What Will Happen If You Left The Compost Too Long? Find Out

What Will Happen If You Left The Compost Too Long

Your compost is ready and maybe you want to store the compost and you wondering what will happen to your compost if you left it for too long in a storage container?

The short answer: leaving your compost for too long will not affect the quality of tour compost. You can store your compost for more than two years.

However, there are some vital conditions that you need to keep in check if you want to store your compost for a very long period of time.

These are conditions are:

1. Heat
2. Moisture
3. Oxygen


Heat is one of the vital factors that help keep the compost in good condition. This is because if there is enough heat in the compost, microorganisms such as molds can not survive in the compost and damage the compost.

Heat hinders their microbial activities on compost and so your compost can remain in condition for a very long period of time.

You can conserve heat in your compost when you cover the compost with a lid. Another way to increase the heat in your compost is to turn it in a timely.


Moisture is also required for maintaining the quality of compost. You need to conserve the moisture content of the compost if you want to keep the compost for Long. Otherwise, the compost may disintegrate and eventually leach all its nutrients.

You can conserve the moisture content of your compost by storing the compost in a well-parked compost storing container with proper spaces where air can go in and out.

Read Also: What Do I Put At The Bottom Of My Compost Bin?: Find Out Here


Oxygen is one of the components of air, which many living organisms depend on. However, there are other living organisms that do not require air or oxygen to carry out their biological activities.

These organisms that do not require oxygen are called anaerobic organisms

When you left your compost without proper ventilation, these organisms can grow anaerobically in the compost and damage your compost.

Additionally, leaving fresh air to be circulating in your compost storing container can also help improve and maintain the freshness of your compost.

You can create a good oxygen passage in your compost by drilling holes on the lid, sides, and bottom of the storing container.

You can learn more here on how to create proper air circulation during composting

Frequently Asked Questions

What should compost look like?

A complete compost usually looks like dark and crumbly topsoil. Other signs include releasing a pleasant earthy odor. Learn more

How long does Compost take?

It depends on the type of compostable materials you are composting and the method of composting you employed.

For instance, if you employed the cold composting method, your compost cannot take up to one or more years before the kitchen and other scraps that you added become fully composted.

However, if you employed a hot composting method, your compost can be completed within two to three months.

Additionally, compostable materials like large tree branches usually take too long before they can decompose.

In general, composting usually takes 2-3 months or a complete year depending on the type of composting method you employed.

When is Compost Ready?

Your compost will be ready when the compost looks like earthy dark rather than decayed vegetables and also smells and feels like that of crumbly topsoil.

How to Cure Compost?

You can cure your compost by leaving it covered and give it sufficient time to fully compost. When you are adding scraps to your compost container, your compost will not cure during this time.

You need to finish filing up the scraps in the Compost container before begin to cure your compost. When you fill-up the composting container, cover it and give it a good two to three months. Depending on the type of composting materials you added, this time is enough for the compost to finish curing. You can speed up the curing process when you turn the compost regularly in a week.

Learn more about curing compost from here and here

How to tell if Compost is Working?

If you see the following signs, your compost is really working:

1. Presence of worms in the compost such as earthworm
2. Your compost is slightly moist and the compostable materials are breaking down so quickly
3. When you added the compost to a fire, they don’t catch fire
4. Your compost is not releasing an unpleasant odor
5. Shredded Leaves of brown materials that were added are turning into a dark brown and crumbly like topsoil.

What happens if you do not turn in your Compost?

By not turning your compost, the composting process maybe delayed. This is because turning your compost timely can help bring in air and conserve heat. And these factors help speed up the composting process.

However, if you do not have the time to turn your compost, do not stress yourself. The compost can still complete but the process of composting will take a long period of time.

Tip: Learn more about turning compost

Can Compost be dangerous?

This also depends on what scraps you added to your compost. But, generally, compost is very safe and environmentally friendly.

However, compost can dangerous when you add compostable materials like diseased plants. Your compost can be dangerous to the pants that will receive this compost. This is because the pathogens in the diseased plants can regrow when they sense new living plants and infect them.

Moreover, there is also an issue of foodborne diseases. This will happen when you added humans feces that are infected with foodborne pathogens. And so when these pathogens are composted in compost and given to plants as manure, the plants can absorb these pathogens into their systems. So,  follow humans take these plants as a source of food,s, these pathogens can infect these people and cause foodborne diseases.

In general, compost is safe but you need to pay close attention to what you will add to your compost.

How Long does it take for Compost to turn to the soil?

The decomposition process of organic matters will be completed or finished from 2 months to 2 years or more depending on the types of composting materials employed, the size of the composting container, and how often you turn the compost.

Compost is finished when it is cooled, changed to rich Brown color, and has broken down into smaller soil-like particles.

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