Every use of a fire pit brings with it another project -- figuring out what to do with the ashes. Whether you repurpose the ashes around the garden or want to get rid of them entirely, be sure the ash is completely cool before handling it. Leave the old, partially burned wood and ashes in the fire pit for several days before removing them whenever possible.
Removing Ashes Safely
Remove the cover screen from the fire pit, if any, once you are sure the ashes are cool. Wait several days to do this, whenever possible. Move the ashes and wood bits around with a fireplace poker or long metal-ended garden tool to ensure there are no hot embers.
Remove the ashes from the fire pit with a scoop, spade or shovel. Deposit the ashes in an empty metal container that has a lid, such as a small metal trash can.
Pour a little water over the ashes in the can to ensure there's no risk of fire. Place the lid on the can.
Add more ash to the can whenever the fire pit needs emptying. Always wait several days before transferring the ash to the can.
Getting Rid of the Ashes
If you'd rather discard the ashes instead of finding a way to put them to use around the yard or garden, contact your local trash-pickup service, or visit the entity's website to learn the requirements for ashes. While many allow the ashes to be placed in the usual trash receptacles for pickup, some have specific requirements, such as putting the cooled ashes in sealed bags or boxes before placing it in the trash can. Waiting a full week before discarding the ashes helps ensure they do not cause a fire.
Reusing Fire Pit Ash
Ashes come in handy around the yard and garden -- once they're cooled completely, of course. Ensure safety by removing and storing the ashes as you would even in discarding the ash completely.
- Wood ashes raise the pH of soil, making it less acidic. Ashes provide calcium, potassium and trace minerals.
- Sprinkle ash in areas where snails or slugs are found to help keep them away from your plants.
- Hardwood ash contains calcium carbonate, making it a viable substitute for garden lime. Use 1.5 to 2 times as much ash in place of lime for various projects that call for lime around your garden.
- Place a small amount of ash in a compost pile to add nutrients. Keep the ash content in the pile minimal -- less than 5 percent of the volume of the pile -- or it may upset the balance of the mixture.
- Help clean up wet paint drips on outdoor pavement by rubbing a little ash over them. The ash helps mask any tint left behind by the paint.