This stump was in the corner of my garden bed. The picture shows what I did to kill the stump by placing a pile of lighted charcoal briquet's on top of it. It scorched it but it wasn't a big enough effort to actually make it disappear.
I have been waiting for my tree man to come and grind this stump out but business has been slow, so they haven't needed to rent a stump grinder and they were not sure how long it would be before they would be using one. I waited three weeks and then decided if I wanted to finish the garden beds, I would need to take matters into my own hands. What you see in the picture is only part of the stump. When we cleared the dirt away we discovered it had a broad base. A friend had come out to see if he could cut it closer to the ground but the wood proved harder than his chain saw could handle, So there was still more stump above ground then would be good for a garden bed.
Last Wednesday, I decided to really apply the charcoal burn out method. This time I piled charcoal all over the stump and kept adding more and more briquet's as the old ones burned down. To prevent my yard from catching fire due to the breezes blowing around sparks, I covered it with a flipped over galvanized oil pan. By Thursday, about 1/2 the stump was gone. I poked the loose stuff, scooped off the excess charcoal dust so as not to get the growth inhibitor coating of the charcoal into my good growing soil; and began the process of adding more burning briquets to what remained. By Friday, I had accomplished my goal;instead of a stump, a hole appeared in it's place. Now it looks like this:
February 6, 2014 - There has been a remarkable amount of interest in this post. If you have the time there are lots of other ways to get rid of stumps, all take more time then I wanted to invest. There are many suggestions in the comments section of alternative methods. AND, yes, you can always hire someone to grind it out - I was tired of waiting for my tree man and wanted to get the garden started. My whole point in burning the stump was to reduce it down to ground level. All of my grow boxes are raised beds and the stump was located in the area I wanted to build a raised bed. I never at anytime tried to burn the stump down to the point where I could possibly have a long burning root fire underground. This was a quick, easy solution. If you try this at home, do be careful. Don't go for "I want to get every last root burned out." As other's have mentioned in the comments, this could be a dangerous decision and could cause an under ground smoldering fire. I figured after I got the stump down to ground level, mother nature could do the rest with the roots underground. I will mention that after I cleared all of the charcoal dust away and doused what was left of the stump