Return to the Soil Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Posted by mjvaldez69 5 (My Page) on
Mon, May 12, 08 at 15:05

I went fishing on Saturday and I decided to throw the fish guts into my enclosed compost bin. Did I make a big mistake by doing this? Right now, all I have in the bin is straw, brown leaves, a few grass clipping and some kitchen waste.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

No. I toss fish bits in my pile once in awhile. Make sure you have lots of browns and it should decay fairly quickly.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Mon, May 12, 08 at 18:22

Fish guts, combined with the sort of carbon material you have, are one of the best, fastest-decomposing nitrogen sources around, in my experience.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Same here - cleaned fish parts are a regular component of our compost piles.

Dave


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

I should be so lucky. If it were me, I'd be burying them under my peppers.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

  • Posted by careyj 7 Southern Maryland (My Page) on
    Mon, May 12, 08 at 21:19

They would go really nice with the crab shells I put in my pile last night!

Carey


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

I tell you - all this gloating and bragging is really getting to me. Fish guts in the compost pile, indeed. Keep pushing, and I'm going to have to stop and pick up road kill or something!

;)


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

I'm a little bitter myself. I once got buckets of fish parts from the local fish market and put them into a bin with very little other material. I went up to my garden one morning and was horrified by a macabre sight. There were about 20 huge Haddock heads trying to get out of the wire bins, and I think I screamed out loud when I saw them. Evidently a raccoon had tried to haul the fish out of my bin and they got stuck coming through the wire---all nose first.

If you do put fish parts in your garden, don't use your shovel. You'll distribute the fish smell in other places and may find some critter has torn your garden up looking for the source.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Raccoons are the reason that we don't put fish parts in the garden anymore.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

If you cover the fish parts with enough browns and greens and put them deep in the pile that has a cover, it will be no problem. Fish parts go away very quickly and I use them from time to time including shrimp tails and crab shells. These take a bit longer to disappear, but they do with no ill effects. Just make sure they are well covered in the pile!


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Fish parts are one of my favorite ingredients.

1) They go into the core (center) of a 130F+ compost pile.
If rain is expected, the pile is covered, since my piles are no more than 18" high, to make it easier on my back when turning.

My dog takes no interest in compost piles containing fish. The fish parts (mainly bluegill or parts) dissolve within 10 days.

If the fish are available in planting time, I put a couple of bluegill about 12-15" down, with dry compost just above and below.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

I think joepye might have had problems with raccoons digging up the fish she buried in her garden. I've never had a problem after I learned not to get fish guts on my shovel. I dig a hole, pop the fish in, and plant. The year I shoveled the fish parts in, I had big trouble.

If you grow peppers in pots, do plant a fish under them. They LOVE that!


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

So the key is to leave any fishy smell on top of the soil... I may have to try that...


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

No. no. no. Bury all the fish, smell and all. Do not let a single particle of soil or shovel above the 14" mark get tainted by fish smell. It's like you're burying nuclear waste. I bet this turns out to be a double post.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

I use any fish parts I get by burying them deeply into the center of an large hot pile and making sure there are a lot of leaves on top. All of my piles are open, I don't use any kind of containers.

There hasn't been any critter problems, and even my trio of guard cats have not shown any interest.

As for annpat, you certainly have a whole lots of rules up there in Maine regarding compost...I guess we're a little more easy going in Southern New England ;-)

PJ


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Really? Other than not composting bread and burying fish below the raccoon olfactory level, what else?


 o
My reason for careful burial?

The reason I'm so careful when burying fish in my garden (I don't worry about it in the compost.) is because the first year I buried fish, something tore up my whole garden looking for it. I always assumed that was because the smell was distributed widespread by my smelly shovel.

I've never had any problems since that one time, it's true.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

annpat:

I understand the issue about soggy bread, New Englanders are supposed to be "quirky" and all that. My stomach may be stronger than yours, at least where bread is concerned, but don't get me started about putting dead voles and moles into compost....my hand is starting to shake as I try and type ;-)

Anyway, I became a little worried when you started writing "Do not let a single particle of soil or shovel above the 14" mark get tainted by fish smell. It's like you're burying nuclear waste." Just seemed to be a little too quirky maybe? Just a little odd for a New Englander, but there are regional differences of course.

Well, just to show there are no hard feelings, I'll be sending you a gallon of my finest compost (vole free of course) for your certification.

Sincerely,

PJ


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

PJ, are you kidding? Hard feelings! None. I adore everybody named PJ!

So? You'll need my address, dear?


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Annpat:

Oh yes, as soon as I get your address, Ill be sure to put the compost in the mail. Ill even send it with a return receipt, so Ill know exactly when it gets to your certification facility. I assume the certification process will not take too long and Ill soon be getting a very pretty, glittering certificate in the mail. I cant wait!

As for the fish parts, I think the best way to deal with them is throwing them into a hot compost pile. If you really want to bury them in the garden, not only should you bury them in a deep trench, but add a good 6-12 inches of soil on top.

Thats how a next store neighbor of mine did it, and he never had animal problems. He used a three row method: the first row was for plants, the second to walk on and the third to bury his refuse. Not only did he dig a deep trench to bury the scraps, but he would dig out from his walking path more soil to throw on top. This way as the scraps were consumed and the soil settled, he would still have good coverage from critters.

My family would supply him with fish all summer long (mainly blue fish and flounder), and he and his wife put all of their kitchen waste into their garden. They didnt have critter problems but had the most beautiful, lush garden I have ever seen.

Happy Composting,

PJ


 o
Re: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

"I assume the certification process will not take too long..."

Not in geologpaleontological time, no. Not long at all. Mere aeons.

All the best,
-Patrick


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

~oh, snort~

(Hi Patrick!)


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

Man fish guts work great, just dig a hole and put them in. I've done this since I was a kid, easy way to get rid of the smell and made the plants grow like crazy. Just spread them around the garden. I usually went a good 3 shovelfulls and dumped them in.


 o
RE: Fish Guts in My Compost Bin

The Native American tribes of oklahoma used to bury a whole
fish in the ground under their (corn? I believe) seeds. My 74 yr old father in law is both Chickasaw and Kiowa. We will be trying this idea out this year.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Soil Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here