Country Living Series

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Secure steering yoke (K) to front axle support (L)..."

I have a new toy.

I've been bitten by the gardening bug, and since it's far too early to plant anything, I've settled with getting the garden ready for seeds. This means topping every tire with a load of fresh compost, since last year's material settled and some of the tires were only half-full.

The compost is beautiful and friable. The plants will love it.

But this also means trundling endless wheelbarrows of compost the distance between the compost pile and the garden. This year I'll be building "bays" near the garden to start fresh compost piles in a more convenient location; but for the time being I'm stuck with the old compost pile, which is a good 200 feet away. That may not sound like much, but it is when pushing a full load of compost (120 lbs or so) uphill through mud, across the flat, then into the garden.

And I have more hard work ahead of me, because we plan to lay vinyl down on the garden between tires (for weed control and water runoff into the pond) and anchor it with gravel. The gravel will have to get moved wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, and I know from experience that moving gravel by wheelbarrow is VERY HEAVY.

So when Don noticed that Ace Hardware was having a sale on a heavy-duty garden cart, we splurged.

Naturally it came in a box.

Sorry Lydia is blurry. She was a big help, as you can imagine.

Soon Don was buried in instructions of the "Secure steering yoke (K) to front axle support (L)..." variety.

Fortunately my manly man is good at these kinds of things, despite a few omissions from the Chinese-written instruction book.

He even had the obligatory one-part-left-over washer. He says it's a guy thing.

My new toy! Ain't it purty?

The cart comes with a flimsy plastic liner. It's just temporary, though. Don said he'll make me a sturdy liner out of OSB.

But for the time being I thought I was being clever by covering it with a piece of cardboard that came with the cart.

I immediately baptized the cart with a full load of compost. Wow, I was able to fit about three times as much in the cart as I could in the wheelbarrow!

It was still tough to get the cart uphill through the mud of the compost pile, but at least I was pulling instead of pushing, and I was also toting three times as much (meaning, one-third the effort per "unit"). I pulled the cart alongside one of the bigger tires and started unloading. The cart maneuvered easily and didn't "tip" on corners despite the heavy load.

I quickly discovered the cardboard was useless, duh.

The cart allows me to drop one side at a time for easier emptying.

One cart-full of compost allowed me to entirely top off a huge tractor tire. Score! It would have taken two or three trips with the wheelbarrow.

I'm giving this cart a Grade A. It's an excellent addition to our homestead.


  1. Would Lydia help her Mama pull?

    I've had three dogs who were devoted "pull doggies" and loved to help. It was wonderful.

    Congrats on your purchase. You scored.


    btw and o/t: Our state legislators on Tuesday defeated a bad bill aimed at further restricting gun ownership. Kudos and many thanks.

  2. Patrice,

    I have some serious cart-envy going! I've wanted one of these for a long time, but now that we live on property with steep hills, I'll have to stick with the riding lawn mower-cart. Enjoy our nice(ish) weather and prepping the beds for seeds. :)


  3. That's a very nice cart. I have a little wooden one I purchased years ago at White Elephant. Everything else gets moved by my Rubbermaid cart that hooks up to my lawn tractor. Best investment we ever made. I'm a bit too old to be hand wrangling compost.

  4. I have a similar cart and absolutely love it! I've found many uses for it besides gardening, but then I live in a town. Thanks for sharing this. May your arms and legs get nice and strong from all your pulling!

  5. If you haven't already purchased the vinyl, you might want to consider old used carpet for covering the ground. I use it in-between my raised beds. Just ask at any carpet store. They'll let you pick up what they tear out of a place when they're replacing the carpet . . .

  6. Having leftover parts is not a "guy" thing. It's a law of science. Especially when you take something apart and put it back together. It'll work, but there will still be some parts you couldn't figure out where they were supposed to go.

  7. I have an almost identical cart. Love it!

  8. I love mine! The plastic liner broke the first time I loaded it with dirt. But the OSB is a good idea. I will do that too.
    But the cart is a winner. Sturdy and well built. I have carted dirt, rocks, water buckets, seedlings, tools, and trash.
    I also use my cart to cart little children around my yard while I do my yard work. They think its great fun. :)

  9. It looks great. We've been hauling stuff around in rusty red wagons. Time to class the place up a bit.

  10. We have the same cart but its yellow- best thing ever. We use ours for mostly sports stuff!

  11. I have the same cart, bought nearly 4 years ago. Still holds up well, except for the handle, which got bent when someone pushed it instead of pulled. I plan to take the handle to a local welder and ask if a replica can be made so when the handle breaks, I will have a replacement handy.

  12. I know you have a bazillion tires all ready for planting but I wanted to share this book with you. "Straw Bale Gardens" by Joel Karsten (He has a website with a similar name.) I went to see him speak recently. We have heavy clay soil in some areas so we are going to try this out. I guess it works wonderful for all veggies especially potatoes!

  13. We have had one of these for a lot of years, only have had to replace a tire, and some washers and clips on the steering yoke. We use to bring firewood into the house.


  14. I WANT ONE!

    Just Me

  15. I'm seeing future grandchildren taking a ride to the mail box in that cart. But, if you ever get a hankerin' to make something different, here's a link to the garden cart I've been coveting.

  16. One thing those carts never have is BIG ENOUGH TIRES !
    Grrr !
    Those teeny tires make it much harder to pull a loaded cart through dirt.

    - Charlie

  17. I just now looked at the link in the comment that was posted at 9:08 PM.

    Now THEM'S the type of tires I'm talkin' about !

    - Charlie

  18. We have one too. A little tip....if you line it inside with a tarp you can haul stuff that would normally fall thru. When loaded, the tarp can be pulled out and, poof, an instant dump cart. We have to move sand regularly and it works just fine. With a bit of chain, it tows nicely behind a riding mower or ATV too. I even have an elderly neighbor who hooks one to her "scooter" and hauls her 2 little dogs and groceries around.

  19. We have a yellow one just like yours. We put an old plastic tub in it which works great for small limbs I cut off the front hedges so they don't fall through the holes. Ours didn't come with a liner for the bottom but the tub works fine.