The harvest is the most awaited and gratifying part of the whole process. Depending on the type of plants deposited, the harvest of compost can be made at different seasons, but if the process is srtarted for the first time it is estimated to take about nine months. There are remains that can de decomposed in a few days and others take months.
If you want to know if the compost is mature, you have to take a few handfulls of it and see if it smells like wood, if it is a black or dark brown soil that spots your hands just a little, because it is not very wet, and if you do not recognize any of the remains deposited in the composter time ago, except for some branches, pine cones and pits, which can be separated by a sieve and be returned to the composter to continue with the process, but slower and again serving as a structuring material. The compost temperature will be the same as outside the composter due to the lack of microorganisms activity, which will be located in the newer remains.
The most practical is to collect all the compost opening one or both sides of the composter completely, but you can always pick up small amounts opening only lower doors.
The compost can be stored for about a year, but the most common is to use it when it is collected, so it does not lose its properties. The sieved compost should be kept in a properly sealed place and where it cannot get wet, the best place will be in a waterproof bag, but open so oxygen can let the compost breathe.
Before storing the compost we should make sure that it is fully matured. Thus, it prevents the decomposition process to take place outside the composter. It must be protected from wind, sun and rain, as these factors can alter the nutrient content of our compost.
Ideally, compost should be applied a month before planting, to ensure that the maturation process has come to an end.