“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Friday, June 19, 2009

A good gardener's hand soap can be easily made using the following method. The measurements are vague ... because that's the way I operate ;) ...

Take a bar or two of bath soap ... can be home made or store bought. Castile soap sold in some laundry sections of the grocery store is preferred if you don't make your own bath soap bars. Grate soap using a cheese grater (medium to fine shreds ... not the side for hard cheese ... that will take too long. Place the soap gratings ... about two cups (approximate) into a double boiler placed over rolling boiling water. Heat until warm/soft (it shouldn't completely melt. Add about a tablespoon of finely ground egg shells* and a teaspoon of your favorite essential oil. I happen to like tea tree oil ... so that's what I add. Mix with a fork ... it will be stiff. When the soap shavings have been mixed ... carefully take about two tablespoons of it and form a ball (think of making a meatball ;). Press firmly making the soap as round as you can. Let dry for several days or until hard. This soap will really scrub the garden dirt from your fingers and make them soft if you use a good quality soap. Yields approximately 3-4 soap balls.

*ground egg shells: I save my egg shells by washing them, patting them dry, then baking on a cookie sheet for about 3-5 minutes at 350F to kill any bacteria. Then they are ground up in my spare coffee grinder to a fine powder. Wait until you have at least a dozen egg shells so you have enough to make it worth the effort. (These shells are also sprinkled in the garden around the carrots and lettuce when I plant to increase the calcium in my veggies.) I hope you try this easy to make hand milled soap. You don't have to use lye ... because you start with already made bars of soap. Sometimes I even add a teaspoon of finely ground oatmeal and a pinch of finely ground dried lavender.


Felisol said...

Dear Mrs Mac,

Will it be alright just to boil the eggshells for some minutes before drying.
I'm always looking for quick solutions. I actually didn't even think of bacterias on eggshell.
My mother and my grandmother used to save the water when boiling egg and serve it for the indoors plants. My grandmom meant that water was calcium enriched.

The other day I also learned that one could protect flower beds and also vegetable gardens from snails by placing a "fence" of coarse grind eggshells or seashells around the threatened area.
The snails evidently find this fence too sharp.
We used to be haunted by fingerlong brown snails with a terrible appetite. This year the weather has been mostly dry and chilly. A good cure from our Lord against those slimy intruders.
From Felisol

Mrs. Mac said...

Dear Felisol ... I'm sure boiling the shells first will work ... but they have to be super dry before grinding them. I usually just stick them on a cookie sheet or shallow cake pan and put them in the oven after baking cookies (I also just turn off the oven at this point if it's already hot ... I've been known to forget about them in the oven. Go check out the Traveling Scarf blog dated 6/24 and click on the second link previewing two new sisters. She has a photo of the soap I recently sent her. Let me know how it turns out.

Mrs. Mac said...

Felisol, thanks for the tip on using ground up egg shells around the plants in the garden to ward off snails and slugs. I put some in the soil when I planted my carrots and lettuce to enrich the calcium levels of the veggies ... not thinking about what a good snail/slug control it would be ... but now that I think of it ... those two areas have been slug/snail free!