It is not mixed into the existing Dallas County clay.

TWO CAUTIONS

1.  If you plan to work your compost into the existing clay soil in Dallas county, do not add wood ash to your compost as it will toxify your soil.  The soil in Dallas county is black clay, highly alkaline and with very high levels of Phosphorus and Potassium.

2. Don't dump several gallons of wood ash all at once to your compost bin because if you raise the pH too much, you will upset the balance of bacteria and worms. Wood ash is really good to keep your compost in balance if  you compost a lot of fruit and other acidic organic matter.

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Hellebore - Helleborus, Zones 4 to 9

THREE WINTER FLOWERS TO CONSIDER

Hellebore, a perennial flowering plant,  comes in lots of colors and heights ranging from just 2 inches to 2 feet.  They are frost resistant, shade tolerant and bloom in the winter and early spring.  Many varieties are evergreen.  Great Garden Plants have quite a selection of Hellebores for purchase.

 

Cyclamen (23 species of perennials) Zones 5 to 9.  These late winter bloomers prefer partial shade.Cyclamens have a tuber, from which the flowers and roots grow. In most species, leaves come up in autumn, grow through the winter, and die in spring, then the plant goes dormant through the dry summer.Cyclamen persicum and coum bloom in winter. They are the most cold tolerant of all Cyclamens.  You can find these plants in most nurseries in the area now.

 

Ornamental cabbage - The lower the temperature, the more vivid the colors.  This plant loves the full sun.  You can still find this plant in most nurseries in and about Dallas.

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