Essential Oils for Gardening
Spring is here, and we are officially getting past the last frost of the season, which means it's time to get started on your garden if you haven't already. Now's the time to mix up your soil, plant seeds, pull those weeds, and transplant the sprouts you've started indoors.
If you enjoy growing a garden of your own, odds are you want to keep it as healthy as possible. Not only will this help you get a good harvest, but healthy plants make for healthy fruits and veggies to eat! Despite many claims that pesticides are not as dangerous as they seem, they are toxic, and once they get into the soil, they get into your crops and can get into you. Yuck!
So, if you want to keep your garden in pristine condition without the use of nasty pesticides, essential oils are an excellent way to naturally care for your garden!
Essential Oils To Repel Garden Insects
Pests and insects are common problems that gardeners face. From tiny ants and aphids to slimy slugs and snails, insects can wreak havoc on your lush garden and make it difficult for you to get the harvest you want. But, plants and soil soak up everything. If you use chemical-filled bug repellents, odds are your plants are soaking up those toxins as well as the bugs. And on one wants that. As an alternative, use these essential oils to create natural, safe, and effective insect repellents in your garden!
- Peppermint: While we love the smell of this minty fresh oil, many insects do not. Use Peppermint oil to repel ants, aphids, squash bugs, white flies, beetles, fleas, spiders, caterpillars, gnats, mosquitoes, plant lice, moths, and more.
- Cedarwood: This sweet, woody oil can help repel ants, aphids, beetles, caterpillars, chiggers, cutworms, fleas, gnats, mosquitoes, slugs, snails, plant lice, moths, roaches, spiders, ticks, and weevils.
- Rosemary: This fresh-smelling, herbaceous oil is great for the garden and kitchen, but bugs hate it. Use Rosemary oil to help repel many insects, including fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. Rosemary can also help repel insect larvae, as well as adult insects.
- Thyme: Another great herb, Thyme's aroma can help repel a variety of insects. Try using it to keep chiggers, ticks, roaches, beetles, fleas, and mosquitoes away from your garden.
Looking for more options? These oils are also great at keeping pesky bugs away from your garden:
Broad-Spectrum Insect Repellent Spray
What You Need:
- 1 cup Water
- 1 drop Peppermint
- 1 drop Rosemary
- 1 drop Thyme
- Combine all ingredients together in a spray bottle. Shake well to combine.
- Spray around your garden, wherever you want to get rid of unwanted pests.
Essential Oils to Battle Fungus
Fungal infections can lead to a wide variety of plant diseases that can ruin your garden. Many fungi work by attacking the leaves and softer parts of the plant, making dead spots and killing the plant tissues. If you see signs of fungus in your garden, Tea Tree essential oil is the best option to fight killer fungus. Tea Tree oil can both help prevent the growth of fungus and kill fungus that has already started to attack your plants.
Many other oils have strong antifungal properties to help protect your garden, including:
Fungus-Fighting Garden Spray
What You Need:
- Spray Bottle of Water
- 8-10 drops Tea Tree
- Add essential oil drops to a spray bottle full of water (a 16- or 24-oz bottle will work great). You can use just Tea Tree, or a combination of oils adding up to 8-10 drops.
- Spray directly to infected plants once or twice a week.
Essential Oils to Attract Pollinators
Just as important as keeping unwanted bugs away from your garden is attracting the good ones. Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are key to a good crop. If you're looking to attract more bees and butterflies to your garden, try these essential oils:
Pollinator Attractor Spray
What You Need:
- 6-8 drops Essential Oil
- 4oz Water
- Add your essential oils to a 4-ounce spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake well to combine.
- Spray the mixture on flowers and buds to attract bees and butterflies.
Essential Oils To Kill Weeds
Weeds can be a nuisance in any garden. No matter how often you pull them, they always seem to come back! If you want to avoid using chemical-filled weed killers around the garden, try using spicy essential oils to kill them. Cinnamon Bark and Clove Bud are particularly great at killing weeds.
Looking for other oils you can use to kill weeds? Try these!
Natural Weed Killer
What You Need:
- 1 Tbsp Castile Soap
- 15 drops Clove Bud
- 15 drops Peppermint
- 3 cups Water
- 6 cups White Vinegar
- Add castile soap to a spray bottle, then essential oils.
- Add water and vinegar to the spray bottle. Replace the cap, and shake well to combine.
- Spray directly onto weeds. Shake the bottle every few minutes to keep the oils mixed with the other liquids.
- Be sure to avoid spraying the mixture on any plants you want to keep as the spray will kill them as well.
Ways to Use Essential Oils In The Garden
There are so many ways to use essential oils in your garden! If you don't have a bunch of empty spray bottles on hand to use, do one recipe at a time. Just be sure to thoroughly wash the spray bottle between recipes. If you prefer to not use a spray bottle, check out these additional ways that you can use essential oils in your garden:
- Make an essential oil tea and use it to water your garden.
- Add essential oils to cotton balls, and place the cotton balls around plants to protect them from bugs and rodents. You can also place the cotton balls at the entrance of rodent burrows to keep them away.
- Add a few drops of essential oil to a shallow container of water. Whisk to combine. Add cotton string or strips of cloth to the container, and allow it to soak up the water-oil mixture. Hang the string or cloth around the garden to keep pests away without spraying the entire area.
- Mix your oil with Epsom Salt, and sprinkle it around the garden.
Tips for Using Essential Oils In Your Garden
Essential oils are natural, making them safe for your garden and for your family. However, there are some important tips to keep in mind when using essential oils to care for your crops:
- When using an essential oil spray, be sure to spray your plants in the early morning or in the evening, and when the forecast calls for no rain. You want to avoid spraying your oils in the heat and sun, as it can burn your plants.
- If you experience a pest infestation in your garden, spray your plants with a natural repellent or treatment every 3 days for 1-2 weeks. For preventative measures, spray your garden every 1-2 weeks.
- When using essential oil sprays, be sure to do a spot check on one leaf before spraying an entire plant. Watch the plant for a day or so to make sure there is no negative reaction before spraying the rest of the plant.
As you care for your garden this year, take things up a notch by replacing toxic garden sprays and pesticides with natural remedies. Your plants will thank you!