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Mint to keep away the compost eaters?!

 
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When we moved into out house 4.5 years ago, we started a compost bin. But, instead of ever making compost, we just ended up feeding the deer, bunnies, mice and who know's what else. Veggies and fruits would go in the pile...and then disappear or be found dropped half-way across the yard. We tried a plastic compost bin that someone gave us--it just got destroyed by whatever it was that wanted our food. So, we made our bin away from the house and figured we were feeding some local wildlife and keeping the nutrients out of a landfill. It wasn't the worst thing, but actually having compost for our garden would have been nice. And, this is how it was for years.

UNTIL, about five months ago my husband started drinking mint tea constantly for his Crohn's...like 3-4 tea bags per day. We, of course, put the tea bags in our compost and suddenly things stopped eating our compost! We're now actually making compost! And, we are apparently no longer feeding/luring critters, either.

I don't know if this will work for anyone else, or if it was just a random coincidence. But, maybe if you have critter problems with your compost, maybe plant a bunch of mint around it and it will help, or just harvest from your mint plant frequently and add it to your compost pile.

(Word of warning: Mint spreads. It likes to take over and never leave. If you plant mint by your compost, you might want a barrier, or put the mint in pots, or something...)
 
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I wonder if the mint covered the smell of the other compost ingredients. Our compost is in such a high traffic area (literally buried in a walkway) that we never have critter issues, or I'd be tempted to experiment.
 
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What kind of mint was the tea?  What animals do you see most that might have been foraging your compost?  Since they opened your containers it sounds like raccoons.

A few comments:  Deer do not like Mint [Mentha spp]

If you do not want to plant the invasive Mint: Lemon Balm [Melissa] does not spread by rhizomes but does make clumps so it is invasive but maybe more controllable.

Thanks for sharing.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I don't know if we have raccoons, but we have black bear, rabbits, deer, mice, and rats. We probably have other scavengers, too, I just haven't seen or heard about them.

As for the type of mint, it's peppermint.

I found it so interesting that the pile was established and whatever was eating it appeared to have stopped. So, it seems almost as if the mint not only masked the smell, but made the pile repugnant to whatever was nibbling on it! Now, granted, I live on five acres and there's a lot of other things for animals to eat, so the mint might not work as well for someone in a suburbs surrounded by hungry, desperate deer...
 
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Yes, mints will deter most foraging of a compost heap, so will adding enough carbon (browns) over the food wastes with a mix of mints or other aromatic herbs.
If you are including any manures those will deter most critters (dogs excepted).

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I wonder if what mint is doing, is that it gives the animal in question "bad breath", making it easier for carnivores to track it?  I suspect you want to treat the mint in some way, so that it won't start growing.  As spent tea leaves is probably fine.

 
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We have mint growing near the compost heaps.  I love this post because we have also have a lot of lemon balm and I can throw it on there as well.  I also pee on my compost heaps, which I acknowledge is easier for me than for my wife.  Predator pee is a classic potion for deterring varmints. WE are predators.
John S
PDX OR
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