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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Storing Compost? Toplef10Storing Compost? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Storing Compost? I22gcj10Storing Compost? 14dhcg10

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Storing Compost?

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Post  Zmoore 8/10/2015, 8:25 am

I may be "thinking" about this too hard.  
Once you have good finished compost how long will it last before it needs to be used?
Let's say I have or will have some good compost ready to go in next month, but I don't plan to actively use it for planting anything for this year and I want to save it for next spring.  Will the nutrients leech out between now and spring if I just leave it in a pile in the elements?  What safeguards if any are required to save finished compost?
I won't tell you what I've done already Wink  Just checking to see if what I've done is even necessary and/or something that shouldn't be done to begin with.

P.S.  My back hurts.
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Post  hartge01 8/10/2015, 2:38 pm

Interesting question, and no, I have no idea...sorry

I had huge piles of shredded oak leaves and vegetation spread out over a large area as ground cover in some landscaping around the house. I was working in that area over the weekend and noticed there was some very nice looking "black gold" a few inches down (~4). It is probably a good two years old.  I was thinking of using some of that as compost and as a start for my new compost bin. I guess we will just have to give it a try and see.

Blessings!
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Post  boffer 8/10/2015, 5:49 pm

Zmoore wrote:I may be "thinking" about this too hard.  
Once you have good finished compost how long will it last before it needs to be used?...

It's my understanding that nutrients can leech out. I keep my compost piles and all boxes covered with plastic during the winter months when I get most of my annual rainfall.

I try to keep everything moist all the time for the benefit of the worms and microbial stuff. I've used compost that's several years old with no issues.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 8/10/2015, 6:39 pm

I am sure leaching occurs, but I don't do anything special with my compost pile during winter. It gets really cold here, and we get snow, so that makes a nice blanket for everything. I figure it is leaching into the ground under the bed, which gets partially incorporated into the compost, along with worms, etc. I have an old fashioned, regular old actual PILE, no frame, etc.

I have always had good compost, but I don't cook mine, it is a longer process than the hot versions. Takes a while!
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Post  sanderson 8/10/2015, 10:50 pm

Once a compost pile is done, I just leave it covered in the cage until needed. Any leftover compost from a previous pile is stored in covered garbage cans or repurposed peat moss/vermiculite bags to be used first. My compost is not "free range" on the ground so it doesn't attract any worms to worry about dying. I do check on the moisture and introduce a little air periodically. I also cover my beds during the winter rains ( rofl ) which also keeps the beds clean of wind debris. I take the plastic off for an hour or so to wet the Mix, then cover again. Last winter I stored compost on top of unused beds and the worm populations exploded!

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Post  Zmoore 8/11/2015, 8:59 am

Thanks for input.  I did a little "research" myself and you guys generally confirmed what I found.  Leave it in pile, cover if you can to at least reduce amount of water that can flush through it.
I just came up with my own idea with no input, which was to bag it in burlap bags and then put it in my shed.  Apparently that is a "no-no", figures.  I don't have plastic bags to put it in, which would be a little better, but still the hassle to make sure it stays moist in storage.  The way I stored it it'll dry completely out by next year.  I'm just not going to sift anymore compost until I need it later for winter dress up after everything is done growing and then just leave my bulk piles over the winter and then sift what I need in early spring for planting again.   
Live and learn. 
Thanks for input!
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Post  sanderson 8/11/2015, 3:06 pm

ZMoore, Oh, well. Just wet it thoroughly before mixing into the Mel's Mix when needed. The microbes in the Mix should quickly spread to the compost when it is mixed in.

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