Gardening often requires planning. The warm summer temperatures make it easy to harvest compost during the summer.
You’ll likely use your recently completed compost and then store the rest. It’s a good thing to do because the compost gets better with time. The microbes continue to change long after the compost has stabilized (up to four months).
However, proper storage is essential. It’s even more critical for winter composting to retain moisture and nutrients. The question is, how to store compost? Here’s what you need to know about keeping compost.
What is the Best Way to Store Finished Compost?
Poor compost storage can lead to excess moisture, causing it to develop fungus growth, rot, and lose valuable nutrients. Therefore it’s vital to ensure it aerates well and does not retain excess moisture.
One of the easiest and most efficient methods of storing finished compost is in the ground covered with a tarp or plastic sheeting. The tarp or plastic sheet prevents excess moisture from rain and snow runoff but still allows enough humidity to flow in and keep the pile damp.
How Do You Store Used Compost?
Any storage container that will keep the soil dry is also suitable for storing compost. That includes:
- Small garbage cans
- Heavy-duty plastic bags
You can also dump used compost in a wheelbarrow. Storing compost this way makes it easy for you to remove the stringy roots from earlier planting.
It’s important to note that it’s easy to expose used compost to freezing temperatures that make life impossible for any adult insects, pupae, and eggs.
Therefore, avoid storing used compost with excess moisture to prevent cushy conditions for unwanted moldy microbes. Note that warm conditions also expose compost to mysterious hatches.
For this reason, compost tumblers are an excellent option for storing compost. These make turning the compost easier, helping prevent excess heat and moisture.
Where Should I Keep My Compost?
The location of your compost bin or pile should be a prime consideration for your homemade compost. Choosing the right site can make all the difference.
Place your bin not too far from the house to make composting kitchen waste and tending to the heap easy. The ideal place is a spot that receives some sunlight. A cold location slows down the composting process.
That said, avoid areas with intense sunlight because composting requires well-balanced moisture to cure properly.
Additionally, for best results, compost needs regular mixing. Therefore, you need to place your bin at a spot where there’s adequate space to work.
Can You Store Compost Indoors?
Sometimes storing your compost indoors is the only available option. Fortunately, it’s doable. You can keep a compost bin in any dark and dry space indoors.
While outdoor compost needs shielding from direct sunlight or heavy rainfall, indoor compost thrives year-round at a temperature of 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best storage for indoor composting is lidded plastic containers and garbage cans.
The two methods used to make indoor composting are known as aerobic composting and vermicomposting.
The aerobic compost method converts kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, yard scraps, and organic matter into compost using garden microbes.
Vermicomposting is a form of composting that uses worms and microbes from the soil. These are then changed into vermicompost that contains worm poop and other decaying organic matter.
Can I Rejuvenate Old Compost?
It is okay to use old compost. However, after four months, ready compost starts to lose some of the essential nutrients.
So, what if your compost has been sitting for months without attention? Well, don’t worry. You can restore it to nutrient-rich conditions sufficient enough even for extracting compost tea.
Here are a few tips on rejuvenating old compost:
- Mix your compost pile two to three times a week to ensure the moisture content is even all through. It should not be too wet or too dry.
- Add some earthworms to speed up the decomposing process. Make sure the bin is bottomless.
- Add a 60/40 mixture of greens and browns rich in moisture and nitrogen.
- Add food scraps and other organic material and break them up into small pieces to increase the surface area of decomposition.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to revitalize your compost mixture.
How Long Can You Keep Compost?
You can keep compost indefinitely. However, keep in mind that the longer you store it, the more nutrients it loses.
When you store compost, it grows richer in nutrient content for about four months. Otherwise, four to five months in, it starts to lose nutrients.
That said, if you have to store your compost for a period longer than four months, all is not lost. As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to rejuvenate old compost.
Now you understand better the benefits of storing compost. You also know how to store compost, where to keep it, and how you can rejuvenate compost that’s lost nutrients. So go ahead and choose the best compost storage your space allows and store it well.