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How to store compost

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How to store compost

Post  mazzy on Wed 21 May 2014 - 12:44

Hi...I'm full of questions.  Hopefully others might learn along with me.

I'm just about done with filling my last raised bed with mm.  I'll have compost left over.  I was thinking of getting an air tight container to store it in...something that the ants, etc won't be able to get into.  Is this a good idea?

Thanks,
Mazzy
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Re: How to store compost

Post  camprn on Wed 21 May 2014 - 13:21

I keep mine in a plastic barrel with a lid. If it still in the bag leave it there. the Mels' mix will settle and you can use it to top dress the bed in a few weeks.

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Re: How to store compost

Post  plantoid on Wed 21 May 2014 - 13:36

I do a slightly different thing nowadays instead of storing finished compost long term in a tight fitting lidded black plastic trash can , partly for the reason that the dust bin was too heavy to move about , it cracked from too much sun on it .

I take it you did actually mean compost and not MM .

If you store it with some air flow/ gas escape  the bacteria can carry on working.
If it is a true sealed container the gases produced use up the air , it can make it a bit smelly .
Sometimes in a sealed container you'll get a white wet  mould through out the container as it sweats ....not sure if that is a or good or bad thing .



since last year I store finished compost in heavy duty black polythene sacks , to about 3/4 full , checking there are plenty of worms in it .  Then carefully fold the top over so that the rain can't get  in and ruin it , hold the top down in the folded over mode with a house brick sloping to the ground for water run off .

 So  long as it's fairly moist but not running " juices" when there is some muck worms in with it , as it decays further they will enjoy the feast being produced and also enhance the compost with their worm casts .
 You'll lose some volume doing this but will gain from having worm casts in your super charged compost .
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Re: How to store compost

Post  Marc Iverson on Wed 21 May 2014 - 15:08

Re air tight, it's better to keep it water-tight, especially the top and sides, than air-tight. Water can wash nutrients away, but it's fine if some of the leachate runs out the bottom so the compost doesn't turn septic. As to being air-tight, that can increase the chance of sepsis too -- the stinky bacteria are the ones that thrive without air, the anaerobic bacteria. Plus, keeping air available encourages the continued work of the bugs, worms, fungi, and bacteria that make compost break down. When you add the compost to something later, one of the possible benefits of it is actually the presence of some of those live lifeforms. Sterile soil/compost can still have great things about it nutritionally, but live soil/compost can be even better.
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Re: How to store compost

Post  llama momma on Wed 21 May 2014 - 15:32

I'll tell you what is wonderful and repurposed --big plastic yellow kitty litter containers.  Sifted compost stored in them.  Right in the garage, nice to have in the spring to freshen up extra containers of mels mix too.  Very convenient to pot up babies into mels mix with compost.  The cold garage isn't an issue, there are worms in the bottom of the compost containers and other crawly things survive in there too.
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Re: How to store compost

Post  mazzy on Thu 22 May 2014 - 6:54

Thanks for the great information.  A couple of you mentioned worms.  Where would I get them?  It sounds like something that should be part of stored compost.

As far as compost storage...if I were to get a dual composter something like http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/grd/4476768752.html and use one of the sides to store a mixture of left over store bought compost and new compost that I'm "cooking", would it be appropriate?  I'd use the other side to tumble new compost.

I will also have left over vermiculite and peat moss.  Rather than mix them with compost and have a ready to go mm I probably should just keep the vermiculite and peat moss stored separately in air tight barrels and then add compost when I need it for potting plants or topping off one of the gardens. Sound correct?

Thanks for all the education you SFGers are giving me.
Mazzy
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Re: How to store compost

Post  camprn on Thu 22 May 2014 - 7:10

Mazzy take a look at the threads 'Composting 101', 'are you a hottie' and '1000 worms on the way'. These threads will give you lots of information and most likely answer your current questions.

But you will probably end up with new questions,   Wink

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Re: How to store compost

Post  Kelejan on Thu 22 May 2014 - 12:19

You could store dry, mixed, vermiculate and fluffed up peat in sealed containers, then when required, add half as much again of compost. That would give you your 1/3 of each. You will have done the labour of fluffing and mixing those first two ingredients before storing. Store compost seperately as Plantoid and Marc suggested.
Vericulate is inert, and peat almost inert, but compost is living and you want to keep it that way.
Don't forget to label the contents of the containers.
e.g. 50/50 Verm/peat.  100/Finished Compost.  All mixed together  100/Complete MM.
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Re: How to store compost

Post  mazzy on Thu 22 May 2014 - 13:14

Thanks Kelejan...good idea.

I read compost 101 (most of it) and see that opinion is that open wire framed compost piles are better than tumble style bins.  Problem is that my wife is adamant that open composting will not exist within our property boundary....the aesthetics of our shared abode is her hat.

So tumble bins it is.  I have a friend who has a tumble bin setup and says it does a good job.  Do you feel that tumble bins simply don't do a good job or just that they take longer to compost?

Mazzy
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Re: How to store compost

Post  Denese on Thu 22 May 2014 - 13:47

I have a compost tumbler, and it works great at making compost quickly.  That is, as long as I remember to turn it every day.  Very Happy  Storage is just in plastic trash cans drilled with holes, to allow air to get in and out.  I would love to have the double tumbler, so I could tumble and store in one unit.
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Re: How to store compost

Post  sanderson on Thu 22 May 2014 - 18:56

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