Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Newspaper Planting Pots

One of the easiest and most economical ways I have found for starting seeds is by making newspaper pots.   

The hardest part for me is coming up with the newspaper.   Not that I would mind getting the paper delivered here on the Nebraska Prairie.   But since we live so far out of town, the only way to get the paper is by having it sent to you via the USPS.   That in itself in not a problem, except that when you get the newspaper the news is already a day old. 

Other than finding newspaper the whole process of making pots is very simple.   You will need something cylindrical like a glass or some sort of tube and newspaper that has black and white print only.  That's it.  Nothing more.  Well, maybe potting soil and seeds.

First,  fold your newspaper in half length wise.   Then fold it again about one-third of the way down.  The second fold is what determines the height of your newspaper pot.   For tomatoes I like to make them tall so I can add soil as they grown.   For squash,  I make them quite a bit shorter as they do not need a tall pot.

When you have determined the height that you would like your pot to be, begin rolling the newspaper around the glass (in my case).  Before rolling, make sure to have about 1 inch or  more of the paper extend over the top of the glass.   Make sure to roll the paper around the glass snug.  Once all the paper is rolled around the glass you fold the paper that extends over the top of the glass inward.
 Now carefully take the paper off of the glass.  Once the paper is removed, you will need to take the end that you folded in and fold back toward the center, thus  making  the bottom of the pot.  Now take the glass or your hand inside of the pot to push down on the bottom to make it nice and flat.  That's it.  You did it.  Nothing more to it.  I take a permanent marker and write the name of the seeds that I am planting on the top edge of the pot.   Add your soil, seeds, water and treat as you would any other seedling pot. 

Once all my pots are made, labeled, and planted I put them in a large, lidded tote until the seedlings sprout. 

When you transplant your seedlings into your garden,  you can plant them pot and all.   However,  I usually tear the newspaper pot off of the seedling.  The newspaper takes much longer to deteriorate than you might think.   I usually put the newspaper pots in my compost pile instead of planting them with the plants. 

Happy planting!

Nebraska Prairie Girl

Monday, April 2, 2012


Nebraska Prairie Girl Makes a Shampoo Bar


I've had many requests from customers to create a shampoo bar.    I made several batches and never really liked how my hair felt.   So, I considered them failures and not worth selling.   Well, a friend I met through the local winter farmers market once again asked if I had ever considered making a shampoo bar.   Not one to let failure hold me back, I decided to give it another try.  (It helped that she even had a recipe suggestion for me.  Thanks Jennie)

So what is in a good Shampoo Bar?  The ingredients!

Ingredients that made the cut      Ingredients of other shampoo bars

coconut oil                                                                               Castor oil                      
olive oil                                                                                      jojoba oil
castor oil                                                                                   sunflower
jojoba                                                                                         palm oil
shea butter                                                                               cocoa butter
cocoa butter                                                                            coconut oil
bees wax                                                                                  essential oils
coconut milk                                                                           
goats milk
essential oils

(What kind of a goat milker would I be if I did not include goat milk?  The original recipe  that made the cut did not include goat milk, just coconut milk. )

I love the  bees wax, coconut milk and shea butter in the ingredients on the left.   I also prefer olive oil over the sunflower oil in ingredients on the right.

The addition of bees wax helps  make the hair much stronger and much thicker. Beeswax can also  build-up the volume of your hair.

Coconut milk boosts the sheen and health of hair.

The shampoo bar was made much the same way as found in my "Soap Making 101"blog post. I decided mold the soap in a 2"  pvc like I did for the  Mens Shaving Soap in my "Manly Shaving" Blog.

What are the benefits I have found in a Shampoo Bar?

  • No wasted product (no spilling, or excessive use)
  • No plastic bottles to add to land fills (all packaging is biodegradable)
  • Last much longer than liquid shampoo (50 or more washes per bar)
  • Takes up less space in bathroom (more compact size)
  • No problem getting through Airport security (not a liquid)
  • No chemicals or preservatives ( you can read all the ingredients on the label without a science degree)
  •  Does not contain silicone, which builds up in your hair and make it limp.
  • Adds body to your hair 

What are the down side of a Shampoo bar?

  •  It takes getting used to.
  • If you like the feel of silicone on your hair you might not like how your hair feels naturally.
  • You may still have to use an all natural conditioner or rinse.  I make an apple cider vinegar rinse (I personally did not find this a down side but some might)
How to use Shampoo Bar:    Wet hair as you would anytime you wash your hair.   You can either lather up the soap bar in you hands and apply to head or just rub shampoo bar on you head to lather.    Rinse and condition if necessary.

Condition with an all natural conditioner or with Apple Cider Rinse.   The rinse contains  1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 cup warm water.    Acetic acid, the main ingredient in ACV, will remove buildup from styling products and conditioners and strengthen the hair shaft.  Apple cider vinegar hair rinse will also balance hair's pH level, kill bacteria and is a great cure for dandruff.  The vinegar smell will dissipate once your hair has dried.

These shampoo bars are available in a refillable tin or as a refill only.

You will want to try a Shampoo Bar.  They are available at Double L Country Store.

Happy Shampooing!
Nebraska Prairie Girl