Organic Naturally!

Coast of Maine Organic Products

New Dehydrated Compost Lighter and Easier to Apply
Reprinted with permission from People, Places and Plants, Spring 2006

ALREADY IN ITS 10TH YEAR of existence, the popular brand known as Coast of Maine will add some new spice to its product line this spring. Attempting to bring the function of "top-dressing" of compost to the masses, the company will introduce two dehydrated products, Kennebunk Blend and Ogunquit Blend.

Though long recommended as a way to revitalize lawns and gardens, topdressing compost has been a labor-intensive process that required wheelbarrows and rakes and — in the case of lawns — a fairly long recovery time for the appearance.

Most finished composts contain more than 50 percent moisture, making the products heavy to transport. Coast of Maine’s new Kennebunk Blend, a poultry-based compost, has been finely screened, which allows it to be applied with a common lawn spreader. The product weighs approximately 50 percent less than traditional compost.

"This is something we’ve been working toward for a long time," said Pete Bottomley, the marketing director for Coast of Maine. "The weight of the average bag of compost is an objection for some people. This will bridge a gap in the marketplace." Generally thought of as too expensive to be economically viable, the dehydration process has been refined by Coast of Maine’s suppliers. By using the sawdust component of poultry manure as a fuel to heat the compost, traditional fossil fuel is not necessary.

"That makes it an environmental win-win," Bottomley said. "We have found a way to recycle the entire waste stream of the poultry farm." Though the coarser Ogunquit Blend is designed to be used like traditional composts as mulch for trees, shrubs and flower beds, no one expects the new dehydrated products to completely replace traditional composts. Fresh compost from your yard or a local supplier is still recommended whenever possible. Coast of Maine recommends a spring and fall application rate of two cubic feet (one bag) of dehydrated compost per 1,000 square feet for lawns. It should be watered into the lawn as soon as possible to avoid any loss from blowing. — P.J.T.