Thank goodness, people are finally getting interested in organic gardening again! Many people are learning that half the stuff they throw in the garbage and down the disposal are excellent components for making organic mulch and compost. They can grow chemical free, organic fruits and vegetables themselves, get some exercise and fresh air and literally enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The typical compost spreader for someone with a smallish garden or vegetable plot has been one glove, one hand, one fork and a large bucket or wheelbarrow. With organic compost and fertilizer there is little chance you are going to kill your vegetables or flowers because you gave them too much of some noxious chemical!
Problem is finding a mechanical compost spreader that is affordable if you have an organic farm or garden, or large lawn. You can’t just use a typical Scotts drop spreader for compost. Compost by its very nature is lumpy stuff, containing anything from banana peels to possibly shredded newspaper. It doesn’t matter how carefully you turn your compost heap – there’s always lumps in it somewhere. Unfortunately, most mechanical compost spreaders simply choke up on the lumps and you spend more time unclogging them than muck spreading!
The pull along compost spreader
Pull-along compost spreaders that work behind an ATV or ride on lawnmower can cost a lot of money. Some only hold one third of a cubic yard of compost and that only covers 300 square feet. If the hopper is 2’ wide, you’ll have to stop every 150 feet before filling up again! (That’s 130 stops per acre!) Still better than a few backbreaking days with a fork and a wheelbarrow!
The cylinder shaped hoppers don’t work well either, they get clogged up inside and you’ll be stopping every two minutes to unclog and have a pain in your neck from watching if they’re working properly. This happens even if you run your compost through a riddle first. If the compost is even slightly damp, it clogs the hopper outlet.
Someone out there who knows about all this stuff is about to make a fortune if they can invent a compost spreader that works, without costing the average homeowner a fortune. The idea is to save money growing your own vegetables after all, aside from the health benefits.
If you want to top dress a large lawn, you could buy a used compost spreader at a farm equipment sale, or from a golf course that has invested in newer equipment. Their capital write off will be your gain.
You can use a leaf blower as a compost spreader, especially on a lawn. Just place small piles of compost a few yards apart and turn the blower on. You could even hire one of those machines that pump insulation into walls. Blowing compost is so much easier than dealing with screens that get clogged up all the time.
If you have an ATV and a trailer, pile the compost in the trailer and pay your lazy teenager to sit in the trailer and broadcast the compost by hand.
Hey, if you’ve been a gardener for years, you’re used to hard work anyway, so spreading some organic compost is second nature to you. Just don’t expect to find a compost spreader that you can easily afford if you are a normal householder.