I have just moved into a bungalow. lovely big garden. but the previous elderly lady has put all her ash from coal fire on the garden! what do I do about it? will I need to treat it?
Coal ash can contain high levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, so I would not grow vegetables in any areas which had ash spread on them. It might be worth getting the soil tested for contamination - your local council should be able to advise on how to go about that. I wouldn't partcularly worry about growing ornamental plants and shrubs though as you aren't going to eat those.
thank you bobthegardener that's a help.