mdrelyea wrote:I'll add my two cents. I've got a large-ish garden that's probably about 40 feet long by 12 feet wide. Been putting coal (and some wood) ash on it for about 20 years. Some here have been asking Why? What's the benefit? There has been a significant benefit in my garden- the soil is much lighter now. I have heavy clay soil here. When my soil dries out it is as hard as a rock. The soil in my garden however is much lighter than the rest of my yard - easy to work in the fall and in the spring.
Finally, someone answered the question relative to my problem! I am replanting (for the third time) the shrubs in our front flower bed. The soil is so heavy with clay and the drainage so poor the previous plants did poorly. I've been considering adding coal ash to the soil instead of peat moss. Peat moss did not help at all, neither did adding crushed stone to the bottom of the hole. This time I'm going to mix coal ash in with the clay to see if that will allow the soil and roots to breath properly and hopefully prevent root rot.
I don't care if there are heavy minerals in the ash as I am not planning on eating the shrubs!