This question comes from Melinda, and pertains to the topic of composting trenches – specifically, whether or not they are prone to invasion by pest animals.
Bentl[e]y, I was wondering if you have had any problems with
rats. we have a canal behind our house and will get rats eating my
garden plants. they like tomatoes and cucumbers. I had a composter a
few years ago but the rats got inside it from underneath. I was
thinking that adding a trench might keep up with our excess waste that
the worms can’t just yet but worried about the rats.
I think I am quite lucky as far as my location goes – for whatever reason we don’t seem to have ANY pest animals, other than the occasional bunny rabbits that munch on our perennials. You can even leave stinky garbage bags sitting out overnight here without any concern that a raccoon or even a dog will tear into it!
I suspect that if the rats are eating your veggies and getting into your composter, there is a reasonable chance they will sniff out the goodies in your trench as well. One of the things I love about the trench system is that it is pretty well odourless (unlike my non-vermi backyard composters) – but Rats and other animals have a much more powerful sense of smell than we do.
You might try “pit composting” and see if they get into that. Simply dig a hole and fill it with food waste & ‘brown’ materials like shredded cardboard etc – then cover it over with soil. If you find that the rats are digging into that, then you won’t have much chance with the trench. If they DON’T seem to detect the pit, perhaps you can try out a small trench.
Hope this helps, Melinda!
I’d definitely be interested to hear if other people have issues with pest animals getting into their composting systems. Please write in or add a comment to this post if you have something you’d like to share!