Composter v Raccoons – I think we can all predict the winner

9 Aug 2010

My composter - note the doors - might as well put a "welcome raccoons" sign there

As I blogged about before, living the green dream, we set up my composter in the back yard not too long ago. I promised to up-date you and so I am.

We have been dutifully putting weeds, and onions (I read an article about greasing the grill with half an onion dipped in oil – it does seem to help and grill smells great) and left over eggshells, vegetables, dry cereal, etc.

The problem is that the composter has those four little doors at the bottom.  Drawn by the smell of the food, we started noticing one door being left open – not by any of us.  I bought some lengths of bungee cord and wrapped them around the doors – thinking “that will solve our problem.”  No such luck.  First, the raccoons (I know it’s raccoons by the pawprints and I startled one one early morning) began to burrow under the doors.  Then, after I put bricks around the door (didn’t work – they simply moved them), I put a whole dog crate on that side of the composter.  As you would expect, they simply switched doors.  The only upside to this is that it seems that the composter is far enough away from the house that it keeps the raccoons out of our tomatoes but I’m still concerned that they will somehow be emboldened to try and get into our house.

Do you have any suggestions (short of going back to using the garbage disposal) to keeping raccoons out of my composter?

Leave a Comment to “Composter v Raccoons – I think we can all predict the winner”

  1. Susan Tachna 17. Aug, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Raccoons are tough critters. Try wrapping a very strong twine or rope multiple times around the entire bottom of the composter. You don’t really have to get in those doors very often at all (maybe once/year, as you prepare the soil for your new Spring garden), so it won’t be an inconvenience; and the raccoons don’t have any business getting into those doors at all!

    I am having another issue with the design of my composter. Like yours, it looks to be made of a composite plastic material; but mine is a ‘snap together’ kind – one snaps all four walls of the composter together so that there are joints at the corners. Now, into our 7th year or so, the composter is coming apart at the corners. This lets rats in. And, the compost inside is so dense that it won’t be easy to try to rejoin the corners where the compost is busting through. On the other hand, the nice thing about the design of ours is that the bottom openings do not swing open like doors. Rather, one must lift them up. And with the moist, dense compost pressing on the trap door from the inside, it takes muscles stronger than raccoons seem to have to open them.

    Good luck! It’ll all be worth it when you can ‘harvest’ your first batch of homemade soil!

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