Wood Ash for tomatoes and everything else?

I am just establishing a vegetable garden and my soil is terrible. I discovered a manure pile that has been sitting for about two years from previous owners and I was going to add gardening sand as well. I have an outdoor wood burning stove and have heard you can use wood ashes in place of limestone. Is it too late for me to put this in for this season or can I still go ahead and put some in. I was also told tomatoes loved limestone, could I use ashes? How would I apply this and how much?
Submitted by skyline11

Hi, First of all, that manure pile would be a great soil amendment as long as weeds haven't been allowed to grow in it these past two years and drop seeds. If it's had weeds growing in it, you'll only be seeding your garden with weeds if you incorporate it into your soil. Be sure it's been a clean pile before you add it. Ashes can be used in the garden, but do not overdo it. You don't want to add tons of wood ash to your garden soil. A little is fine, but it's not that great of a soil amendment to dump a lot on. Tomatoes don't need limestone to do well. It really depends on your soil pH. If you think your soil is acidic in nature, then a little limestone can help. I would get a pH test kit if you are concerned about your soil's pH before I added limestone or wood ash. Tomatoes do best in a neutral or slightly alkaline soil so if your soil is in that range, you don't need to add anything other than organic matter. If your soil is rich and loamy, your tomatoes will thank you.

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