The Cottage Smallholder

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How to make your own recycled biodegradable bag loader in seconds


Photo: Box bag loader

Photo: Box bag loader

It’s back to those pesky leaves again.

The jute sacks are filled and the vegetable stall in the market is putting aside onion and carrot sacks for me to collect next week. There is now a special leaf mould composting area behind the green house.

I struggled loading the bags with my leaf collectors – how on earth could I keep the mouth of the bag open? In the end I just used one collector. It was a palaver. Sitting by the pond sipping a cup of sweet tea I remembered seeing an upright bin bag at Notcutts. It contained a plastic sleeve. The same sleeve could be put into the jute bags and make quick work of storing the leaves.

I couldn’t justify shelling out any more cash on the garden. Surely I could make something similar.

It took longer to find the box than to put it in place. It works like a dream and folds flat to store in the tool shed.

The Thompson and Morgan website has a great section – Gardening on a budget. It lists their ideas and ideas sent in by customers (lots of fun things to do in the garden with a pair of old tights!). The site gives a £5.00 voucher for any idea that they publish – I think my biodegradable bag loader has a great chance of earning me a fiver.

Useful links:
If you’re feeling flush Amazon has a smart bin bag loader for £7.35
Harrod Horticultural’s – bag mate is £7.95
Crocus offers a bin bag loader for £9.99

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Alex

    I’m delighted with it too. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. That is genius. I wish I’d seen this before yesterday – would have made the gardening much easier!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate (uk)

    Those collapsible bags are very nifty. Spotted them on Amazon when I was researching this post 🙂

    Hi Paula

    The manure fork sounds like a perfect 50th birthday present. Forget the jewels 🙂

    I’m going to try a bin too – made out of chicken wire as there are so many leaves – living close to a small wood.

    Hello Cathy

    Why not give it a go. In the UK markets the vegetable stalls receive their onions in carrots in big string bags. I’m collecting some on Tuesday. Might be worth asking at your local market.

    Hi Linda

    That’s brilliant. Time and motion par excellence.
    I must admit I did find the sacks heavy to drag about.

  4. We use pairs of those leaf collectors – brilliant! We keeep our leaves in chicken mesh ‘pens’ – we have two, one for one year, then the other the next. This gives the leaves two years to work down.
    When we pick the leaves, we put them first into a large plastic dustbin. Even when full, this is still light enough to lift over the side of the pen and tip the leaves in.
    Our system works a treat, but it did take us about 5 years to work out such an easy way!

  5. Paula made me laugh! A manure fork for one’s 50th birthday is a hopeful, empowering gift indeed.

    You guys “over the pond” with your jute leaf bags are killing me. This seems so smart, but folks over here in the Western US just talk about big, heaving, steaming compost piles. But here in misty Oregon, I see how this leaf mold stuff might work perfectly. I also have figured out a place in the yard to store these hypothetical jute bags of leaves.

  6. Funny this post should be about leaves- hubby and I are just in from raking before the storm started. I just load them into a wheelbarrow with my trusty manure fork (a fiftieth birthday present to myself- I was trying to talk myself into a piece of jewelry to commemorate the occasion but I just couldn’t do it) and then pitch them on to the compost piles. Which are full, at this point- I have three working compost piles going. Did I mention that we have the largest sweet gum tree known to mankind in the front yard? I considered getting rid of it, but decided to do the permaculture thing with it and try to make use of it. And then of course, it dawned on me: compost fodder!

  7. kate (uk)

    Glorious day here so I’ve been sweeping leaves too- filling my jute bags natch…gosh but they hold a lot! I have two of those springy collapsable bins that fold away flat when you aren’t using them- I find them invaluable when using a bag in the garden- holds the bag upright and open and easy to carry to the compost heap/green bin, got them cheap in a sale, money well spent.Back out there again now- too good to miss!

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