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Soil Problems

Q.Strong Rotten Smell Coming From Potted Plant- What Is It And How Do I Resolve It? Is It Ammonia Or Hydrogen Sulfide Or Something

Mapsliame4 added on August 7, 2020 | Answered

else? The container holds a fruiting indeterminate cherry tomato about 5 ft tall in a resin pot. It has about 4-6 drainage holes a little less than 1/2″ diameter each but not around the outer lip of the bottom. It’s been really hot in Southern California and usually manually deep watering once a week so that all the soil in the pot is moist but started watering about 2 times a week in last 2 weeks. Smell started 3 weeks ago. I fertilize with a combination of a fruit tree slow release fertilizer 4-5-4 once a month, vermicompost every 3 weeks, and vermitea.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 7, 2020

This sounds like sulfur reducing bacteria have taken hold. They prefer overly moist soil that does not get a chance to dry out thoroughly.

Curing this is fairly simple, but will require you to make sure that your soil dries out, very thoroughly, down to about 2 or 3 inches between watering. Treat with a fungicide and make sure that the container never sits in still water in a drip pan. All moisture should be allowed to leave the container, freely.

Keep tabs on your pH. You will need to raise this, temporarily, to as close to 7 as possible. Once the treatment has worked, then you can let it go back down to a comfortable 6.5.

Here are some articles that will help:





This article will help you to grow tomatoes to their potential:


Finally, you can follow this link to download a free ebook that will allow you to have plenty of reading on the subject of tomatoes:


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