Help me find some uses for these

brendasue(6)February 18, 2009

I was able to get a few different bags and I was wondering what I can use these for around the farm.

I have about 10 used brown burlap bags, I think some of them are the hemp, you know like the potatoes used to come in? I remember when they stopped making the burlap bags I sure missed them, but now I can't recall what I would have used them for??? I havn't looked at them closely, but they're probably cut open at one end, maybe 3'x4' or bigger, pillow-like.

I have about 7 or 8 used white nylon bags, approximate size is 4'x 4' x 5', with handles/loops on top, close weave but won't retain water. Nice bags, but what can I use them for? We were going to start potatoes in 55 gallon barrels this year, easy to tip over & harvest, but was wondering if these bags might be better.

Both are too risky to be used as hay feeders, and I don't think they(burlap) will decompose quickly enough if I use them for weed control in the garden.

Any ideas? They were free, and I can get some more, but what would I use them for?

Thanks for any suggestions,


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If you used them under your bedding in your gardens do you want them to decompose quickly?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:30PM
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Preferably, yes. We are way too short for the whole garden though. We normally plow & rake it, then keep the aisles clear with the rototiller or tractor. If I used it in the aisle, I'm thinking it'll still be there come fall & the next spring seizing the tines. Plus I'm thinking it will be full of dirt & too heavy for me to pick up for re-use.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:41PM
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I wonder how long it will take to decompose?

I looked up other uses:
mattress filler (NOT)

Because burlap is a strong, natural, biodegradable material, it makes good erosion control products such as sandbags. Burlap bags are used for collecting fallen leaves, ground coverings in nurseries, and in winter residential gardens to prevent frost and wind damage.

Other uses for burlap include concrete curing, truck covers, nursery product wrapping, and lampshades. You can make a bulletin board by covering a discarded acoustical ceiling tile with a burlap bag.


log carrier

sack races

You can use them to store green coffee beans, feed, a variety of edible products or even mechanical parts and/or tools. You can use them in your garden to protect trees and new grass seed. A very popular recycling use is to steam seafood (oysters, mussels, clams, etc) in big pots.

give away pecans in

shopping bags

Keep leaves in it all winter long, allowing them to break down. The bag can be used multiple times until it begins to decompose.

out of ideas now...

Here is a link that might be useful: cool burlap pocketbook project

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:33PM
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put your compost in one, soak in a barrel of water, makes compost tea, remove, empty bag in garden. Insert chickens or other small animals to go to auction.

I loathe these new woven plastic feed bags.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:38PM
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Great for putting in the smoker for bees.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:52AM
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Great ideas! Thanks so much. We'll be using them for several of them.

Beegood your post made me chuckle, your response is kinda timely for us. When I was a kid mom raised honeybees, we've been thinking of putting a couple hives on the property, help the bees & maybe get some good honey while we were at it. Our only concern was that there is an elementary school close to where we want to put them, so obviously we have to come up with another plan or ditch it completely. I'll keep that idea in mind for if we do get bees though!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:41PM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

I happened to see an old Beverly Hillbillies show the other day. Granny told Elly May to take the seams out of some burlap sacks so they could make "stout work dresses". If you makes dresses out of burlap you will need slips. You can use the nylon sacks for them. You said they had handles?There you go, they already have shoulder straps.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:50PM
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We used to save them to use for brush fires,wet of course.They would make shade for a cage too and I have used burlap under mulch where you don't till.Posy Pet

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 6:55PM
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Posy Pet we did that too! I knew there were many reasons why I didn't like the new sacks & missed the old burlap.

Islandmanmitch, I could set the newest rave in the office with that dress, I'm sure! Might just be a big improvement, from some I've seen lately. Still laughing at that one.

Msjay2u and Fancifowl's posts combined just gave me an idea! Last year my strawberries had many new runners I had to cut off & freecycle or throw away because they overgrew their designated area. I'm thinking I could fill the sack with compost & garden soil, cut slits, tie the top with braided baling twine, & plant strawberry plants in the slits for a hanging planter. I might have to cut them in half length-wise though.

There! We just came up with the greenery/flower decorations for my gazebo this year!

Brendasue-who just brought home another 10 burlap bags today.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:21PM
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I have a feed supplier near me (a farmer) who discounts the feed if you bring him bags. He refills them and sells them to me the next time I go back for grain. I have also used them in a smoker for bees as was mentioned before and as mulch. Burlap breaks down even up here where soil microbe activity is not very great.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 4:53AM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

If you unstitch the burlap, open the bags up, they make good wind shelters for plantings or wrapping for small bushes.

We had other uses for them in horses. Some folks once used the washed burlap, hooked wool thru, to make a wool blanket for under the saddle. Used for regular hooked rugs, backing for other projects around the farm or ranch. Stuffing the bag with rags, wool, makes a nice pillow for the dog or cats. They unstitched the bag, rolled it kitty-corner, used it as hobbles on a horse. Collected up ear corn from picked fields, though the modern cornpickers don't leave nearly as much nowadays. It was free, so worth picking up. Always good to throw your stuff in, tie the bag shut, transport brushes, buckets, grooming tools to the show, before plastic boxes and totes came along. They took abuse well, with heavy, sharp edged implements inside, to be moved. Didn't rip open easily.

Makes a nice rug in the shed, for piling up pots, on the hard cement. Less likely to chip or break the terra cotta when you set it down. Works as a doormat too. Bags layered, in between stacked things, allowed better piling up for storage.

Since the bags have gotten so rare, we have gone to other methods of doing things, instead of using the burlap bags.

Burlap is still available, just costs you. Bags were free and always around, so we just grabbed them for our first method in a plan.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:39PM
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I use lots of burlap for wrapping shrubs, roses, etc for winter. Works great!

I also used burlap to line plant pots with holes and baskets for the pond, to keep the soil in. Fold the burlap over the top too and put rocks on to hold down. Keeps the soil in the pot or basket, but lets the water flow through.

Could you use them to store veggies in the cold cellar, like the potatoes or apples, since they breathe? Or for storing tender bulbs through the winter like cannas, callas, dahlias, etc? To hold kindling or mulch?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 5:42PM
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Wow! all fantastic ideas, and very practical, too.

Yes I think they'll be put to very good use in and around the garden this year-even into the winter as we do store some long term veggies.

Thank you all so much!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:35PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Here is an artist that puts burlap to good use! I love this particular piece, but then I'm a sucker for the black faced sheep!

Here is a link that might be useful: Etsy Shop

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:34PM
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that is a cool burlap piece. BrendaSue you are going to have to share with us what you wind up using the bags for. I bet you come up with some good stuff.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 9:40PM
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Wow! Sullicorbitt, great idea! You can use the burlap for needlepoint or petit point or cross stitch, etc. I don't do these things as I just don't have time, but I like them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 7:13AM
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My wife uses bleached burlap to do some of her cross stitch art. Here are a few pictures:

Everybody knows these two!

Her Niece

Her Father

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:13PM
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WOW!!! I am blown away!!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:19PM
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It takes about 3 months to do one working 25 hours a week.
As soon as she finds some of her others we'll post them on her website.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 4:14PM
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