A scream in the garden

Friday was an unexpectedly sunny day but cool enough for some heavy-duty work in the back garden. In view of the recent rat activity in the dakek compost bin I was keen to eliminate the issue.

Having made the holes in the cardboard for the garlic last weekend, the first job was to pop the cloves in their places. Then I could empty the finishing-off compost bin’s contents over the top, which in turn would enable the contents of the dalek to be transferred to the aforementioned bin.

The bin was full two months ago when I transferred contents from the Green Johanna to the finishing-off bin.

I started by unloading the dalek from the top but this proved to be heavier work that I had the energy left for. So, off came the hatch at the bottom and out came some fantastic compost. It pleases me that the dalek produces such an excellent medium for growing.

After getting out the most accessible contents, I started to dig more deeply into the heap, which is when I screamed. A grey animal jumped out and ran off into the undergrowth.

At first, I thought it was a mouse, as it seemed quite small but on reflection it must have been the rat. It was a tad too big for a mouse and I’ve not known them to take up residence in the compost bin before now.

Unfortunately, soon after the encounter with my furry garden helper (it does help me make good compost), I ran out of steam and so the rest of the unloading will have to be done another day. But I was hopeful that the little scare might have sent a message to the rat that it needed to find alternative accommodation.

No such luck! At least, I don’t think the message has got through yet as this morning I have noticed some activity in the compost I placed over the cardboard mentioned above.

It would seem that the Green Johanna takes longer to process some food remains than I had originally hoped. Already, I had picked out some of the ‘unprocessed’ contents and taken them back to the food waste composter for a second sojourn there. However, it looks like I’m going to have to get my gloves on again and weed out anymore tasty tidbits that the rat could be interested in. And think again about how to manage the contents of the Green Johanna.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in Gardening, soil management, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A scream in the garden

  1. Over Soil says:

    For the outhouse I’ve got a sonic plug in thingy. For when I put my washing in the machine, I do NOT want to have to scream and I don’t want to make it easy for uninvited guests. I like to share what I don’t need and I live a modest life, but we’ve also got the installation of plenty of CCTV for the human rats that like to take what ain’t theirs or damage just for the sake of it. Sad really, but that’s how it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk

    • Helen says:

      I enjoyed the little film!

      I wonder if it’s possible to get a battery-operated sonic plug? So far, the rat does not seem to have revisited the dalek compost bin and fortunately there never seems to have been a build-up of rats. But it would reduce the headache if I could dissuade them from making the compost heap their home.

      I’m sorry to hear you’re getting things stolen and damaged by ‘human rats’.

      • Over Soil says:

        Oh no you get me wrong, for the CCTV has made sure I don’t get things stolen and damaged, but I’ve seen the rats come to the door and read [CCTV in operation] on the door and cleared off. I’ve also sadly seen a few things thrown into the porch by a postman, but no damage means I forgave him in my mind, without telling him what I’d got on tape. Bet you there is a battery operated plug to put the sonic dodar into.

  2. Clare Pooley says:

    I do sympathise, Helen! We were forever getting rats in the dalek/black compost bins until we gave in and put the one we still use on paving slabs. It hasn’t made any difference to the speed at which things rot down in the bin and worms and other helpful insects are still in residence. We haven’t used anything from the Green Johanna yet. The green and food waste appear to be reducing very quickly. The things that take some time are the potato/corn starch bags that magazines are sent in these days. The only problem we have with rodents at present is that they keep getting into our loft and making nests in the insulation! I hear feet thundering about above my head when I’m lying in bed; ugh!

    • Helen says:

      Oh no! You have my sympathy with the rodents in your loft.

      Good to hear the Green Johanna is doing well for you, Clare. I’ve found the corn starch bags do take time as well (that’s what I was fishing out of the ‘finished’ compost).

      I think the reason for the rat might be simply me needing to empty the whole of the Green Johanna to move it; or the rat(s) knowing from experience about the ‘winter home’ opportunity.

      Anyway, we move forward do we not?

  3. nanacathy2 says:


  4. Tabula Rasa says:

    I found rat babies in my compost heap once 🤢

  5. I hope you lose the rats

  6. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I think rats are inevitable in a garden – you just notice if there is a compost heap!

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