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Author Topic: ammonia smell in soil  (Read 3821 times)

cohan

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ammonia smell in soil
« on: May 13, 2009, 08:32:19 PM »
hi all, i was mixing up some soil for seeding--mostly stuff i'd used before--some of our rather clayey native loam, some coir(coco fibre), zeolite (a sort of pumice-like fine grit) and some fine chicken grit--those i know well enough, i think...
well, i thought i was being clever, since i am sowing some woodland species, and i have some stuff that seems like composted wood that came from inside a  tree we cut down..this has been sitting around for months, outside half the winter, and the other day i poured boiling water in it and put  a lid on for partial sterilisation;
when i took the lid of yesterday, it smelled rather ammonia-ey, but i thought, cant be anything bad, and mixed up some soil anyway-only 1 of 8 parts is this stuff..
well, today the whole mix still smells...
any thoughts on what this is, and if its hazardous to plants?
at this point, barring any definitive word, i'm thinking to try a few replaceable seeds in it to see what happens....

Lesley Cox

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Re: ammonia smell in soil
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 10:29:20 PM »
That's probably the best way to go.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

David Shaw

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Re: ammonia smell in soil
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2009, 07:50:34 AM »
I think you could try the 'cress test' on this Cohan. Sow some rapidly germinating seed like cress (we use lettuce because we have it) in a pot of compost and keep it enclosed in a plastic bag. Do the same with a pot of known 'good' compost and compare the results.
David Shaw, Forres, Moray, Scotland

Paddy Tobin

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Re: ammonia smell in soil
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2009, 09:07:35 AM »
Cohan,

Was it chicken grit or chicken droppings? The latter would certainly give off a smell of ammonia when you add hot water.

Paddy
Paddy Tobin, Waterford, Ireland

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cohan

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Re: ammonia smell in soil
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2009, 08:02:49 AM »
Cohan,
Was it chicken grit or chicken droppings? The latter would certainly give off a smell of ammonia when you add hot water.
Paddy

no, definitely not chicken droppings! :) the chicken grit is just a fine gravel, which i have used lots...the only unknown was the woody stuff..perhaps it had something left behind by some insects which doubtless helped pulverise the interior of the tree!
i will probably do something like the 'cress test' as david mentioned, out of curiosity as much as anything!
meanwhile i did go out and dig some more mundane stuff, but havent mixed yet..

 


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