Ammonia smell in soil

I have a mishmash of things going on. i have a few plants with Kind soil in the bottom and some with Coco Loco and others with Roots organics as the base media. i transplanted some smaller plants yesterday and my tent smells TERRIBLY of ammonia. i dug the kind bags out of the garbage and at least one had an eye-watering ammonia smell and a second was mild, but it was there. I repotted the super stinky one into something else. the tent still smells. what do we think is going on here? this is my first time in soil but i don’t think this is normal.

if i have mold… do the carbon filters filter out mold? hate to think of what kind of air i’m living and sleeping in.

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The odor is the result of inefficient breakdown of organic compounds and might be an indicator of inadequate oxygen for microbial activity. Organic compounds cannot compost without adequate oxygen, make sure you add at least 30% perlite as I believe (could be wrong) you have volitilization and is pretty common with high concentrations of nitrogen.

Turn your mix, water it thoroughly, maybe a couple of times a week to allow all of your mix to be exposed to oxygen.

I would also wait and see what others have to say


thx but not sure how you turn soil in a potted plant?

I really don’t know, If it were me, I would get rid of it and start over, but, we have some master growers here that caan probably help more than me.

i did pitch the really bad one. and as far as the oxygen goes everything was just potted up yesterday so it got aerated.

eh, i hate this. waiting on feedback from Kind, too

How long have you had these bags? On the bag they say if you’re not using the soil, open the bag to replenish the oxygen often.

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one i used right away and the second was three or four weeks. i did not see that note though so thanks for that. maybe this second bag will improve. everything is in cloth pots

Yeah that’s too long. These don’t come like other bags of soil that have air holes punched in them. They’re sealed. When you get them, cut a slit in the top and open every few days.


i swear i’ve read their website and bags like 50 times and every time i see something new. so many words. read the mask and gloves, though!

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Kind is Hot and that means it is still “cooking” and the smell is pretty normal. I just used some bags I had sitting around for months and I hadn’t slit them as I did the earlier bags. They had a noticeable ammonia smell like wet grass composting but dissipated fairly quickly and I’ve had no ill effects with the plants.
I mixed up some super soil for my next round and in the beginning it had a strong ammonia smell as things were being “cooked” but the smell has subsided and moving towards that earthy smell.

I would save the kind soil you swapped as it is still fine to use. That’s why with SS like kind you layer things. I looked at another SS that is already cooked and there is no layering needed as you use it 100% of soil to grow but supposedly also only add water during the grow.

As this is your first soil grow you will get used to the smell difference and that ammonia smell should dissipate in short order.


ill keep it on the porch for now. it’s layered so if i was to toss it in a bin it would get all mixed up. maybe the O2 will get through it outside. it was just bad. bad bad. there is a faint odor in a few of the others that i can live with. but it’s good to know it’s all part of the process and next time i’m definitely going to air it out and give it some time.

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Are you aerating (sp) your water.

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i don’t. haven’t actually heard of anyone aerating straight water before. i think as most folks said there wasn’t enough 02 in the soil. i had it the plastic bags for a week or so and who knows how long before that before it got to me. there is some tiny print on the bags that says the soil should be taken out to breathe that i didn’t see.

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No I aerate to remove chlorine but I figure the 02 in the water puts air in the soil also.

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ah maybe. i’m tellin ya, this weed growing is pushing my memory of freshmen level chemistry. i do use a filter to take out the chlorine (and actually we have chloramine here which i don’t think can be evaporated off). i’m having issues with trying to figure out what/how to water them, glad i have like a week between to try and figure things out. ask five people get five different answers.

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I think my water also has chloramine supposedly humic acid neutralizes it also thinly citric does too. With that said I haven’t noticed any issues with leaving it in. Maybe I’ll try a grow with me treating it to see but yeah.

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honestly i find this whole water thing so confusing. distilled can’t be Phd yet Kind is telling me the Ph is too high. i bought a filter and then Phd down to 6.8 and was told i overshot it and used too many crystals regardless of what my meter read. others use distilled with no issue and say it takes on the ph of whatever medium it hits. i wish my water was just 7 outta the tap. they’ve been doing this for years, i trust them, but i really want to understand the why/how behind it all.

interesting about the chloramine.

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I use my tap aerated. Which was a big step to me considering first go I thought I couldnt use it and it really was me not doing my nutes right. First grow I ended up buying ro water in jugs. With my tap I add my nutes and it’s a little above my target ph. The thing with this stuff is you can crazy technical but it all can be overcomplicated also. I’m still learning and lewr ing my setup. And the hardest part is you will hear 50 ways to “do it right”.lol that’s what I’ve found most challenging there is no chiseled in stone rules to go by. I’m now starting to find my way letting my plants go dry I am still mad at myself for but is what it is wont happen again I promise you that.

Also to be fair on the drying them out these are 3.5 airpots my first grow they were 5.5. Probably gave me alot more leeway on moisture retension.

my first run was in coco so letting soil go dry is so hard. since there doesn’t seem to be definitive answer i’m probably just going to go back to my original plan which is to use my filtered tap, ph down with the crystals and maybe just be a little more patient with them dissolve and taking more time to measure. if i run into problems, then i’ll deal with it. i did hit one major problem with one of my plants that started all of this, but it may actually be genetic. i’ll probably toss it and just focus on the healthy ones and go from there. if i get the same issue, well i’ll know i’m not watering right. end of the day you also need to figure out what works for you. i’m too lazy and i think buying water wouldn’t be sustainable lol.