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TheWaterbug
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Transporting compost in a minivan? Bad idea? Really bad?

The good news is that the City of LA [url=https://www.lacitysan.org/srpcd/pdf/mulch_giveaway.pdf]gives away free compost[/url] at several locations, one of which is a <10 minute drive from home.

The bad news is that I don't have a pickup truck, nor any plans to buy one any time soon.

The good news is that I have a minivan!

The bad news is that my wife is not keen on the minivan smelling like compost.

The good news is that I found [url=https://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202228840/h_d2/ProductDisplay?selectedCatgry=SEARCH+ALL&jspStoreDir=hdus&catalogId=10053&navFlow=3&keyword=bagster&Ntpc=1&langId=-1&Nu=P_PARENT_ID&storeId=10051&Ntpr=1&ddkey=Search]The Bagster contraption[/url] at the local Home Depot, coincidentally right across the street from the compost giveaway site.

The bad news is that I can't figure out how to get a 1,000 lb. bag full of compost _out_of a minivan.

So this is my cockamamie idea:
1) Take out all the seats from my minivan
2) Lay The Bagster inside, on top of some cardboard
3) Go to the compost site and shovel it into The Bagster until full
4) Back at my house, open the rear door of the minivan and tie a rope from The Bagster's handles to some fixed anchor in my yard
5) Hit the gas :D

Can anyone predict what awful/awesome might happen if I try this?
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

Binkalette
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and then take the van in to be detailed! It's a win-win.

Binkalette
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If you do the dumpster bag thing, please video tape it for those of us at home :D

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TheWaterbug
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MG: thanks for the sage advice! I didn't even know those contractor bags existed. That's a much saner solution than mine :D

The good news is that I just ordered a [url=https://www.amazon.com/Global-Strategies-DB10-42HP-Demo-Bags/dp/B004VA2YMW]20-pack of 42-gal Demo Bags from amazon[/url] (free 2-day shipping :)), and compost pick-up day is this Friday, so we'll see it all works out.

The bad news is that there will no thrilling demo/memorial video to upload to Youtube.

Regarding the quantity of compost, I can pretty much use as much as I can fit in a minivan. I have a ~4,000 sf paddock that's [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=208501#208501]planted as a pumpkin patch[/url] right now, plus another 500 sf of vegetables, and I think I've purchased something like thirty 2 ft^3 bags of garden soil from Home Depot this year. That's insane. The only good thing about that bagged soil is the bags!! If I can get it for free I'll save myself a ton next season.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

DoubleDogFarm
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I would go in reverse really fast, with the back doors open, and slam on the brakes. :shock:

Eric

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TheWaterbug
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:I would go in reverse really fast, with the back doors open, and slam on the brakes. :shock:
Heh. My college roommate grew up on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota, and he says that was a common shortcut amongst drivers emptying their giant [url=https://gogeometry.com/mining/mining_euclid_haul_truck_index.html]Euclid dump trucks[/url] into the waste pits.

It was rare, but they occasionally mis-judged the distance to the edge of the pit. :shock:
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

DoubleDogFarm
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Just bring the van over. I'll get out the cutting torch and remove the top just below the windows. Will take part of the top to enclose the cab just behind the drivers seat. Now you have a pickup truck :wink:

Eric

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I recently filled some "construction grade" garbage bags with compost and have to tell you two things. One, compost is a lot heavier than it looks (especially when damp or wet) and those construction bags don't hold up to heavy, dead weight and fingers trying to hold on to it. I filled them 1/3 of the way and it was all I could do to lift it off the ground let alone into the back of something. I double bagged and my fingers still poked through most bags.

I would recommend a basic tarp instead of the dumpster bag due to price. Lay the tarp down in van and fill with compost. When you get home either back up to the garden site (if you can) or fill 5 gal buckets/wheelbarrow/manageable carrying device to get it to the site. I pulled a pec muscle this spring trying to drag a tarp with about 2cu yds of compost on it. I was surprised at the weight. BTW I'm 6' and 190lbs and not weak nor strong...average guy.

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..
Last edited by Tomwalked on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cynthia_h
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DH and I picked up 1 cubic yard of free, finished compost at the city where his mother lives, for her yard. We took empty CLEAN! plastic garbage cans (40 gallon, 2 ea.), recycling bins--rectangular and deep, 5-gallon buckets, 3-gallon buckets, and the random sturdy plastic waste basket. The staff at the compost center looked at our combination of containers and said Fine, that's *almost* a cubic yard.

DH has a Prius; I have a Honda. I'm very good at estimating the best use of space and how to pack it well. We filled all the containers and then loaded them into the cars as I "saw" them fitting in. We drove back to MIL's house, unloaded the cars, distributed most of the compost, and ran out of energy. I think a couple of 5-gallon buckets were wedged behind the front seats of my Honda, and I couldn't lift them out.

Both cars smelled fine; both cars looked fine. We drove on city streets there and back again; no spillage.

If you're dealing with mulch, that's a different creature. We were dealing with finished compost, shoveling it off of a big mountain of stuff. Maybe three years ago, in 2008 and again in 2009.

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Kisal
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I used to buy wood chips for my wildlife habitat cages and transport them in my minivan, using the method Cynthia described. I used 32-gallon plastic garbage cans ... seems like I had 6 or 8 of them ... which I purchased and used exclusively for the purpose. The guys at the wood products yard didn't have any problem filling them for me, and I was able to unload them from the van by myself when I got home. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

gumbo2176
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Marlingardener wrote:Gee, here in Texas we call that a "Hey y'all, watch this" moment, usually followed by a funeral.
Do you really need that much compost?
Where are you going to put it until you can spread it around?
Why not get construction grade trash bags (also available at that handy Home Depot) and fill them, heaving them into the van. When you get home, heave them out. The compost can stay in the bags until you need it (opening the bag's top to get air in) and your van won't smell.
Please let us know how this saga ends. I'm on pins and needles!
It doesn't take a lot of compost to reach 1000 lbs. I take the stable waste from the local police department stables 3-4 times a year and I dig out the oldest stuff I can get to. That usually means walking over at least 5-6 piles closer to the road to get to the older stuff. I have a truck and do this with 5 gallon buckets. I'll haul 2 buckets at a time and dump them into the bed of the truck. Each bucket will hold about 25 lbs. worth when full, so that's only between 40-50 buckets of composted material. Once home, it's just a matter of shoveling it into my wheelbarrow and making my pile.

Those heavy duty construction trash bags will work, but don't even think of filling them past 1/4 full or you may need a chiropractor.

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TheWaterbug
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TheWaterbug wrote:MG: thanks for the sage advice! I didn't even know those contractor bags existed. That's a much saner solution than mine :D

The good news is that I just ordered a [url=https://www.amazon.com/Global-Strategies-DB10-42HP-Demo-Bags/dp/B004VA2YMW]20-pack of 42-gal Demo Bags from amazon[/url] (free 2-day shipping :)), and compost pick-up day is this Friday, so we'll see it all works out.
OK! The Demo Bags arrived the other day. I mis-read the package; it's only a 10-pack, so these bags are $2.19 apiece. Still, it's cheaper than buying soil.

I drove to the compost site over my lunch hour and filled six bags:

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/6BagsOfMulch_web.jpg[/img]

I filled them about knee-high, and they were heavy, but liftable. I probably could have fit 8-9 bags in my SUV had I planned a bit better, but once they were in they were too difficult to move, and I was getting tired and sweaty, and I still had to come back to my desk at work, so I just quit.

I'm sure I could fit ~20 bags in my minivan if I wanted to. I'll see how much I actually need after I use these six bags.

It seems like pretty decent stuff. It's a bit coarse, and there's a little bit of random junk in it, but not too much, and quite honestly not much more than there already is my existing dirt. It was steaming when it came out of the dump truck, and it's got the right smell. Here's a closeup:

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/MulchCloseup_web.jpg[/img]

That washed-out circle is a quarter, for scale. As they say on the cereal box, "Enlarged to show texture." It's much darker than it looks in the photo.

I plan on using it to mulch [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=38806]four 16-ft rows of corn[/url] this weekend, and then later to mulch four 8-ft rows of cole crops that just emerged. We'll see how much it covers.

I was also thinking of using it to amend some soil for a second batch of carrots, since my [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=38805]first batch didn't grow very long/deep[/url].

The bag method seems like it'll work fine for all of my regular vegetable needs. If this mulch works out I'll keep thinking about how to get a big truckload for next season's pumpkin patch.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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soil
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i think the question now is can your van handle that much weight (20 bags)

sure if the van smells your wife will be pissed. but if the van is broken, she will be even more pissed off.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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TheWaterbug
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soil wrote:i think the question now is can your van handle that much weight (20 bags)

sure if the van smells your wife will be pissed. but if the van is broken, she will be even more pissed off.
I would think so. I'll guesstimate that each bag I filled was ~75 lbs, so that'd be 1,500 lbs in the minivan, max. The van can seat 7 adult passengers plus stuff, and no sane engineer could safely assume <200 lbs per adult American :P
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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applestar
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Kind of late joining this thread, and I don't know how much they cost, but have you considered renting or borrowing one of those hitch trailer wagons? They come in various sizes. People with horses use them for buying bales of hay. Aside from the typical rental store, I think Home Depo, etc. Has them to rent too.

If you don't have a hitch, I remember once renting a U-haul trailer to pull with my Toyota Carola, and they had a contraption. I got stuck trying to reverse at a bridge toll gate because I accidentally went to CARS ONLY out of habit, and caused a terrific traffic jam, but that's another story.... :roll:

Moley
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applestar wrote:Kind of late joining this thread, and I don't know how much they cost, but have you considered renting or borrowing one of those hitch trailer wagons? They come in various sizes. People with horses use them for buying bales of hay. Aside from the typical rental store, I think Home Depo, etc. Has them to rent too.

If you don't have a hitch, I remember once renting a U-haul trailer to pull with my Toyota Carola, and they had a contraption. I got stuck trying to reverse at a bridge toll gate because I accidentally went to CARS ONLY out of habit, and caused a terrific traffic jam, but that's another story.... :roll:
On the Jersey TPKE? ouch

I got to drive around my parents fifth wheel 38 foot travel trailer last summer, up 80 then down 84 into PA, into their community. I did have to back it into the lot before my father came up to meet me, not my finest reverse motion of a trailer but I got the job done.

kinda...

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:lol: I like DDF'S idea, but you MUST need duct tape in there somewhere, lol. :?: :?: nutz:

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TheWaterbug
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Moley wrote:I got to drive around my parents fifth wheel 38 foot travel trailer last summer, up 80 then down 84 into PA, into their community. I did have to back it into the lot before my father came up to meet me, not my finest reverse motion of a trailer but I got the job done.

kinda...
:shock:

Backing up with a trailer is one of those extremely non-intuitive tasks that you need to do about 100 times before you "get" it. At least for me, that is.

I once saw a demonstration/ruse in London where a guy built a bicycle with a reversing gear so the handlebars turned in the opposite direction of the front wheel. He offered $50 to anyone who could ride it 20 feet in a straight line, and he charged $5/attempt. I watched a few dozen people try, and no one got further than one attempted turn.

I feel the same way about backing up with a trailer.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

ThomasCA
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Did you go to the one in SP? Looks similar in your pictures.
I basically live there LOL. Great mulch and beautiful community gardens.
...and the Depot right across the street.

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TheWaterbug
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Yup. The San Pedro site is almost on my way home, so it's convenient. It's also cleverly hidden so you'd never know it was there unless you were already told that there's something there.

I don't know what their raison d'etre is, but they'd get a lot more "customers" with a larger sign.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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TheWaterbug
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TheWaterbug wrote:I would think so. I'll guesstimate that each bag I filled was ~75 lbs, so that'd be 1,500 lbs in the minivan, max.
Owwwww.

I used 5 of the bags this on Saturday to mulch my corn patch and to try and amend some crummy soil. I dragged most of the bags on the ground, but for one of them I didn't have enough space between the plants, so I heaved it up over my shoulder.

My herniated disc hasn't stopped complaining since.

Next time I'm dragging it, even if it means killing some strawberries.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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applestar
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Ouch! Hope you feel better soon! :o

toxcrusadr
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Actually, get one of those garden carts with two big wheels and a flat front. It will lay down like a frontloader bucket and you can drag things in and out of it without lifting them. That's the ticket for people who can't lift things off the ground to get them in the wheelbarrow in the first place.
Tox

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PunkRotten
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I picked up a garbage bag full of this same mulch about 2 weeks ago. I live in los angeles county in the valley. I got a little concerned about where the mulch came from. Gave them a call and asked if it has pesticides or other chemicals in it. They told me the mulch is made from the lawn clippings that come from green recyclable trashcans that are collected from homes. We have one too but never use it.

Anyway, since the the mulch is made from this source there is no question the mulch is not organic. So I am not gonna be using it.

rot
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A couple of things

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a couple of things
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PunkRotten - I've gotten some awful stuff out of the green bins from my neighbors. People are unclear on the concept of what goes into those things so I'm with you. The stuff can't be trusted. Lived in Reseda for many years previously. Ask my cat, Sid Vicious.
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Hauling compost or manure or whatever - get a box that you're pretty sure you can lift when full, line it with a trash bag and just fill until the box is full. Remove bag, tie off, repeat. You will end up with a bunch of bags that you can at least lift and move about.

I have a rule about helping people move: never fill a box to more than you can pick up and carry yourself, if it takes two people to carry that box - I'm not moving it and you're moving it by yourself or with somebody else - not me. When my girlfriend moved in, she packed everything she owned just about into a box for a new clothes dryer. It took four of us to move it and we damn near killed ourselves doing it. Never again.
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The oder of horse manure lingered for a better than a week in the back of my pick-up under the shell even though everything was already in plastic bags. Careful what you put in the family van. You've got a low threshold of tolerance for leakage.
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to sense
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Tilde
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Heh, back when I used to pick up municpal compost and mulch (not in the mood to haul anymore since I'm making my own) I used to fill the back of a sedan with 30 gallon storage containers (atop tarps) - 2 on the floor of each, smaller ones on the seats, and more in the trunk.

Now I'm driving something with pretty much no trunk space or towing capacity but am getting a tow hitch installed (for the hitch bike rack). Does anyone know of any reason not to get one of those floating cargo tray things to use to haul the occasional bale of hay (what are the usual dimensions?) or box of manure?
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

toxcrusadr
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"It took four of us to move it and we damn near killed ourselves doing it. Never again. "

Two-wheeled inflatable tire dolly. :idea: $29.99 at Harbor Freight or your favorite local store. I've saved my back many a time.

"Does anyone know of any reason not to get one of those floating cargo tray things to use to haul the occasional bale of hay (what are the usual dimensions?) or box of manure?"

Good idea! Should work fine, just take it easy the first time and get used to having weight back there. It will change the suspension feel, response on bumps, and cornering. By trial and error you'll find a reasonable weight you can put back there. And make sure that doesn't exceed the load capacity of the hitch - that's "tongue weight" and not 'towed weight' BTW.
Tox

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Tilde
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Thanks, toxcrusadr. I'll find out the tongue weight and subtract 50 pounds to give myself a margin for error. Oooh, a reason to dust off (and check the wear on) my cargo straps!

I figure a cargo tray is more practical than looking into and licensing a two-wheel trailer, especially since we realllly shouldn't be hauling with it ...

I miss having a good wheeled hauling/cargo vehicle. My little 140hp runabout is nothing compared to the 250hp van I had my first job driving making deliveries all over town. I miss the hauling capacity but not the ~15mpg!
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

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