The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Five gallon bucket tip

5 gallon bucket trick

The bigest downside to using 5 gallon buckets for hauling mulch is when two buckets get stuck together.

One easy way to avoid this is to carry a bundle of twigs to use as spacers.

I can remember being on a construction job site and needing to separate two buckets that were hopelessly married to each other. A co-worker held one end while I pulled on the other. After about 5 minutes of struggle we decided to stop trying to recreate a scene from the 3 stooges and threw the buckets in a dumpster.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Another great idea with the mulch buckets. I have been getting wood chips from the utility forestry service for quite a few years now, and it makes great mulch after composting a few years, even better if you run it through a chipper first. It would be great to have an area to post photos from your readers, did you ever think about this?
Comment by zimmy Wed Mar 24 22:19:27 2010

One way to solve it is to squirt some compressed air between the buckets. They'll pop apart.

If you're not using the buckets for liquids, you can also drill a small hole in the bottom.

Comment by Roland_Smith Thu Mar 25 13:26:00 2010

Zimmy --- we got three truckloads of chips from a utility company a few years ago, and it broke down into the most awesome mulch. Sadly, I've nearly used it all and didn't find them again to get another batch composting. I need to work out some logistics to let users post photos, but I think it's a great idea if the technical side works!

Roland --- I was wondering where you were! We missed you over the last week and a half and I was going to email you. Good bucket solutions! We do use the buckets for liquids sometimes, but the compressed air would be a great way to fix stuck buckets.

Comment by anna Thu Mar 25 13:37:00 2010
Good to know about the bucket tips. I remember wrestling with 2 rain barrels the store had conveniently put together for us. Nasty stuff. I think we used water or something but it sure was frustrating at the time.
Comment by HeatherW Thu Mar 25 23:00:55 2010
Water often seems to be part of the problem --- damp buckets really form that suction much better. How'd you get them apart with water? Maybe spraying a hose between them?
Comment by anna Fri Mar 26 12:11:03 2010

Buckets are usually conical in shape. This makes it possible to take them out of the mold they are made in and it makes it possible to stack them. However, when you press two buckets into each other, you'll drive out the air and the conical surfaces will form a pretty good seal. If the buckets are wet, the seal will be even better. So you have to either prevent this seal from forming (sticks!) or break the seal with pressurized air or water or by drilling a hole in the bottom.

Air pressure (or the lack of it) is very powerful. At work I made a vacuum press for sandwich panels by bonding a rubber membrane to a steel frame and then bonding some seals on the frame. When this contraption was placed over a 93"x23" panel that was lying on a table and the air evacuated with a pump (to .3 bar absolute pressure), the outside air compresses the sandwich panel with a force of 20000 lb! It's a very easy method for applying pressure to parts that need to be bonded.

Comment by Roland_Smith Fri Mar 26 16:02:23 2010
I never thought that buckets were conical, but now that you mention it, of course they would have to be since they stack so nicely. :-)
Comment by anna Fri Mar 26 18:02:42 2010
Excuse me if I missed this answer already!
Comment by maggie Fri Jun 25 19:01:21 2010
Bees actually don't care a bit what color their hive is. So we went to Lowes and found a can of good paint that had been mixed to the wrong color and got it cheap. Once we run out of the blue, we'll find another can of cheap paint and our new hive boxes may change color!
Comment by anna Sat Jun 26 09:57:02 2010

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