Rodents in the vegetable garden

Asked March 1, 2018, 9:14 PM EST

I'm certain rats have been invading my compost bin. I have seen them in the daytime and have seen their feces on the bin. They even chewed holes in the mesh. They may have been eating my kale, or it was an opossum and maybe a raccoon because one of the entire plants was eaten overnight. Are there health risks from rodents in my garden? If I eat from a plant that has been munched on by a rodent, is it risky? Lastly, what about the compost I suspect rats have been eating and contaminating?

Benton County Oregon

2 Responses

Rats are on the rise in Corvallis, especially in neighborhoods with creeks flowing through them. I'm unsure about other parts of Benton County, but it's hard to imagine they're not there too. :(
If you do live in the City, be sure to contact the City about your rat problem, especially if there is sewer work being done or if you are near a creek. I'd start with the Public Works Department. If you live in the County, I'm less sure about governmental support for this problem. It sounds like there are plenty of bold rats on your property. You may want to contact an exterminator.
I would definitely not eat after any of the animals you mention in your note. As to whether the compost itself is safe to use in vegetable production - I suspect the does makes the poison. If you have berry bushes or fruit trees, it might be best to spread the compost under these, and hold off on composting food waste until you get the rats under control.
I'm sorry you have this problem.

Thank you for the response. I live in Philomath and there has been ongoing sewer maintenance. I have decided to use the compost in areas other than the vegetable garden. Today I saw a compost bin at Avery Park that is rodent proof. However, I may need to modify my planter boxes to make them rodent proof as well. I grow everything in planter boxe such as kale, chard, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, eggplant and peppers.