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Putrid smelling seed starting mix, can I still use it?

Posted by californian 10 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 6, 10 at 11:41

I had a big tub of Pro-Mix BX with biofungicide sitting out on my patio when we got a very unusual for California 9 inches of rain in five days. The tub filled up with water and the Pro-Mix in it turned to soup. I used part of it two weeks ago to start some tomato seeds and after draining as much water out as I could the stuff worked great and almost all my seeds sprouted. But after sitting outside for two weeks the rest of the soup has developed a putrid smell. Can I still use it after draining the excess water? Do I have to completely dry it out? Or should I throw it out on the garden. This Pro-mix is very expensive so I don't want to waste it if I can don't have to.
I also have a fresh bale of Pro-mix that didn't get wet. Can I mix the dry stuff with the putrid smelling soup to bring it to the correct moisture content? Or should I mix up a fresh batch using clean rainwater?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Putrid smelling seed starting mix, can I still use it?

If you do not want to throw it out,I would not use it until it had been completely dried out. The bad smell is caused by the bacteria produced by the anaerobic condition of the mix over the long time with no oxygen. If it were me I would throw it on the garden, not use it for any propagation. Al

RE: Putrid smelling seed starting mix, can I still use it?

I've heard that baking mix in the oven (in a glass dish) for about a half an hour to forty five minutes at 250 degrees will kill fungus, but I'm not exactly sure what's causing it to smell bad.

RE: Putrid smelling seed starting mix, can I still use it?

The smell is caused by bacteria growing in it, just like if you had a bucket of kitchen waste full of water.

If it's worth it to try to keep it, spread it out fairly thinly on something that drains well. Vinyl window screening cut to fit the bottom of some flats comes to mind. And sit them out in the full sun until they're dry. If it's going to rain again, put them under shelter.

You CAN put them in the oven, but the smell is worse than you can believe -- really bad!

If it isn't crucial that you use this particular bag, just toss it into the garden like Calistoga suggested.

If you have seeds that are very important to you, don't use this soil to start them.

And keep your potting soil out of the rain.


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