Specifications for compost bin

Asked September 17, 2018, 2:22 PM EDT

We currently have three compost bins, rounds of field fencing, which work pretty well with rotation. We would like to make the 1st bin rat-proof, and assume the other two are not as critical because by the time I flip compost into them, the attraction for rats will be gone. We intend to use 1/2" mesh galvanized wire, stainless steel staples, and treated 2 X 4 wood frames, with a removable top of the same material, 4 X 4 X 4. Is a "bottom" panel essential? Does this meet your recommendations? Thanks!

Lane County Oregon compost

3 Responses

Yes, a reinforced bottom panel will be required; rats are notorious for their ability to tunnel.

Thanks! So the 1/2" mesh can keep out mice?

No, probably not. :( For that matter, sewer rats can chew through concrete, so battling rodents in compost is an uphill battle. Especially during this time of year, when they are seeking shelter.

Having said that, a HOT, not warm compost pile will help deter rodents. Add a nitrogen source, water well and turn frequently. I like alfalfa pellets (feed store), but you could also dissolve ammonium nitrate (15-0-0) or any nitrogen containing fertilizer and pour it into your compost pile.

Be sure to keep the pile covered throughout the year. In the winter, cold rain will cool the pile, and excess moisture will shift the microbiology to less energetic bacterial types than oxygen breathers. In the warm weather, evaporation will exceed precipitation in uncovered piles, and the lack of water will slow biological activity.