That's really an unfortunate experience you had with your gorilla carts you have... I can't help but to think that you must have a different model than the one I mentioned in my posts above... I saw many users posted different gorilla cart models. I would not want to load them to full max rating (1200 Lbs) as like you said, I doubt they could handle that for long and they must have tested this in a non realistic environment. The model I have, apart from adding air to the tires has not given me any problem (My tires have a tube, so even cracking on the tire wouldn't hurt if it happened). I have it and used it extensively for the last 4-5 years. I actually bought a second one when I originally posted the sale at the time.
If it's made with some metal, you definitely can expect rust on those parts after some years (my climate is on the fairly dry side). I use it mostly for mulch, so not the heaviest out there, but this weekend, I was using it to load some grass sod with super dense and heavy clay soil. I used it also loaded with rocks and other heavy materials with no problem. The gorilla cart loaded as high as I could manage was so heavy that it took a bit of effort to start moving it on a slightly sloped ground, but it handled it really easy. The way I see it, with the model I have, there's no way I could ever even load the max (1200lbs) and then be able to move it. It's just too much weight.
There are a few bad reviews, so I guess sometimes you can get one with a tire problem out of the box, but overall, people seem to like it quite a bit. Btw, I did lose the pin on the handle once at the beginning, but never happened again...
Anyways, just thought I'd post this in case the model I have can get you to have a better experience. I'm also like you, I like to build things heavy duty so they last like a tank, I just wonder if someone could make one of those that is not too heavy with much thicker gauge metal. This is the reason why they use a really thick plastic cart to save on weight.
I hope this is acceptable within the rules to post this, if not, please just delete it. Since I gave a great review in this thread of the 1200 Lbs Gorilla Dump Cart recently and mentioned that it can go on sale for a better price on slickdeals.net, I thought I'd let people know that it's currently on sale at amazon... I paid less than that when I got mine, but I haven't seen it at those prices ever since (If memory is good, it was around 86$). Just to be clear, I have no association to slickdeals or anyone that could benefit from this sale... I'm just a homesteader that really enjoy using that cart and would never consider a wheelbarrow after trying this cart... I hope this helps someone
I second the Gorilla cart (1200Lbs) mentioned a few times above (see picture attached since they all a lot of different models). We have one and it's so useful on our farm. We have no flat ground and the ground is very rocky as well. It can handle a ton of weight and maneuvers really well. We use it to move everything from light to heavy stuff. If you need more vertical loading space, you can add wooden side panels easily with the side and front slots. What makes this cart even more amazing is that it allows quick and easy dumping of the materials. We mostly use it to spread wood mulch on our few hundred fruit/nut trees, but have used it full with heavy soil, wood logs, rocks and so many others. If you are on extremely steep ground, I would think that almost any carts could have a tendency to want to tip over but you normally can feel when you are reaching that point before it does. We live in Central Texas and the sun here breaks down literally everything that is plastic. We've had this cart for quite a few years now and it's been holding up extremely well and shows no damage at all and I have no doubt that it will be good for a very long time. The only thing I ever had to do to it is add a bit more air once or twice a year to the tires.
One thing I don't recall people mentioned about that cart is that you can remove the handle and tow it with ATV's, tractors, mowers or other vehicle as well. As a side note, the tires are a bit smelly for the first few weeks, but that has been only an annoyance when assembling it inside the house.
They can be a bit pricey, but go on special a few times a year. I used slickdeals (slickdeals.net) to get mine at a seriously low price and use that site to get a lot of tools at very reduced prices as well. I hope it is allowed to add the link to that deal site as it helped me a ton with getting so many good deals (only for the US folks) on a lot of the tools that either a farm or homestead can require... I use the deal alerts section and you get an email as soon as a deal matches your criteria. It feels to me that one of the big challenge of having a homestead when coming from a city background is to accumulate all the tools that allows you to get the job done easily and fast... And it can get pricey very fast.
I hope this helps some folks choosing the right one
I have 2 that I use on my property at all time. I leave one with my truck and the dump trailer and one that is exclusively kept on the property. In the 5 years that we moved here and started using mulch at that level, I only replaced one of them (wood broke from the metal fork). I bought one more as a gift for a horse stable that provides me with unlimited horse manure. They do tend to last a long time for me. My climate is hot and dry, and I don't particularly take good care of those garden tools. They stay outside where I used them last and get our extreme sun and some rain when it happens.
we use a seriously crazy amount of mulch here to protect plants or trees against the harsh Texas summer. To give you an idea, we have a 16ft dump trailer with 4 ft raised sides and I used to get 4-6 full loads a week of mulch from our local landfill for preparing new areas and replenishing the mulch on the more than 250 fruit trees we have. We use a bedding fork to move all that mulch around and is by far the most useful tool we ever found. I consider the tines sharp and it easily penetrate mulch with no effort. I have seen some with a wider gap between tines and also with less tines, but with this one, you keep all the mulch on the fork as they are narrow enough but not too narrow to not penetrate easily. This is a link to the one we've been buying for quite a long time:
I found this mushroom growing at the base of a fallen hackberry tree on my homestead. It looks so much like a reishi and after reading on it they are found here in Texas (I'd always associated them with colder climes) but I would love it if anyone could give me their thoughts?
It's basically a velcro plate embedded in earth bags a few layers below with 2 vertical pieces of plywood (Those are strengthened by the next 2 layers of earthbags pushing against it's sides). Once the rafters are installed, you continue the last 2 layers of earthbags to tighten everything together.
Thanks for the purchase. They are nice containers and I think you'll like them... I just checked and we just sold the last 5 of the SC10 last night (4 to you and one to another person). We still have a lot of SC7 left though. Just let me know if that would be of interest to you and I'll check what we could do as far as discounts if you were interested in quite a few of them. From my experience, the SC7 would work for tree seedlings that don't have a serious tap root (i.e. pecans, mesquite etc...).
I have many of these sets of Tomato/ Vegetable/Tree Seed Starter Cone-tainer trays for sale on ebay for $34 per tray plus shipping. The SC10 version are taller and more suited for starting tree seedlings and the SC7 version are shorter and better for vegetable seedlings. They really are a great and compact way of starting seedlings but I've just found that they don't work the best for me in my extremely dry Texas climate. If you're interested you can look at the ebay links below for more information:
I have a brand new and completely unused set of 7 flow frames complete with flow key, manual and bee veil for sale on ebay for $445 plus $29.99 shipping. Everything will ship in the original box. If you're interested you can look at the ebay listing at the address below:
I believe I may have not been fully clear about GeoPolymers, many of the recipes do require a higher temperature while curing . The temperature are never above 100C and I think I recall seeing 60C as the average temperature needed in many of those recipes. Some are done at room temperature (like concrete substitutes). I just thought I'd add that for clarity. Building the equivalent of a pottery kiln that would go to those lower temperatures would be fairly cheap and easy. It could even be used in conjunction to a wood gasifier for heat generation.
I also attached 3 PDF referring to studies made on using it as a coating on metals in case it helps someone. I haven't read them all, so not sure what they say, but may save the time for someone to have to find them. I can see GeoPolymers as a really nice way to make a burn chamber that can last an eternity and only need regular cleaning of ashes... The downside is that it's not a simple product that you can buy off the shelves and you're done. It will require some small or larger level of dedication to make it work, but the reward, in my opinion is in what it gives people like us that are into prepping and would like to have control of our technologies and do everything on the cheap. What I want to do with that new science on my ranch are water tanks, roads, pond sealant, CNC machine frames (dampens vibration), coating on metal to preserve and limit rust, insulation (sprayed or pre-cast like concrete), Construction replacement (foundation, walls, and name it), and the last is material science (they made high amp fuses out of that stuff. There's got to be more uses). That's just what comes to mind very quickly.
GeoPolymers are not a plastic at all. It was discovered and developed over the last 30 years by the GeoPolymer Institute in France. In the 70's, they had a bad wave of city fires and were looking for a material that wouldn't burn and release toxic fumes. The name GeoPolymers was coined because the scientist that discovered the process was a plastic polymer researcher and realized that you could apply polymerization to rock minerals in the same way as applied with plastic polymers but by using alkalies to soften up the rock bonds. Over the last 30 years, they discovered many applications and different ways to use it. This technology can be applied to so many fields that it would be hard to cover it all in a single post. GeoPolymers is a mean of making rocks at room temperature. Depending on ratios of minerals (Aluminas and Silicas), you get very different properties. Some mixes can be quite liquid before hardening or have a harder consistency than fresh uncured concrete on the other end of the spectrum. With the more
liquid mixes, it looks like and acts like an epoxy, except that it hardens as a rock once cured (curing is crazy fast). They used it like epoxy, with fiberglass to make statues and the like. They also experimented in making sealant. Imagine using a sealant that doesn't ever degrade to UV like the silicon sealant we use and is as hard as a rock. They also used it as a coating on metals which would be similar in some ways as a ceramic coating on a ceramic cooking pot once it's cured but all of that is done at room temperature. Some recipes may require heat, but the heat needed is nothing crazy. The more the silica to alumina ratio, the more heat resistance you have, which is what the Op wants. The range the Ops would want to look into are 20:1 up to 35:1 silicates to aluminates. They even looked into using casted GeoPolymers panels as a liner on foundries. At those ratios, it's almost like having pure sand that can be casted/sprayed, so the heat resistance would be VERY high. If you're curious to know more, this short pdf I linked goes over the last 30 years of research and the different fields they applied the technology:
The possibilities are pretty much limitless. I've come across one article that talked about GeoPolymers on permies to use in rocket mass heaters while looking to find recipes and others, but the info was minimal and I can't recall if it was more AAM (Alkalies Activated Materials) or a true GeoPolymer. Some people confuses both of them as the same and that has led to a bad rap for the product. The confusion was spread by the concrete industry and I would believe that it's possibly because the product can be used to replace concrete. Imagine if you can cast a granite block (amorphous and not crystalline like granite is normally found) for your house foundation, you'll never have cracks and will last 1000's of years easily. Also, because the molecular formation is a rock polymer, it's completely waterproof. So can be used for water tanks, under water, completely inert to alkalis, acids and salt water. At some point in his career, the scientist was asked to study the pyramids in Egypt and due to his knowledge of Geopolymers, he was able to recreate the blocks they made when building the pyramids and proved very easily that the pyramid are casted blocks at room temperature. He gives the recipe that they used if someone searches for it. The bottom first row of the pyramid was casted using some kind of burlap shapes and exhibits oozing at the bottom of the forms (which proves they were casted). The subsequent layers are casted in wooden forms, which explain their precision. Anyway, the material can be used for so many things. It's perfect for all of us that wants to have more freedom and less dependencies on stuff that breaks and needs constant repair but will require a bit of fiddling around.
I hope this helps clarify a bit what GeoPolymers are.
I'm not sure if you saw my post above about GeoPolymers... If you have, I wanted to also add another way it could be helpful to solve your problem and on the real cheap. If you play with the Alumina and silica ratios when making a GeoPolymer mix (See: https://www.geopolymer.org/science/chemical-structure-and-applications/ for ratios and specific features), you can create an epoxy like coating that has been used to coat metals (sprayed) to protect them from rust or heat. It ends up being very similar to a powder coating, but the coating is a ceramic coating that is UV stable and with the proper ratio, will resist heat without problem. The nice part is that all that process is done at room temperature and next morning (A few hours later) you have a ceramic coating on your surface. They've tested it and there was a pdf out there with recipes that were tested from what I remember. The nice part about doing it that way is that you don't have a heavy item like when doing the full cast of a 1:1 mix ratio and end up something similar to a granite casted burn tunnel but much harder and that will cost a lot to ship. You have the shape made out of cheap steel and you coat it on the inside. I was planning on coating all machines I'm planning on building (wood gasifier, bio char maker, rock grinder etc...). If you are interested, I could check quickly in my pdf archives if I already have the study paper.
I haven't seen GeoPolymers mentioned. If for whatever reason you would have interest in something else than metal that can be casted and have very high temp rating (like Granite, but better), you should maybe look into GeoPolymers. I am planning on casting a core for mine when I get to make my Rocket Mass Heather Core and also planning on using it for construction (like making a floor that can withstand the heat of welding slag or plasma cutting slag or even molten metal directly). There's a lot of people referring to AAM (Alkaline Activated Materials) as GeoPolymers and they are 2 completely different beasts. AAM are normally concrete variants that uses alkalies (sodium hydroxide/potassium hydroxide) to increase strength. We all know that calcium based materials will pop like pop corn at those temps. This is where GeoPolymers are very interesting and may be a cheap alternative with much more heat tolerance and durability. A Geopolymer is a rock Polymer with different ratios of Aluminates and silicates (no calcium or very little) in a perfect ratio to make them bind in a complex polymer. With GeoPolymers, they also use alkalies to soften up the raw material but what makes it different from AAM is to ensure proper aluminates and silicates ratios for the intended purposes. Depending on the ratios, you could get something like a rock epoxy that can be used with fiberglass and non-toxic as well, on the other side of the range, you also can get concrete like materials that could be as hard as 100Mpa and that can be casted to any form you wish. The tricky part is to find raw materials that have very little other elements than aluminates and silicates or they can contaminate, so to speak, the mix and make it less stable. It's very common to get a Meta-Kaolin material as the raw material, but that can become expensive. The cheapest material I came across is Fly Ash (You need type F, not C as the C type contains around 10% Calcium Oxide and will lessen the quality of the polymer). FlyAsh is a very cheap material that companies like Boral are trying to get rid of for very cheap. There's already a recipe that was made available by the GeoPolymer Institute in France for free for humanity to use. The pdf that covers ratios and what you need to look at in the raw materials is located at:
I'm not sure how big they're meant to get, but the ones I have in the shade are about 3 ft tall and quite wide. From the 2 pictures, you can see that the shaded one is full of stems and the stalk is quite enormous. The one in full sun is quite mediocre compared to the shaded one. See pictures below.
Just thought I'd share my experience with Turmeric in case it helps you and others in our climate. We've been growing it inside a hoop house and outside for a few years and what we found is that they struggled until some of our Pawnlonia Fortunei shaded some of them like crazy. They look almost fully smothered, but the size of the plant is about 3-4 times the size of the ones in full sun here. It's been my experience here in central TX that a lot of plants that love full sun do really bad unless partially shaded as I'm sure you already noticed...
To add to the moringa discussions in case people want to try it. We planted it here in our food forest (zone 8A) Central Texas. We get quite a few frosts in winter and it always comes back in summer from the root. The first 2 years, the plant reached 2-4 feet and the following years, they're way above my head (I'm 6 ft 2") by the end of summer and we even get enough time to harvest seed pods before it dies back for winter. What we found very interesting is that it will not sprout back from the root in early spring, it tends to wait till mid summer which made us believe that it wasn't going to work here. I guess it needs the ground to be warm enough before shooting back. When it comes out, it's like a rocket and grows so fast that you can hardly believe it. Hope it helps someone to try this wonderful plant.
I see your point about a heavy water bill. That must be really unpleasant. Our long term objective is to never have to water at all and only rely on rainfall, similar to the concept in the movie "Garden of Eden" where even though the guy gets something like 15-20" of rain a year, he doesn't ever water and he's growing a quite large garden. He lives much more north from us, so we have a bit of a harsher summer climate down here. My biggest challenge is that my land has a maximum of about 1ft of clay soil and only limestone right under. So very little thickness to retain water, hence us having to water once a week in the middle of summer, until the new trees have a bit more established roots. The trees I planted last spring can go quite a bit longer than that though and could pretty much get away with no water outside the summer zone.
I believe you live around Bastrop? If that's the case, I have a good friend that lives there and his soil is very different from ours, clay down as long as you dig and should allow much more water retention in your case if well mulched and shaded. That's what I was trying to get across. You should be able to get away with much less than what we have to do if your soil is like my friends place. You may already do all those things and I also went a bit away from the original subject ).
Back to the original subject. As far as really hardy and easy to grow in summer crops, I'd add Jute to your list for sure. I can even send you some seeds if you give me your address as I have a ton of them. It's hardy like heck and no sun is too much. It's also a very fast grower and you can start harvesting very early. There's so much Malabar spinach I can eat, so I have tons growing, but much prefer Jute for the taste.
We're in the same geographic location (our ranch is outside Fredericksburg TX). We get pretty much the same weather as you apart from getting less rain since we're farther from the gulf of Mexico. At the moment, we have tomatoes to harvest, ground cherries (not very hardy), okras, jute (aka Egyptian spinach, leaves are delicious and is extremely hardy), sunchokes (aka jerusalem artichoke), malibar spinach, melons, sweet potatoes, corn, cucumbers, Chinese noodle beans, melons to be harvested in a month or two and so much more.
We've been harvesting tomatoes every year during this time of the year without much problem. If I may suggest looking into heavily mulching your ground with wood mulch (straw will help to feed the soil, but may be more limited in avoiding evaporation in this crazy heat). I have about 4" of mulch everywhere something is grown. This allows us to water much less frequently than everyone around here. We water our fruit trees around once a week from June to August and some were just planted from a container a few months ago (6ft tall trees in average, that haven't rooted extensively yet). That's very little watering for these months here in Texas. What we also did is created as much natural shade using bushes and trees, so we don't do much row gardening and we intermix our trees (native trees, fruit trees and nut trees) in between all the other plants. The extra shade will give you a very good buffer for water. Shade provides more benefit than mulch to limit evaporation, but until you have a good shade umbrella, I would definitely think of watering more in the meantime. Even though shade is more efficient than mulch in the end, I wouldn't go without mulch ever, even after all places are partially shaded. The summer heat is just too hot to go without it and we don't have much rain for many months, which really doesn't help the situation.
I definitely see that a concrete tank (my septic tanks are 3 big concrete tanks) could keep pathogens around forever since they contained black water at some point. If I were ever to use that water on my garden after not flushing any more black water, I would at a very minimum get the tanks emptied first and also make sure all 3 tanks get ozonated for let's say 30 min before sending any water to the garden. An ozonator is cheap to run and will take everything out like. Just a thought I wanted to share in case others are also wondering how to get it done with some levels of sanitation and safety.
Thanks so much Mj, I really love your idea and sounds most simple for sure. So simple that it never crossed my mind LOL.
Thanks also Art for taking the time to share your knowledge. I definitely see a huge benefit in a dry area like here to preserve all the water I can. Taping into the wash water would be easy, thanks for the idea.
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions about Grey Water. I've been interested in looking at using Gray Water here at our property for a long time. The main reason I haven't gone into it yet is that the house we bought was already built and most of the plumbing pipes are passed through and then under the concrete slab to our septic tanks. The current plumbing doesn't differentiate between gray water and black water, so all gets mixed together.
I've thought of a few ways to get it done, but it feels like it would require too much work even though the gain is huge. Some of the ways would be to open up the foundation at the area where gray/black water are mixed (anywhere we have a toilet) and add a second set of pipes for the black water. This way, these new pipes that would now only carry black water would find their way out via the walls and I would pipe them on the current septic system. While using the previous black/gray water pipes to only carry gray water from now on to the garden... My concern with this approach is whatever new pipes that will carry the black water only would have to never go higher than being on the concrete slab, or otherwise gravity will not work to carry the water out (i.e. if you have to go over a door frame). So the path for those pipes could be quite interesting depending on how the house is divided. Am I over thinking this and making it more complicated than it really is?
There must be an easier, faster and less expensive way to get this done? I have 3 toilets in the house (2 on the first floor with stained concrete as the floor and one on the second floor).
Thanks for any input. I'd love to find an easier way to move forward and use that precious resource properly.