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I am putting in a new garden and thinking about putting our compost pile in one corner. Will this attract harmful bugs to any degree that may interfere with the health of the plants growing nearby? Are there any other drawbacks to siting the compost heap in a vegetable garden that I should consider?

  • What are you quoting here? Sorry, I don't understand your question... – billynoah Jun 2 '17 at 4:24
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    pnuts is asking how far away will the compost pile be from the closest plants? – Robert Cartaino Jun 2 '17 at 16:14
  • the compost pile will be in the garden. distance is to be determined but at the moment the adjacent bed would be 2' - 3' away. – billynoah Jun 2 '17 at 17:45
  • I've gardened right around my compost bin and been fine. It probably depends on where you are and possibly how many food scraps you keep open in your compost bin – Philip Jun 2 '17 at 19:44
  • @Philip - I don't have a bin so it will simply be a pile with near daily contributions from the kitchen. I am in a rural area in the the midwest. – billynoah Jun 3 '17 at 2:12
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I have had compost bins in the past. I had 3 bins side-by-side just off my lawn, and filled up one, then moved to the next, and so on. Once I had all 3 bins full, the 1st was generally ready to use as compost. I also had one just off my garden, which is very useful to have it near by, much more practical for putting plant material in it from your garden. I never noticed it attracting unwanted pests. I also understand, ground up tree leaves and coffee grounds are the best for making compost.

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The compost pile will attract mice and other rodents. I have experienced this from my own backyard and these rodents will eat your vegetable plants or vegetables. Having a compost bin is a great idea but it will attract unwanted pests.

  • Isn't that a question of compost bin maintenance? We have multiple bins in operation for over a decade now and never experienced such problems [San Francisco Bay Area]. Maintenance: (1) No food scraps in the compost (2) lid on every bin (3) correct mixture of brown and green (4) keep compost moist (5) turn contents of each bin once a week (or once every two weeks when we are lazy). – njuffa Jul 3 '17 at 3:42
  • Mice are attracted to my vegetable garden and they are obviously attracted to the compost bin as well. Most compost bins have holes for aeration and mice can get in through these holes. I am doing all the things you mention except #1. I want to reduce what goes into the landfill by composting kitchen waste (not meats or cooked meals) – JStorage Jul 3 '17 at 21:24
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    Food scraps definitely have a tendency to attract mice to compost bins, especially when they are not buried. Two kitchen items we do place in our bins are used tea bags and used coffee filters including contents. The worms in our compost bins seem to love these from what I can tell when turning the compost, as I often find them in dense groups near those items. – njuffa Jul 3 '17 at 22:06
  • @njuffa does your compost pile get warm and how much water are you putting and how often? – JStorage Jul 3 '17 at 22:15
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    Enough water to keep it slightly damp. I usually turn the bin contents once a week and add water during that process, usually around two gallons per 3ft x 3ft bin. The green portion of the contents obviously provides moisture as well. I have never measured the temperature but I have noticed at times that the compost was warmer than the surrounding air during the cooler parts of the year. – njuffa Jul 3 '17 at 23:02

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