Ahhhhh, summer. If you live in a temperate climate, you are familiar with the necessary limits imposed by the annual cycle of planting, growing, and harvesting. There are certainly some crops that can be planted throughout the summer for continuous and/or fall harvest, some that will grow throughout the winter in the open or covered, and some that grown underground over the winter to emerge in the spring for summer harvesting (in my case, that would be garlic and a special variety of shallots that I will be planting this fall). Wherever you are, you are probably growing something right now if you are a gardener. It is my hope that you will enjoy these tips for using oils to support wonderful gardening experiences. Go and grow!
You would probably agree that nothing is more frustrating that nurturing seeds or even little seedlings through the early developmental stages only to have them chewed to death or near death just when they are really swinging into maturity. Try these solutions (and diffuse calming oils!):
- Scare rodents away with 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil dropped on a cotton ball. Tuck balls into mouse holes, burrows, and nests to encourage them to relocate.
- Repel other pests with these essential oils. Mix together in a glass or special plastic spray bottle 8 oz. water, ½ tsp. castile/natural soap, as 12 drops total of essential oil. Shake vigorously and frequently to keep the water and oil mixed (essential oils are hydrophobic!).
- Ants: Peppermint, Spearmint
- Aphids: Cedarwood, Peppermint, Spearmint
- Beetles: Peppermint, Thyme
- Caterpillars: Spearmint, Peppermint
- Chiggers: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
- Fleas: Peppermint, Lemongrass, Spearmint, Lavender
- Flies: Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage
- Gnats: Patchouli, Spearmint
- Lice: Cedarwood, Peppermint, Spearmint
- Mosquitoes: Lavender, Lemongrass, Arborvitae, TerraShield Repellent Blend
- Moths: Cedarwood, Lavender, Peppermint, Spearmint
- Plant Lice: Peppermint, Spearmint
- Slugs: Cedarwood
- Snails: Cedarwood, Patchouli
- Spiders: Peppermint, Spearmint
- Ticks: Lavender, Lemongrass, Sage, Thyme
- Weevils: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood
I plant flowering plants as pollinator attractors in general (2 huge beds of echinacea and horsetail hymale down by the street, comfrey all around the yarden, and borage by the cucumbers), but there are times when you might want targeted attraction to specific plants. Here’s an inexpensive and luscious solution:
- Add 5-6 drops of Orange essential oil to a spray bottle filled with 8 oz. water. Spray on flowers and buds to attract bees for pollination. Shake vigorously and frequently to keep oil and water mixed.
I get really sad when I see fungus because it appears suddenly, is hard to stop, and spreads very easily, especially – in my experience – on squash and sometimes on my mint bushes. Here are a couple of hints:
- In a small spray bottle, combine 20 drops of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) essential oil and water to fill. Spray directly onto infected plants once or twice weekly.
- TIP: Always spray plants as early in the morning as possible and on sunnier days so that the liquid you are spraying will have time to dry and won’t add to the moisture/fungal problem. This rule also applies to general watering.
Vegetable & Fruit Wash
Have you thought that your only solution is to buy special vegetable wash products? If they are safe, they are probably made from some of the same ingredients (just much more expensive per use):
- Fill your kitchen sink with cold water. Add ½ cup white vinegar and 6 drops Lemon essential oil. Soak fruits and vegetables for 10 minutes and rinse.
- TIPS: Soak raspberries and other produce that gets limp in water for less time. You can soak with drops of Lemon essential oil only if you are concerned about the smell/taste of the vinegar.
- CAUTION: Only use essential oil that is specifically certified safe for ingestion.
Temporary Joint & Muscle Discomfort
These oils are helpful before and after any form of exercise, but especially if you are carrying heavy landscaping materials, performing repetitive motion activites (like trimming bushes), lots of stooping and squatting, etc. There are many other options, but these are definitely tried and tried for me:
- Frankincense (intensifies effect of other oils when layered)
- Peppermint (drives effect of other oils deeper when layered)
- Deep Blue Soothing Blend
- AromaTouch Massage Blend
Often I can only make it out to the yarden to start, continue, or complete certain chores during the midday hours. If I start feeling flushed or overheated, I put the tools down, head into the house and open a bottle of:
- Topical – place a drop on the tip of your finger – or have someone else do it – and run it down the back of your neck and down your spine; ingest – place 1-2 drops in a glass or stainless steel container of water, stir, and drink – REFRESHING!
- CAUTIONs: mix the Peppermint oil with a few drops of a pure carrier oil if you have sensitive skin before you apply it topically; do not ingest unless oil is certified safe for ingestion
I am sensitive to all kinds of things, both inside and out, so I have been deeply grateful to be able to garden again for hours at a time since I started using these essential oils:
- Equal parts Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon (4 -6 drops each per day in an empty veggie cap or in the premade TriEase blend softgels)
TerraShield Repellent Blend usually keeps most pests away. Arborvitae and Cedarwood are excellent deterrents to place on mulch around your plants. If you forget to put it on – or if bugs get through your defenses anyway – here are some powerful supports:
- Peppermint (great at soothing itching)
Scrapes, minor cuts/scratches
No matter how careful you are – and even if you wear long sleeves and gloves (which I don’t) – you may find that you have some minor skin breaks when you are done with a gardening project. If that’s the case, there are two great helps.
- Lavender (my #1 skin solution; it supports healing from the inside out)
- Correct X Essential ointment (Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lavender, Cedarwood, Melaleuca); also stops bleeding
You knew we’d get to this!
- Lemon (1-2 drops directly on problem area; especially good for sticky substances such as sap).
- TIP: If using on clothing, mix with water in spray bottle and test on material before spraying on problem area.
- Melaleuca (great for conditioning cuticles and nails after gardening, mix with liquid coconut oil for easy application) – see a great DIY recipe below
DIY AFTER SUN SPRAY
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops frankincense essential oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 4 oz. blue or amber glass bottle with spray cap
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
- Transfer to a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.
GARDENER’S HAND SCRUB
Planting and maintaining your own garden has many benefits; however, the dirt-stained hands you get from gardening are far from ideal. This easy-to-make Gardener’s Hand Soap exfoliates, cleanses, and moisturizes all in one use!
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons liquid castile soap
- 1 teaspoon almond oil
- 7 drops Clary Sage
- 5 drops of Melaleuca
- In a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir until smooth and combined.
- Pour into air-tight container and keep next to sink for easy use.
- To use, grab a handful of soap and scrub at your dirt-covered hands. After you’re done, your hands will be clean, soft, and exfoliated.
These are my gardening basics, shared here to offer you some starter tips for whatever challenges you might face. I don’t have many house plants, but I can say that Rosemary is incredible in any war against spider mites! Let me know how YOU use essential oils in gardening, share your special tips, and – as always – ask questions. We are here to support each other.
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