Compost Storage: Tips on How To Store Correctly

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Real Men Sow

Many gardeners use a variety of compost storage tips to keep excess material from going bad in the winter months. Spring, however, is the time of year that gardeners will likely use compost leftover from previous summers. The excess material is often leftover at the end of warm weather seasons. 

A lot of gardeners are familiar with the question of what happens to unutilized compost. Is it possible for it to go bad?

It can certainly go bad. This is only true if the item hasn’t been stored correctly. Everything will be fine as long as the gardeners keep the right levels of humidity and oxygen in the compost pile. There will be no loss of nutrients and there will be no onset or rotting.

Importance of Composting

30% of household waste is food scraps and trimmings. These yard trimmings and food scraps can be used to make compost. This is a great way to improve the soil and behave responsibly to the environment.

It is always a good idea to compost for your garden. Anyone who does this can save around 280 pounds (approximately 128 kg) each year. The summer months are ideal for making this. High temperatures allow for faster decomposition of garden and kitchen waste. The pile should be ready to use in the fall.

It can be used in your garden or even half-finished. We recommend that you apply 1-2 inches of compost on top of your soil. If you have excess, you can store it using some of the tips we will discuss later in this article.

Contents of Good Homemade Compost

You can make homemade compost from newspaper shreddings, grass clippings (preferably shredded), wood shavings and/or ashes, hedge trimmings and fallen leaves (preferably shredded as well), straw, manure, and hay as well as plant wastes from your garden.

Kitchen scraps and leftovers are also important components of home composting. They are easily available and can be decomposed. Many households have leftover meals, vegetable and fruit wastes, stale bread, coffee grounds, tea bags, and used tea bags.

These can be used to make compost, which will help keep your garden soil fertile and rich. It is important to choose carefully when you use kitchen waste. There are many options for adding to your composting pile. However, there are some items that are better left alone.

Kitchen Waste Items for Home Composting


Add The Following to your Compost Bin:

  • Teabags and coffee grounds
  • Banana peels, rotten apples, and all other fruit and vegetable waste
  • Fruit pulp from the preparation of jams, juices, sorbets, etc.
  • Stale bread, pizza, cookies, donuts, and other food composed of flour
  • Eggshells and chopped corn cobs

Don’t Add The Following to your Compost Bin:

  • Meat scraps, fat, bones, and skin
  • Leftover fish and fish waste
  • Oil and grease of all types
  • Spoiled yogurt, cheese, sour cream, butter, and other dairy products.


Cats, dogs, and rats will be attracted to grease, meat scraps, bones, and milk items. Decomposition can also produce an unpleasant odor. Fats are also slow in decomposing, which can increase the time it takes for compost to become ready.

Effective Compost Storage Tips

Proper storage is required for those who intend to use the compost later. Exposure to unsatisfactory environmental conditions can cause damage and eventually lead to the compost’s decay. It’s a good idea for gardeners to add at least 1-2 inches of compost every year. It really works wonders. Any leftover material should be kept for this purpose.

Storing compost should have the main purpose of protecting it from unwanted fungus and soil loss. It is essential to keep the compost area adequately aerated and prevent moisture from entering. There are many ways to store compost. It all depends on the type of compost used and how long the gardener intends to keep it unused.

If a gardener intends to use it for a short time, there won’t be any problems. But, longer periods of inactivity may require different strategies. Here are some storage tips to keep your compost safe and nutrient-rich for as long as you want.

1. Storage for the Short Term

Short-term composting storage is not a problem. You should be aware of the possibility of being exposed to extreme weather conditions such as rain and high humidity.

If this happens, make sure the compost pile has enough oxygenated and that no moisture is allowed to get in.

2. Storage for the Medium Term

If you plan to store compost for several months, with an anticipated rainy period between, then stakes and a cover should be used.

To protect the compost from the elements, place the stakes exactly as the tarp was. This will keep the material safe and allow enough air to flow through it regularly.

3. Storage for the long term

People who plan to keep compost for longer than three months may need to be creative.

Winter is a particularly challenging time because the pile must be protected from ground moisture and a continuous flow of air. Walled storage is an excellent way to accomplish this. You might prefer to store your compost in a shed or barn.

4. Storing finished compost

If you have enough space in your garden, one of the easiest ways to store compost is to put it on the ground.

A better option is to find a protected area in which mature material can be kept dry and away from high humidity and excess moisture, but still be exposed to any insects or worms that might make it worse.

5. Conserving Fresh Compost

For fresh compost, plastic bags and garbage cans make the best storage solutions. You can store it for a long time without needing to do anything. To ensure that your material is always ready for use, turn it in every once in a while.

It is also important that the compost has access to oxygen. To do this, leave the container or bag open to air out the sides and top. 

6. Storing compost tea

It is more comfortable to store compost tea than the other types. It is also a great fertilizer alternative that repels harmful insects and adds nutrients to the soil.

Compost tea can be stored in a sealed container for up to a week. To support aeration, a canister with an attached blubber stone or aquarium pump is a good choice for longer storage.

7. Use Containers for Winter Storage

Simple plastic garbage cans are good storage options for compost in winter. Simply drill holes for air circulation and you are good to go. You should choose the smaller bins to make it easier to handle the material.

You can use black containers, or just color the bin black. This will increase the compost’s temperature. This is a very practical strategy if you have a bucket with a lid. This will allow the gardener to easily rotate the pile and facilitate aeration.

Remember that plastic containers can expand when the contents inside freeze. They are therefore ideal for storage. To keep it from freezing, people who want to use it as potting soil can simply store the containers in the basement.

You can also store finished compost in 5-gallon buckets with a loose lid to keep it warm during winter. Store the containers in the garage/shed. It will work well to keep the containers in your garage/shed.

8. Build a Solid Shelter

Do this in the dead of winter. A solid shelter can protect the compost from snow and cold. If you have enough space, a garage or woodshed might be a good option. To preserve compost, make a shelter from some solid material if you don’t have enough space.

9. Be Careful Of The Ingredients

Summer is a good time to not worry about what’s being added to your compost pile. Winter, however, is a slower process.

There is always the possibility of rodents, rats, and other wildlife getting into your pile to search for food. As a precaution, it is important to be extra cautious about what you add in colder climates.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.