Can compost go...uh, stale?
So I use free compost from my municipality.
Problem: in the spring and early summer the compost being distributed is swarmed over by people and it's downright dangerous to try to get it. It's like a refugee camp full of starving people and then a truck full of insufficient amounts of bread shows up: people fight tooth and nail to get it, and it's chaos.
But later in the summer and into the autumn it is much easier to get the compost, so I thought I would stockpile some and then use it in the next spring.
However, since the compost gets frozen over and dried out over the winter, does it still have the same benefits of applying it while still hot and moist? Should I be storing the compost and using it in the spring, or should I just apply it in the fall? My worry about fall application is that the fresh compost might be a fertilizer boost and my plants will get a lot more late growth and then die-off instead of hardening.
Any suggestions about the best way to manage and use this compost? Thanks.