If you've got unwanted rodents living in your compost bin a simple and effective way of keeping them out is by adding vermin mesh onto the bottom of it.
Vermin mesh (also known as rodent mesh) is made from thick wire (around two millimetres) and has small squares that baby rodents can't squeeze through.
While it does start to rust after five years or so, it's an effective way of composting food scraps without inviting all the rodents in your neighbourhood to move in at the same time.
The first step is to pick up some vermin mesh from your local hardware shop - we got it in a roll of five metres as we know we'll use it for bits and pieces around our property.
Some shops will sell it by the metre - just call around until you find the best place.
Roll it out, place your compost bin on top of it and cut off the right amount you need, keeping a few inches available around the whole bin.
Next up, cut the vermin mesh into a rough circle shape and then simply start folding the mesh over the edges of the compost bin.
I used my boots to help press it down firmly. It doesn't have to be perfect - just strong enough that it grips onto the edge, which is really easy.
You want to be able to take it off again (when your compost's mature) so I made it reasonably loose.
And that's it! So quick and easy. The only tools you need are some good wire cutters.
From here you can locate your compost bin somewhere convenient in your garden.
We've placed our compost near our chooks and goats who we feed every morning, this makes it easy for us to place food scraps in there on the same trip.
You can also dig the compost bin into the soil 200 millimetres to create another barrier to the rodents from getting in - but generally the vermin mesh is enough to do the job.
We've also got a second bin with a lid on it to store dry carbon materials.
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This makes it easy for us to add a small bucket of carbon with each bucket of food scraps that goes in.
We also make sure we chop up our food scraps to the size of a 20 cent coin to help them break down more quickly.
For something that take less than an hour to do, you'll be kicking yourself you didn't do this years ago.
Happy rodent-free composting!
- Hannah Moloney and Anton Vikstrom are the founders of Good Life Permaculture, a landscape design and education enterprise regenerating land and lifestyles.