drying, sifting, storing compost
I welcome comments on my habits.
I make a 1.5 cubic yard batch of compost twice a year in my single bin. One spring I didn't get around to using the newly finished batch, and so I stored it. I have been one pile behind in using it ever since.
When each batch is finished, I spread it out on tarps to dry thoroughly. Then I laboriously screen it and use the largest pieces as mulch or put it back to start the new pile. The rest I put into plastic sacks at about 2.5G each, that being a convenient amount in weight and size to carry through the beds when I disperse it. I squeeze the air out and twist the sack shut and place all of them in a 55 gallon drum. It fills the drum entirely. I put the air-tight lid on the drum, then wait about 6 months before using.
One Fall, when I opened the drum I found the very finest, blackest, most completely composted material I have ever seen. It all looked like worm castings, but I don't remember if I found worms. I don't know what I did differently when I put it up the Spring before, but I suspect that I skipped the drying and screening process which might have allowed for anearobic activity to take over.
I wonder if anyone suspects anaerobic decompostion or worms.
I have started using more coffee in my piles and have lots of tiny worms in my almost-finished batch. I think my usual drying and sifting would likely kill the worms, and it seems like they would die, anyway, in sealed-up sacks of dry compost. What do you think? And do you think they would live in wetter material in sealed sacks for 6 months?