Found a mouse hangin' out in my compost!!!

Asked January 20, 2021, 5:24 PM EST

Hi! Well, I'm new to composting. This is my first year of really putting an effort into it, since I really would love to improve my garden soil. I have the kind of bin that sits on the ground, it does have air vents and a top lid that pulls off completely. I try to put a good mix of dry leaves, green things and kitchen scraps... so this morning I open a lid to find a mouse chillin' inside. I screamed and he ran away, but what do I do now? Do I have to get rid of everything and start over? Is the compost in there still safe to use? How do I discourage the mice, since my dog doesn't seem to keep them away. Thanks for any help! Maggie

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

I doubt it's ruined but I might only use the compost for ornamentals and not a vegetable garden.
To discourage mice, you may want to line your bin with 1/4" hardware cloth, or some other permeable barrier. the other thing you would want to do is bury your fresh food scraps in the center of the pile and make sure it's covered with sawdust, coir or other 'brown' material (as opposed to 'green'.) By burying it, it's harder for the critters to smell it.

For food scraps, I prefer a worm bin that is kept indoors (I have a basement, but a garage or shed will work) https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-create-and-maintain-indoor-worm-composting-bin You will need to make sure you get the right kind of worms for composting (beware of invasive species) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenia_fetida is really the best type of worm