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Soil and Composting: When will the ammonia smell go away

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Forum: Soil and CompostingReplies: 4, Views: 53
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kurango
Los Alamitos, CA

April 27, 2011
11:16 PM

Post #8525512

I've turned the pile and added more browns but the pile still smells of ammonia.
Am I being to impatient? Expecting the smell to go away right away? Or do I keep adding browns until it smells no more?

TIA,
kurango
PuddlePirate
North Ridgeville, OH
(Zone 5b)

April 28, 2011
2:26 PM

Post #8526730

When I get that ammonia smell I add more browns (chopped into small pieces if possible) and fluff my pile to get oxygen in there.
sarahn
Milton, NH
(Zone 5a)

April 28, 2011
6:00 PM

Post #8527177

I cover my piles with an outer layer of straw, weedblock plastic cloth, then more straw, to block out the strong ammonia smell. This way my neighbors do not have to experience it. Then I let it cook. The higher heat helps to destroy unwanted weed seeds, bad bacteria, etc., and its a way to break down the material faster. Some gardeners want this. On the other hand, cooler temps conserve some of the nitrogen, which other gardeners want. Do you have a compost thermometer? I was amazed at how mine climbed to 138 degrees F! On my last batch I did get a 'garbagey' smell, so I turned it to get more oxygen in, and that got rid of that smell.
Soferdig
Kalispell, MT
(Zone 4b)

April 28, 2011
8:40 PM

Post #8527580

Amonia comes from the breakdown of Nitrogen (manure, grasses, coffee, meat,etc) and I wish I had that smell because I am always short of nitrogen. What are you using to get so much ammonia?
kurango
Los Alamitos, CA

April 30, 2011
1:48 PM

Post #8530611

Soferdig,

Probably too many grass clipping. Two of my neighbors had new sod (weed free) put in so I get there clippings every week.

Thanks for everyone input!

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