Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:33 pm

Potting Soil Smells Like Cow Manure?

Just bought a bag of organic potting soil (potting soil, not compost, I checked a few x) at Target and it _reeks_ like cow manure. Not setting the ideal environment in my office :(

Thoughts? Might the smell die down as it settles/dries out (it was moist in its sealed bag? Things I can do to make it stop smelling more quickly? Or should I just go ahead and dump it out and replace with a non smelly potting soil?


User avatar
Posts: 28238
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Potting Soil Smells Like Cow Manure?

I would take that back. It was likely kept out doors on palleted piles and got thoroughly rained on and soaked. In packed, airless/anaerobic condition, it has gone "bad" and developed ammonia from the added fertilizer.

Potting mix of any kind that is ready to plant in should not smell bad. Just earthy, sometimes humusy and like mushrooms.

I would also seriously question reliability of a garden center or even big box store that doesn't know enought to treat and store organic/live culture growing media under proper conditions.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

Re: Potting Soil Smells Like Cow Manure?

I'd take that stinky product back if I were you. Potting soil shouldn't stink like that. It could have cow manuer in it from a factory farm. If you do some reaearch you should be able to find a better product. I like the high end certified organic products best. Expensive but worth it, especially if you look at it in a big picture sense. I'm hard core organic and love it. I believe it is the best thing for health and for the environment.
ISFP "The Artist"

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”