Guide to Composting – Dispelling Myths and Why it May be Right for You

April 2011

There are mangarden composting and landscaping servicesy misconceptions about do-it-yourself composting – it is costly, ineffective, smelly, complex, etc. Whether you’re concerned about home or HOA maintenance, the truth is that when correctly done, composting is a simple, cost-effective way of reducing waste and keeping any yard healthy.

Composting involves letting organic plant matter decompose and recycling that matter as fertilizer, pest control and soil amendment. It is becoming part of common landscaping services, with the compost being used mainly for gardening and landscaping. But composting isn’t just a set-it-and-forget-it operation. Here are a few tips to making sure you’re doing it correctly and getting the most value out of your efforts.

1. The right moisture level is key.

If a compost pile is too wet it won’t get hot enough to decompose properly. If it is too dry, the decomposition will take way too long. The trick is to get the pile to just the right level of moisture, which is wet but not soaking.

2. Let it breathe.

A compost pile only starts to smell rotten when it is too wet and there isn’t enough air. There is a difference between rotting and decomposing, and by adding dry material and aerating the pile the compost should smell less.

3. Don’t invite visitors.

Pests will be naturally drawn to your compost pile, but you can prevent them from taking up residence by removing excess food scraps and keeping the pile turned and hot. You can also use an animal-proof compost bin. If you’re part of an HOA, maintenance of your compost pile is key. You don’t want to upset the neighbors.

4. Know when to stop.

A compost pile is ready to be used when it is dark, crumbly, and has an earthy smell. Not sure how to use it? Contact a company that offers professional landscaping services – they should have all the answers you need.

For more information on composting and landscaping in Lake Oswego, contact your local professional.

[Photo by: Simon Howden]

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