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What is a Compost Spreader and Why Do You Need One?

Compost spreader

As we know, compost is key to building and maintaining healthy soil. Although, needless to say, spreading it is far from being everyone’s favourite task. Before the compost spreader came into our lives, we were bringing shoveled trailers of compost to our gardening blocks, then using wheelbarrows to drop small piles every 2 feet and then the back of a rake to spread the compost out evenly over the beds. Saying that this is a time-consuming labour of love, is a serious understatement.

The compost spreader is a BCS attachment that allows growers to evenly spread amendments in a quick and easy way. There are 13 different options of how deep a layer of compost you want. So, let’s say you want a smattering just added as an amendment, or whether you’re doing a 1-inch layer before you direct seed your finicky carrots, there is a setting for you!  Designed specifically for the 30-inch bed system that we are accustomed to, it straddles the bed without disturbing the soil by rolling in the alleys.  

The compost spreader is a BCS attachment that allows growers to evenly spread amendments. / Credit : Alex Chabot

How does the compost spreader work?

The spreader is very simple to attach to the BCS; however, you do need to purchase a curved coupler to do so. Once attached, put your amendments (not only compost!) into the spreader. Walk over to your bed, adjust to the required distribution setting with a lever and you’re off! You’ll notice that it can make 90° and 180° turns effortlessly, so if you’re working in a cold tunnel or greenhouse, not to worry. The conveyor belt that distributes the compost is not affected by the speed of the BCS; it will not distribute more compost if you’re in 3rd gear or less if you’re in first 1st gear.

Check out this video featuring JM Fortier as he guides you through the step-by-step process of bed preparation on the permanent raised garden bed system using the BCS Compost Spreader attachment.

Should you buy a compost spreader?

Deciding whether you should purchase this tool is very subjective. It truly depends on how much you apply compost and how big your operation is. The compost spreader has been an amazing addition to our toolbox, and we use it every week on our carrot beds at the very least. The alternatives on smaller scale market gardens, is of course to use a wheelbarrow or Vermont cart to distribute the compost and the back of a rake to spread the compost yourself.

If you need more resources to learn the best practices for using market gardening tools such as the compost spreader in bio-intensive gardening, please join us at the Market Gardener Masterclass. The Masterclass documents all of our tried and true work methods that will guarantee consistent results and optimize your precious time and keep your body working for years to come. 

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