"The Society" Considers Weighty Matters

Dear Esteemed and Potential Members of the Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Old-Time Gardening Wisdom, Lore, and Superstition (SPPOTGWLS or “the Society”),

Having considered old-time gardening superstitions and the important matter of invasive plants, Madame President (me) now brings before the membership a weighty cause of vital interest to many gardeners, both ladies and gentlemen.

As the founder and self-appointed President and Secretary of the Society, I hereby ask all to consider…

Do those 40 pound bags of top soil seem to get heavier every year or is it just me?

And is anyone else foregoing projects that require cement or sand because they come in 80 pound bags?

Who decided that was the size of bag to sell that stuff in?

Whoever it was, we ask that they now consider that a preponderance of gardeners would appreciate a smaller bag to carry. We think something around 25 to 30 pounds would be better.

And this change in bag size should be done without increasing the price per pound of whatever the bag contains.

And furthermore, the plastic used to make these bags should be of a recyclable material, clearly marked as recyclable, and merchants selling them should be required to have a place to drop off the empty bags to be recycled. Yes, that would be much appreciated.

Is that asking for too much?

The Society would like it to be further known that this request for smaller, lighter bags has nothing to do with the aging of its members. It has more to do with preserving our strength for digging, hoeing, raking and other worthwhile gardening activities.

The President of the Society (me) would like it to be even further known that she can still lift a 40 pound bag and considers it a triumph to prove it each spring as she waits patiently for her truck to be loaded with 40 pound bags of top soil.

She is so patient that after 20 minutes of waiting with no one in sight, she goes ahead and loads it all herself.

This is preferable sometimes, as she remembers the time she was at the big box hardware store, and someone wanted to load an entire pallet of top soil on her truck with a fork lift, and she would not let them. After all, what would she do with that pallet afterwards?

So the surly and disgruntled fork lift driver left the pallet raised up on the fork lift and proceeded to hand load the top soil. However, as each bag was taken off the pallet, the pallet moved forward slightly, damaging the edge of the truck gate.

This resulted in some discussions with store management, pictures being taken and claims being filed.

And then there was the time when the person loading some heavy bags wore a belt with a gigantic buckle, probably bought in Texas, which is also know as the “big buckle state”. Each time he got close to the truck to throw in a bag, he scratched the paint with that buckle.

Sometimes it really is just better to load those heavy bags yourself.

But it would be best if the bags were lighter, overall.

Do we have a motion in favor of smaller, lighter bags of top soil, sand, cement, peat moss, etc. at the same per pound price?

Who seconds this motion?

All in favor of this proposal may indicate such agreement via a comment. If the motion is approved, this request will be brought to the attention of those who decide just what size these bags should be, whoever they are. Thank you for your vote.

If any current or potential members have other business for the Society to consider, please indicate such via a comment or email.


Carol, May Dreams Gardens
President of the Society for the Preservation and Propagation of Old-Time Gardening Wisdom, Lore, and Superstition


  1. I second the motion! Lighter weights, more reps ... works for me :-)

  2. I wholeheartedly endorse the motion submitted by Madame President. Until the manufacturers enact the new practices though, I will just drive my 1982 Ford F-150 to the garden center. I wouldn't notice a new scratch on it if the thing were sideswiped.

    Robin Wedewer
    Gardening Examiner

  3. I vote "Aye"! Having a van helps, as there's nothing to scratch as the bags are being loaded & I can manage to manuever the mulch bags into my garden cart. But the sand -- I hate being dependent on my husband to get them out for me & move them to where I need them. I injured my back 20 years ago trying to haul bags of sand around a garden. Now, I have to be so careful as it is a weak spot that flares up if aggravated. Heck, I'm aggravated. You'd think this would be a no-brainer - who are the customers & what do they need & want?

  4. Madame President,

    As Garden Observer, having duly considered all the ramifications, I am compelled to fully and unreservedly support your motion.


  5. here here aye aye and yes, I second that emotion. Or motion! Yes.

  6. Do those 40 pound bags of top soil seem to get heavier every year or is it just me?

    It is not just you!

    And is anyone else foregoing projects that require cement or sand because they come in 80 pound bags?

    most definitely, especially now that my son has gone off to college!

    Who decided that was the size of bag to sell that stuff in?

    Some college-educated dude who doesn't have to lift them let alone use them

    And have you ever had to put one of those heavy things in a grocery shopping cart? And then lift it back out?! Its easier to get it in than out.

    So I add my vote!

  7. oh hey, hope I didn't insult any of you if you are college educated!

  8. Where do I vote YES!??? And thank you, Madame President, for such a timely and wise motion.

  9. Esteemed Madame President, thank you for bringing these weighty matters before the society for consideration as only you can.

    I say aye. May the powers that be take heed. Trust me, the SPPOTGWLS is not group you want to mess with.

    I have no other business at this time, but something tells me you in your emminent wisdom and vast experience will soon be calling another meeting to order to consider further important business.

    I shall stand at the ready to faithfully perform my solemn duty and soberly consider, then cast my vote on any future subject you may deem necessary.

  10. I'm with you on this! And I wonder how much of those 40 pounds is sometimes water added to the soil? Second your motion :)

  11. Madame President, I wholeheartedly second your motion. However, I move for a second fallback consideration, if you will. Assuming that one cannot convince "those who make the rules for creating bags too heavy for a normal, commonsensical person to carry" to modify their equipment to accommodate the needs of their customers (puh-lease!), then said persons must be required to send along one (1) tanned, muscular and preferably shirtless hardworking young man to perform such lifting and carrying duties for purchasers of bags of 40 pounds or greater. Said worker would be allowed to cool down afterward by the use of the garden hose, while purchaser might relax with the beverage of her choice, being exhausted from the task of pointing so many times.

    Robin with Getting Grounded

  12. Count my vote for lighter bags, ect. Why we are at this meeting Madame President, could we open the floor to discuss the sad state of plant offerings at big box stores? Where is the variety, where is the new, where is the non invasive? The Society could change the known gardening world!


  13. I would like to be counted in the "aye" votes. Perhaps bags that are less unwieldy would also be less likely to spring a leak in my van or cart thereby losing valuable materials.

  14. Another aye here. Get on 'em, Carol!

  15. Aye to smaller bags and being able to recycle those tough plastic bags.

    I am lucky to have a truck. We can have heavy loads of sand, dirt etc directly loaded. The off loading is done shovel by shovel full into wheelbarrow or directly onto the proposed space. Much easier than handling large heavy bags I must tell you.

    I think The Society should go after those plastic pots that need to be recycled too if Madam President hasn't addressed them yet. I hate throwing those one gallon pots away when they should be recycled.

  16. I agree! I used to make hypertufa but have stopped because I cannot handle the weigh of the cement.

    Why to the plastic bags of top soil etc alway have small or large rips that allow water to get in and make the stuff even heavier?

    I would even support a SMALL increase in price to cover the extra packaging and handling costs.


  17. I vote 'aye' Madame President. We need to preserve our strength for other gardening activities.

  18. Madame Chairman, sometimes I go for a few bags of mulch without Philo, and one thing I've noticed is that picking up the 40-pound bags of mulch and moving them between the cart and the car works better if you have on work gloves and a not-good shirt.
    If you can't get a good grip on the bag and are worried about getting your clothes mucky, you don't pick up the bags the right way.

    As to the bags of concrete mix - sometimes the big box store near us has 40-pound bags available for a slightly higher price. I couldn't lift an 80-pound bag.

    As usual, Carol - you made me curious about something so I threw the words bags of cement, lifting and OSHA into Google and it seems that those 80-pound bags are a problem for the bodies of construction workers, too. I found a couple of articles about repetitive injuries that recommended half-weight bags while other posts said one person should lift only 51-pounds unassisted.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  19. Hi Madame, while casting our vote in favor of the motion, might it be added that, as mentioned in a comment above, that the weight is considerable greater when the bag of stuff is wet? Could they please keep the bags dry for the sake of the lifters, store employed or customers? How about stronger plastic so the bags are ripped as they are heaved into the truck or SUV with the oomph of the tosser? One good way to help with this dilemma is to cultivate a friendship with one of the employees who will helpfully load the bags onto his cart while you are still standing in line to pay. Find him first, let him know what you want, then get in line, it is a big time saver during the rushed days of spring planting. That doesn't help when you get home though. Stacking the bags in the garage and using a smaller bucket to lighten their contents is one solution. That's all for now.

  20. I came over from my blog due to looking for other who garden and I have to say a big yes on all counts from me. I can't stand the fact that garden soil comes in plastic. It just seems so wrong. I'm okay with lifting 40 pounds, but my garden center has a habit of watering it and a wet 40 pound sac of soil turns into 60 pounds quick. I always do my own loading, but would love a lighter, better for the environment alternative.

  21. Since I was a flower rep for a company who supplied the big box stores last year---I ditto all the thoughts here. Most gardeners who pick these bags to purchase..are little old ladies..sorry, like us. Sometimes the line to load was longer than the line to purchase.

  22. NO, really? Topsoil and sand come in bags?

    All of those sorts of things come to our place loose in the bed of our 1988 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup, which, like Robin redewer's truck, is already well worn and I wouldn't particularly notice a newscratch on it.

    Getting our stuff this way is simpler in some ways. No question about who is loading it, the guy with the front end loader does it. So far they have been very good about not hitting the side of the truck with their machinery. Sometimes they drop a heavier shovelful than usual in the truckbed, which causes the front tires to "float" in an interesting way when you are driving home. (I recommend driving slowly at those times.)

    When we get back to The Havens, we unload the mulch, sand, gravel, topsoil, etc one shovelful at a time into a wheelbarrow, which we then use to roll the material to the place it is being used. We try to make this process as easy as possible by driving the truck as close as we can before we start unloading.

    I have learned that it is important not to overload the wheelbarrow. Sand is a lot heavier than mulch.

    As far as bags of concrete go, I always use my husband for loading and unloading that. I don't know what I will do if I ever mislay him in some way.

    I vote AYE for smaller bags of concrete, though. Eighty pounds is a lot heavier than it used to be.

  23. I'm ready for change too. Right now I can just about heave the bag onto the child seat on the cart and then from there turn it over into the trunk of the car. When I get home I do the same rolling it onto the wheelbarrow. How much longer I can do this for I don't know.

  24. I declare this motion to be 100% approved for me to carry forward. I love the stories and ideas, and support!

    Now, who do I contact?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens


Post a Comment

Comments are to a blog what flowers are to a garden. Sow your thoughts here and may all your comments multiply as blooms in your garden.

Though there is never enough time to respond to each comment individually these days, please know that I do read and love each one and will try to reciprocate on your blog.

By the way, if you are leaving a comment just so you can include a link to your business site, the garden fairies will find it and compost it!