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Alternative Gardening: Sulfurous odor from water reservoirs

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Forum: Alternative GardeningReplies: 3, Views: 31
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Northeast, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 15, 2012
7:48 AM

Post #9166088

I have used Earthboxes and homemade self-watering containers to grow tomatoes and vegetables for years now, but this season I am contending with a new problem. Several of my containers are emitting a horrible, sulfur-laden odor from the water reservoirs. I have tried flushing the reservoirs with clean water but the odor returns.

Any ideas on what I can put in the reservoirs that will stop the odor and not harm my plants? My thoughts have run to hydrogen peroxide, an algaecide or Micro-Lift, which is supposed to be used for fish ponds and smells as bad as my reservoirs!


SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 15, 2012
2:32 PM

Post #9166630

Have you tried washing the EBs? Here's the bleach solution I use to clean up my pots and stuff at the end of the season. If I had your EB smells, I'd wash mine out with this same solution:
9 parts water, 1 part bleach. Add 1/2 part Lemon Ajax, and 1/2 part of cheap, Dollar Store mouth wash.

Rinse well, and allow to air dry. A "part" is whatever you choose it to be, e.g. one cup = one part, one gallon = one part, etc.

Try it. You'll wanna keep on washing, but do this in a well-ventilated room, or outdoors.

Northeast, IL
(Zone 5b)

June 18, 2012
10:03 AM

Post #9170007

They were clean at the beginning of the season. Now they are full of plants, and potting mix. Could be something I used in the mix this year that's breaking down?

I might try adding mouthwash now. Already put a little Oxi Clean down the watering hole and the plants haven't died yet. :)


SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

June 18, 2012
10:09 AM

Post #9170021

Check your soil screen to make sure it is not cracked. If it is, then the soil is sagging and the soil bed is sitting directly in too much water, getting anaerobic from not enough oxygen space between the soil and the reservoir.

I had this happen in a homemade eBucket last season. Couldn't figure out why my eBuckets were just plain stinky! Never happened before. So, I dismantled one and, sure enough, the overturned colander had crumpled, so the soil bed was sitting directly in the water.

Uh, I wouldn't use too much mouthwash in the reservoir...

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