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Rats in the compost

I'm a bit of a newby but I've made some very nice compost which I planned to spread in the greenhouse in a month or two. Trouble is there are rats in the compost even though I never put foodstuff in there and I've been leaving poison for them, and they're leaving really large poos about, Around an inch long and a quarter inch diameter. I know they'll degrade eventually but is it safe to grow my tomatoes in this stuff? Doesn't seem too sanitary to my mind, but also a shame/nusiance to dispose of it.

Any advice will be welcomed.



  • rustycarno2...there are plenty of recipes for "Ratatouille" image 

    Seriously, I'd probably ask the council for help. I'm terrified of them. From what I know they can turn pretty nasty on people. 

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    The risk with rats is Weil's disease (Leptosprirosis) Leptosprirosis is usually only associated with things that are wet with their pee or water supplies contaminated by rat pee. They can also carry salmonella.

    Your plants will grow in the soil, but the tomatoes themselves need not even touch it. So though the compost might have some nasty pathogens hiding in it (at least to begin with) I would suggest you just take care when handling it. Wear gloves, wash hands and don't handle it if you have any open cuts or sores on your hands. 

    I would not be concerned at all that either of the above could 'pass into the plants' and cause any trouble with the eventual tomato crop. 

  • Edd..there's no way I'd anywhere near a rat...I'd send my Jack Russel Terrier to check out the ratimage

    And as for voting...nope, I can't vote. I'm not British


  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Just make sure you don't handle the compost with bare hands.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,995

    I think you'd be fine if you were careful about spreading the compost over your soil now, and mulching it up on top with something.  The rains will wash away the urine, and the mulch will keep the poo away from your plants.  When you plant out wear some washable gardening gloves, and just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.  I'm sure many of us have had passing rats in and around the compost (even if we don't notice the evidence).. they're everywhere.  

    Could you built a rat proof compost bin?  Wire mesh of about 1cm square would be good, if you could get it under, around, and over your existing structure.  You do want that heap getting nice a hot, where if you keep turning it over or keep it soaking wet (or whatever else to make it inhospitable to rats).. it won't compost properly.  

    Utah, USA.
  • The terrier is called "Pearly". A bitch and I really mean that lol 

     She's a cross between a Mini JRT and Patterdale Terrier. Which would make a Minjackpat? image 

  • Big fans of JRTs and Patterdales here image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • LOL Dovefromabove...I rescued Pearly and she hates children and men wearing glasses with a passion image She also thinks she's at least as big as a Doberman and has the power of a Rottweiler image and this little dog doesn't give a monkey about me being "at the end of her leash"image


  • OH's family had a Patterdale x Lakeland, and their next door neighbour has had  Patterdales for years, as have all their sons. - dogs of character image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thanks everybody for your input, I'm still not quite sure what course to take though. Gardening in Marigolds just seems plain wrong and I don't think I can give tomatoes to my family if there's the slightest chance of contamination . I actually did cover the bins in wire netting but the little varmints dug underneath, next years defences will be more effective. I also have a very large dog in a small container, a West Highland Terrier that's afraid of nothing. On the whole I think I might just bag up the ready to use stuff and take it to the council tip, the still brewing stuff will get a good turnover and a soaking with the dog standing by.

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