Essential Oils for the Garden..and Gardener

Essential oils can be very useful in the garden.  Essential oils are used by plants to communicate and defend themselves against pests and disease in nature.  By using these same substances we can mimic nature in a way, and ward off pests and disease without leaving behind any detrimental residues or salt build ups in the soil.

The ratios differ a little bit from oil to oil, and some people use different surfactants to help the oil do it’s job.  I use castille soap with the oil in a solution.  The basic ratio is 1 tablespoon of soap and approximately 12 drops of essential oil per 8oz of warm water.  Shake well to mix everything up and you are good to go.

  • A special note on quality.  Every essential oil company is different and as such the quality and purity of the oils will differ.  I use doTERRA essential oils because the science of the extraction process and the consciousness in their sourcing are sound.
  • click on a picture and a link will open to tell you more about each of the oils and where to get them.
  • Some additional information available here.

VINEGAR

In the Garden – Okay so not an essential oil to start I realize, but I use vinegar as a herbicide.  For persistent plants like dandelions I pull the plant with as much of the roots attached as possible then I spray a bit of vinegar into the remaining hole in the ground.  It may take a couple of applications but each time the plant will get weaker and soon enough give up all together.  Also, try to find strong vinegar.  Cleaning or horticultural vinegar is stronger (10%) than kitchen vinegar (5%) and therefore is more effective.

PEPPERMINT

In the Garden – Peppermint can be used for a number of pests.  Ants, aphids, white fly, beetles, caterpillars, and more.  Peppermint is not an insecticide, it is a smell that most insects just don’t like.  It can be used on flowers and plants, as well it can be used around windows and doors of your house or greenhouse to keep pests away.

For the Gardener – You can use peppermint in a number of ways. Rub it on sore muscles, or an upset stomach. Spritz some in the air for some mental focus and bug repellent. It also has cooling properties after those hot days in the garden.  Can your chemical pesticides do all that?

NEEM 

In the Garden – Neem is an insecticide.  It is a non-selective substance so caution should be used as it will harm beneficial insects as well as the bad ones.  I don’t like harming anything I don’t have too, but sometimes pests will infect the whole neighbourhood if they are not kept in check so I keep this in my arsenal for when it is absolutely needed.

For the Gardener – Neem can be used as a mosquito repellant that is effective an good for your skin. It is used in a variety of natural skin and hair care products for it antioxidant properties.

LAVENDER

In the Garden – Lavender is another pest deterant more so than insecticide.  It is good to get rid of fleas, ticks, moths, and mosquitos.

For the Gardener – Lavender can be used as a skin rub to soothe bug bites and small skin irritations. Add it to your bath at the end of the day, or spritz some in the air for a feeling of calm in the middle of a busy day.

WHITE FIR

In the Garden – Slugs and Snails do not like White Fir.

For the Gardener – The smell of white fir is used to reduce stress and bring a feeling of empowerment and energy. On top of getting rid of the slug problem in your garden making you feel that as well.

ROSEMARY

In the Garden – Rosemary will repel flies, fleas, mosquitos, spider mites, lice, cabbage fly, even cats. You can make a foliar spray or place a couple drops on the soil depending on the pests.

For the Gardener – Rosemary is used for indigestion, hair, mouth and skin care, boosting mental alertness, stress and pain relief, and for an immune system boost.  It has been used since the Roman times and probably before.

These are are just a few of the essential oils I have used in my work and garden so far. As new pests come up I look to nature first always. Organic gardening doesn’t have to mean losing your garden to the bugs. The benefits of using essential oils is they are healthy for humans. Not just not as harmful as other pest control options …healthy to use.

more to come including

MELALEUCA (TEA TREE)