If soil smells sour will it make garden vegetables inedible? the pot my peppers were growing in didn't drain well. I fixed it, but every time I water them it still smells sour. Are the peppers going to be safe to eat?

1 Answer 1


Yes, your peppers will be safe to eat. the only chance of contamination is if soil from your planter splashes onto the fruit, but they can be washed, and soured soil isn't much higher in human pathogens than healthy soil is.

Checking for good drainage is always a key component to container gardening, (any gardening, actually, but most problems cropping up are from containers) because almost all plants need plenty of oxygen in the soil, in order to thrive. I'd also look into soilless potting mixes in the future, as they drain well and do not sour easily.

If the soil pulled in from the edges when it dried, and is hard or compacted, you can take a pencil and push it into the soil throughout the pot, to loosen the soil and allow it to breathe.

  • Is this in the ground or in a pot? What exactly J. do you mean when you hear sour? I think I know what you and the OP mean but if it is anaerobic decomposition we need to be addressing a basic huge problem. How can we invent an app to SMELL over the internet??? Grins! Nice answer...
    – stormy
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 19:23
  • I have some soil that smells quite sour, but it has pine needles all over it, and had some partially composted anaerobic compost put in it a week or more before planting. I would think the acidity from anaerobic compost would be less of a problem after some days of sitting there, since even herbicidal vinegar doesn't seem harmful to plants after a few days of sitting (it's the initial shock that seems to be the biggest issue). Whatever the case, the peppers and strawberries I put in it seem like they're doing well after a number of weeks. I don't know of myself how safe it is to eat, though. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 20:50
  • But J. Musser knows what he's talking about, I'm guessing. When is said sitting there, I meant mixed with the soil in the bed I have it in (mixing the soil seems to help things decompose faster). Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 20:54

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