Essential oils have so many uses, you shouldn’t be too surprised to learn they can also be beneficial in the garden. Look to oils for helping maintain a chemical free, organic garden. There are numerous benefits to using them in the garden Here are a few of the many ways you can use your oils when growing vegetables or flowers.
Oils that Repel Insects
Several oils used regularly can help repel insects away from a garden area. Rosemary essential oil is potent as an insect repellent and can help keep flies, mosquitoes and fleas at bay. It is also useful for keeping some caterpillar larvae away. Some caterpillars like the cabbage looper can destroy entire crops of tomatoes, melons or cucumbers if not dealt with. Peppermint essential oil is considered a natural insecticide and works on ants, fleas, squash bugs, and aphids. It can also help repel spiders. Thyme is a good oil to use if you are dealing with ticks, roaches or chiggers. Clove oil deters many types of flying insects as well.
If you would prefer to make a single, all-natural insect repellent you can mix several oils together in a spray bottle. Place 10 drops of thyme, peppermint, rosemary and clove oils in a bottle of water. Remember to shake it up before using it. Apply it in any area you want to be insect free.
Oils to Remove Snails and Slugs
Gastropods can be annoying, but there are some oils you can use to keep them away from your plants. The best ones to use are pine, hyssop, and cedarwood. Put one teaspoon of any one of these oils in a spray bottle which contains water. The dilution can be sprayed in rings around plants to discourage snails and slugs from visiting. Reapply it as necessary.
Fungus causes about 85% of diseases that affect plants. If left untreated, fungus can destroy a garden. Parasitic fungi in particular can poison or kill cells, block pores that are necessary for a plant to breathe and steal nutrients from plants. In most cases, signs of disease in a garden are caused by a fungus of some kind. There are several oils that keep fungi from spreading and causing damage. Tree Tree oil is a natural remedy that can prevent the growth of fungus. It can also kill many of the types of fungus. You can either treat present fungal growth or use it to prevent it. Use a spray bottle and put one tablespoon of Tea Tree oil for each cup of water. Spray the solution directly on plants that are affected or might be affective one or two times each week. Remember to refrain from spraying water directly on leaves during the hot part of the day as the oil can burn the leaves.
Discourage Pets from Damaging Plants
Cats literally hate the smell of rosemary essential oil. If you keep finding your neighbor’s cat snooping around your fruits and veggies, or leaving little surprises for you among them, treat your mulch or ground with rosemary. Add a few drops of the essential oil to a container that has a cup or two of water in it. Use a whisk to break up the oil. Put string or strips of cloth in the water and let them set long enough to soak up the oil. Place the strings or cloth strips between the rows in your garden or tie the strings between plants. Keep it refreshed as needed. Black pepper oil is also often useful to deter large animals. Dogs particularly do not like the strong scent of pepper oil. Use it the same way as you would rosemary. Remember that over using these oils can make the garden equally unpleasant for humans.