Bonfire

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Annpan
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Bonfire

Post: # 90232Post Annpan
Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:16 pm

Neither me or JohnM have ever had a bonfire before and we need to clear alot of hedge - too much to save for kindling, though we have logged everything that was big enough.

We were hoping to dig out a veg bed and have the bonfire in the ditch, then we can just leave the ash there and plant on top of it... or, is it best to have it on flat land?

should we have water on standby?
or cover it with dirt if it gets too much?
Should we have it in an old metal bin
or is a free form pile better?


help... I am feeling like a townie again :oops:
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Post: # 90234Post ina
Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:23 pm

Never done it myself! The only thing I can advise - do it on a day without wind... :oops:
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Post: # 90258Post MKG
Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:22 pm

I'm sure it depends upon where you are, but there are usually regulations about the times when you can have a garden bonfire. On the other hand, if you live quite a way from a main road, just make sure that what you're burning is dry - otherwise you'll make a ton of smoke. The resultant ash, I would have thought, would be better spread over a fairly wide area.

Big potatoes baked in the embers are a perfectly good excuse for a fire in the first place, by the way ...

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Post: # 90269Post marshlander
Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:52 pm

.....and make sure you've no hdgehogs in the pile. :cry:
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Post: # 90289Post red
Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:10 pm

would not have thought at this time of year it would be likely to get out of hand, however, it never hurts to have water standing by.

we have a fire pit and occasionally scoop ash out into compo heap.. but yeh would imagine f you lit it on veg garden.. then raked cold ashes around it would be just fine. bit of ash is good for the garden.


we try and light just near dusk - so anyone would have their washing in anyways and would not be bothered by smoke.
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Post: # 90335Post possum
Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:19 am

I consider myself a bit of an expert on bonfires and also how they can go wrong.
We had several in the UK getting rid of a hedge or two. In the size of out back garden the priority was to keep it small, do not try and burn the whole lot in one go.
Use flat land, then rake out the ashes over as much of the garden as possible as they are very good for it.
If the wind gets up, put it out, you can always light it another day

What not to do
a) do not assume that half an hour of dowsing it down is going to put it out.
b) the following day rake the ashes again and dowse them with water, if possible dig it in.
c) if the fire gets out of control, do not hesitate to call he fire brigage, there is only so much fire you can fight with a single hosepipe.
d) if it does get out of control, be prepared for it starting up the following day, fire can travel through some soils types, especially if they have a lot of organic matter.
e) don't put hot ashes on the compost heap, and don't ever have a fire anywhere near a eucalyptus tree.

We learnt the hard way and even with a site inspection from the Department of Conservation (they are responsible for the rural fire service here) plus several conditions on the time of day, wind conditions, hosepipes at the ready and location, it took three days to put out one bonfire as on he third day a strong southerly wind came through (they are strong and our shelterbelt does not protect us from that direction)
We are applying for another fire permit and will definitely be taking it carefully, even though it probably take a month of a fire every night to get rid of it all.
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Post: # 90460Post dudley
Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:09 pm

You could hire a shredder and mulch it if worried about the fire and have space to spread the mulch over that is.
We cut a hedgerow two years ago, everything too small for the wood stove we put in several piles. you cannot see where the piles were now and the wildlife loved it.

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Post: # 90463Post Annpan
Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:44 pm

We have a small(ish)shredder, but it is noisey, smelly, unweildy and really not worth the hassel... bonfire just seems like a simpler, more natural way of dealing with it all.

We have a very large garden, we could have the bonfire 85m away from all houses and still be in our garden. We also have friendly neigbours so we have no restrictions as to day or time of year for burning. Rural area too, I can't see us having any complaints :wink: .

To give you an idea of quantity, we currently have about 10 cubic metres of prunings waiting to get burned, and we have only tackled a sixth of the hedge... so I can anticipate much, much more.

I'd imagine we will have a few bonfires over the spring.

Can anyone sugest what veg do particularly well with tonnes of potash?
Incase we go done the route of using a veg bed to burn the stuff on, we will remove lots of ash to spread it, but the bed used to burn in will have the most.
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Post: # 90566Post Cheezy
Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:47 pm

Annpan wrote:We have a small(ish)shredder, but it is noisey, smelly, unweildy and really not worth the hassel... bonfire just seems like a simpler, more natural way of dealing with it all.

We have a very large garden, we could have the bonfire 85m away from all houses and still be in our garden. We also have friendly neigbours so we have no restrictions as to day or time of year for burning. Rural area too, I can't see us having any complaints :wink: .

To give you an idea of quantity, we currently have about 10 cubic metres of prunings waiting to get burned, and we have only tackled a sixth of the hedge... so I can anticipate much, much more.

I'd imagine we will have a few bonfires over the spring.

Can anyone sugest what veg do particularly well with tonnes of potash?
Incase we go done the route of using a veg bed to burn the stuff on, we will remove lots of ash to spread it, but the bed used to burn in will have the most.

Potash is wonderful stuff, it's particulary good if you want to encourage lots of flowers at the expense of green growth so;
All fruiting trees, tomatoes, flowers, root veg since high nitrogen can encourage forking, potatoes and legumes since they create their own nitrogen
It's not easy being Cheezy
So you know how great Salsify is as a veg, what about Cavero Nero,great leaves all through the winter , then in Spring sprouting broccolli like flowers! Takes up half as much room as broccolli

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Post: # 90571Post Millymollymandy
Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:04 pm

We take all the stuff that would normally go on a bonfire down to the tip in the trailer. That's because we have such a wooded garden there sadly is nowhere to light a bonfire.

Most of our wood ash goes to the tip too - there's only so much you can put on the garden and when you collect a half bucket of ash every day for 6 months or so it adds up to many dustbins full!

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Post: # 90600Post Cheezy
Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:14 pm

Oh I forgot to mention, never, ever use flammable fluids to light a bonfire with.
You should have seen the mess one of my customers was in when he tried to use petrol
It's not easy being Cheezy
So you know how great Salsify is as a veg, what about Cavero Nero,great leaves all through the winter , then in Spring sprouting broccolli like flowers! Takes up half as much room as broccolli

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Post: # 90605Post QuakerBear
Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:38 pm

All of the above about it being better to be overly cautious then risky. We've only ever done it on flat ground and it's worked okay. In order to keep it manageable do a couple of small bonfires rather then one humungeos one. Our last allotment keeper used to always have a ribena bottle of kerosene handy, but this, and other flamable liquids are never ever save, the 'WHOOSH' of flames is extremely dangerous and they make it harder to put the fire out.
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Post: # 90640Post red
Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:38 pm

usually light mine with paper and cardboard.

go on Ann.. bonfire is fun.... :mrgreen:
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Post: # 90644Post baldowrie
Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:47 pm

I have an incinerator...like a metal dustbin with holes. I put all the bits that won't go in the compost heap in that that and set light to it. Much safer than and open fire

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Post: # 90734Post Millymollymandy
Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:38 pm

I was just thinking about this thread yesterday afternoon as I working outside and the air turned like thick pea soup and my whole 2 acres of garden and the field behind (1.5 hectares) were completely covered in acrid smoke. :shock: It was really like a nasty fog (smog) has descended. Not nice!

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