I've seen a number of people mentioning burning garden waste instead of composting it and using the ash as a soil amendment. It seems like a good way to keep from putting pests and diseases back in the garden, but does anyone know how much of the nutrients (especially nitrogen) go up in smoke? And I hear that water can leach the ash out of the soil very quickly. I've also been reading lately about the use of charcoal as a soil amendment. It's supposed to help create dark, rich soil because charcoal pieces are too large to be leached out of the soil and it absorbs and holds onto nutrients but slowly releases them as plants need them. So I'm thinking of composting my leafy, green waste and then adding charcoal made from the sticks and branches. But I'd love to hear anyone's experiences or thoughts about it.