Manufactured compost spreaders come in a range of styles, from walk-behind, wheel-barrow-like spreaders to commercial tractor spreaders designed for covering large fields. For the humble gardener, something simple will do the trick, as long as it can distribute the compost at a consistent rate. The reliability and economy of the rolling drum method of spreading compost is evidenced in its widespread use amongst small-scale planters. Make a no-frills rolling compost spreader in little time with minimal tools.
Place a clean plastic drum on its side on a stable surface for drilling. Clamp the drum to the surface. Place a 1/4-inch plastic drill bit in the chuck of an electric drill.
Drill a hole in the center of the bottom of the drum and in the center of the lid. Drill rows of holes down the side and all around the drum. Drill holes approximately one to two inches apart, in rows spaced two to four inches apart.
Thread polypropylene rope through the hole in the bottom of the drum, through the inside, and out the hole in the top. Cut the rope ends to a length that, when pulled, extend approximately three to four feet from the drum. Knot the rope ends.
Fill the drum with compost and secure the lid. Pull the spreader by the knotted rope. The drum will roll, dispersing the compost through the holes in the side. If necessary, place a few rocks in the spreader to help break up the compost or to weight the drum for better rolling.