Getting Composting Started without mice

heyitisjustin
By heyitisjustin on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 - 3:12pm

I have a couple of compost tumblers that are in a somewhat sunny location. They initially were mostly food scraps but a few months back I added leaves. There doesn't appear to be much activity going on. Does anyone have ideas on how to improve my composting? I have a mouse problem already so I am interested in something that won't attract mice (otherwise I'd probably be successful with a simple pile).

4 Comments

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1975
sorry, anyone else?

We have two cats, which means we hae no mice in our compost pile but have to stop them from using the garden as a litter box. 

I will suggest that you avoid using ivy as a ground cover because among invasive ivy's other charming traits, it provides cover fo mice and rats 

fated's picture
fated
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2014
Posts: 44
Mice...

I have one of these elevated tumblers, also a simple pile on the ground, dug compost trenches, and a worm farm. All compost methods have their quirks.

With the tumbler I've never had a problem with mice, but (here in Australia) I have found redback spiders inside of it! Lesson there - never put your hands inside!!

I have learned through trial and error with these tumblers that they work best if:

- tumbled/turned daily - tumble SLOWLY to let the contents roll about and fall apart. Tumbling fast just lets centrifugal force hold everything in place against the walls and no mixing occurs

- smaller pieces work best. large chunks of anything take too long to break down compared to other contents and you end up fishing them out of the finished compost to put into your next mix. Keep a pair of secatuers nearby and cut big things down to size as you add them in

- keep a moist mix, but not sogggy/wet. There is a rough recommended ratio of green to brown, or wet/dry ingredients. Here is a link which is a bit complicated but lists a lot of things you can compost https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/making/c-n-ratio/

- wet compost can end up smelly. if it is too wet add some shredded paper or dry leaves. If too dry just spray with the hose. I know my tumbler has drainage holes to hep with moisture balance and airflow

- Keep it in the sun to keep it warm, composting occurs faster this way.

Good compost smells nice and looks nice too. In the end if you just cant get it right dig a hole somewhere in the garden and throw it all in - the worms will do the work for you.

Good luck

 

heyitisjustin's picture
heyitisjustin
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 9 2017
Posts: 3
water

Thank you for taking the time to reply. It looks like I probably need to turn more, turn more slowly, and monitor the water to get my tumbler to compost. how often do you check your tumbler's moisture?

fated's picture
fated
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2014
Posts: 44
water

I probably take a peek into the tumbler once a week to see how it's looking. (impatience...)

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