Funky Smell in the Slop Bucket

So What is that funky smell that develops in the slop bucket, especially in the warm summer months.

Well, That's bacteria and fungi that were in the clay when you bought it, plus whatever came off your hands when you were working the clay.  Yes your hands harbor millions of bacteria and fungus (mostly bacteria).  These are part of your normal flora - your very tiny livestock.  They live with you in harmony most of the time and are essential to your well being.

When you leave them in your clay slurry, some find the environment to their liking and proliferate.  A few are anaerobic and like that there is not much air in you clay leavings, especially the wet, sloppy kind.  There are also some aerobic bacteria that also live on the surface and in pockets with some air.  A lot of bacteria can go either way, so they will be in the mix also.  These bacteria will metabolize whatever they find and will give off gases and liquids as waste.  Some of this waste is what is causing that smell.

So, simply put, there you have it.  Just be sure to wash after you potting (and I like to keep my tetanus vaccination up to date).

© William Tucker 2012