Sunday, May 17, 2009


So, I cleaned out my fridge and was happily slopping the grody stuff into my compost bin when I saw a rat scurry away from said bin and into a hole in the cement foundation where a tube from my air conditioning unit goes into the house.  OMG!  My jaw dropped and I didn't even know how to handle this information.  I went and did some research because I knew that this would mean even bigger strikes against composting to my husband.  (I've only just barely gotten him to not fight me on it and throw everything away).  Boo.

So, research and a chat with Jack has garnered me these options:
1. poison
2. rat traps
3. sealing up the hole*
4. not composting anymore proteins* (I'll feel bad just tossing them though!)
5. peppermint oil sprayed all around bin
6. planting mint all around bin
7. turning compost more regularly* (I need a pitchfork!)
8. keeping compost more moist*
9. burying the scraps deeper in bin*
10. a WORM bin?!?!
11. Bokashi system

*- these things I can and will do regardless

On 10 & 11: I can't in good conscience just put all my protein/cooked food scraps in the trash!  I'll have to do it for awhile I guess until I come up with an alternate system, but I need an alternate system!  I could get a worm bin, but dude, it's a box of worms in yr house that you feed regularly.  Creep central.  The worms they recommend, get this, are called RED WIGGLERS.  I don't think I can do it.

Bokashi is something I just learned about online.  It's a mixture of wheat germ and molasses and water and some microorganisms (microorganisms supposedly available at Whole Foods).  You can make it yourself.  You need a special bucket, but you can make one for yourself if you're industrious.  You layer the stuff with any kind of food trash, it doesn't matter what.  Once the bucket is full, you leave it covered for 2 weeks. (the idea is to have two buckets that you alternate).  Once it sits, the food trash has effectively been pickled, rendering it very unappealing to critters, so it is safe to put into the the compost without attracting unwanted visitors.  It's also supposed to not be smelly in yr house while it's in the bucket and not be smelly in the compost either.
I've also read that bokashi can be used to feed chickens with and as cat litter that you can ultimately compost as well.
Not sure about spending the money to decompose my food trash on a regular basis.  Wheat germ and molasses and this EM stuff aren't the cheapest ingredients I can imagine, and it seems as though you'd have to make it and remake it fairly frequently.  This will be a sticking point for Bry as well.  

On a lighter note: I'm going to attempt to grow pumpkins.  I don't think they were planted at the right time to hit Halloween, but if this year goes well, I could time it better next year.

Any thoughts or insights are appreciated.


  1. hey girly,
    you can't put protein, meat, grease, butter, oil, fat, anything like that in compost really messes up the ph of the compost and can actually harm the little bacteria and nematodes and stuff that are good for the soil and that help turn your refuse into rich soil.

    also, in addition to attracting rats, meats, etc. can draw creatures like raccoons, possums, snakes, stray cats and others like that.

    don't feel bad for tossing table scraps! everybody does it.

    you can compost egg shells or even raw eggs but no meat and no cooked food. throw your weeds and lawn clippings, raw veggie scraps, leaves, or the occasional newspaper or paper napkin in there. the heat from the actual composting will usually kill any weed seeds, so you don't have to worry about weeds popping up once you use composted soil for planting.

    as for the rat, NO POISON!!! if the rat ingests the poison and one of your cats catches and eats the rat, it can poison your cat. you can put a trap out by the hole, but keep babies and animals away from it...the traps can break your fingers instantly. my guess is that by eliminating any cooked food/proteins in the compost heap, your rat will move on within a week and stay gone.

    we've had our compost heap for over 5 years now and the only thing i've ever seen in it are the chickens digging for worms. tell bryan not to worry.

  2. Thanks for the advice. I didn't want to use poison if I could help it. I turned it and wet it down really good and have a bunch of lawny weedy dirt to pile on top of it, so I feel like I'm getting off to a good start. Will follow yr tips.

  3. dude. Red Wigglers?!? Please don't.

  4. I had a rat invasion in my kitchen last Christmas -- Cactus killed one -- I left it by the front door as a warning to it's kin, but mostly I just cleaned up my kitchen and the rats stopped coming.

    I think a bucket of worms in the kitchen is kinda gross too . . . I'd never be able to cook cause I'd just want to stare at it and make a face.