Saturday, July 14, 2012


Deter Garden Disease, Insects, & Pests Naturally

"My first experience with gardening was pulling weeds. As a child, my mom always had a garden. She grew tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, cantaloupe, okra, and more depending on where we lived at the time. Many late summers I remember seeing my mom can tomatoes. Homemade strawberry freezer jam was a regular in our home. I guess I grew up enjoying the “fruits” of home gardening and canning, but never really appreciating it!

Years later when I was a missionary along the Volga in Russia, my exposure to gardens went to a whole new level! Most Russians have maintained a great degree of self-sufficiency with food — the majority of Russians have a garden plot, or “dacha”, where they grow a great deal of their own produce. After the feast of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, apples, cherries, plums, strawberries, raspberries, and whatever else they grow at harvest time, these foods are preserved at home and eaten all winter long.

Last year I got my hands dirty with large-scale gardening for the very first time. I had a fantastic experience gardening the backyard with my roommate Emily. I feasted on organic tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini for a couple of months. I canned homemade salsa with some of the tomatoes. I made pies, muffins, soups, and other delicacies with the pumpkins (I still have two large pumpkins leftover!).

Even though some of the things we planted didn’t grow well — there were no carrots, beets, broccoli, or cauliflower to speak of, and the cabbage came in very meagerly — we were really blessed to have few problems with pests or disease besides some kind of powdery mildew on the squash leaves toward the end of the season.

This year I’m watching jealously as my roommates and neighbors are busy in their gardens. I’m getting married in July and will be in a new place, so sadly I have no garden of my own this year. But I’m taking notes for future gardens on grand scales! I have an essential oil book that offers some amazing information on using essential oils in the garden to deter pests and help with disease, and I’ve come across a handful of people who have successfully used the oils in their gardens.

Here’s some of the information I dug up. I hope you enjoy it! If you decide to try out any of these tips, please let me know how they work!

The Problems

Hungry and curious animals, including birds, deer, rabbits, snails, slugs, and more can wreak havoc on a garden! Last summer one of our heads of cabbage had a huge, I mean HUGE bite mark in it from a snacking mystery creature! Of course, insects including aphids, mites, and various types of beetles are known to literally eat away at the succulent green leaves and luscious fruits growing in your garden, leaving you to scrounge through their leftovers. And various types of disease — from fungal root rot, powdery mildew, and blights to viral & bacterial infections — can destroy crops and garden plants literally from the ground up!
The Essential Oils

Savvy gardeners know that planting such things as garlic or marigolds in their gardens can help deter pests. Apparently such pests don’t enjoy certain aromas, and prefer to steer clear of them. That’s where essential oils can come in.

Such essential oils as peppermint, citronella and lemongrass (in the Purification oil blend along with a few others) have powerful insect repellent properties, whether used in the garden, in your home, or on your body. Specifically, peppermint deters ants, aphids, caterpillars, flies, moths, bean beetles, and even mice! The essential oils in Purification can deter carrot flies, fleas, gnats, mosquitoes, nematodes, ticks, and more.

Purification, Thieves, and Oregano oils all have powerful anti-fungal properties, with Thieves and Oregano having additional power over viruses and bacteria. Some people have found Melrose oil — with it’s melaleuca and rosewood essential oils — to be another great oil to use in the garden. Additionally, others have reported great results using the Thieves Cleaner in their gardens. Cedarwood oil is said to deter snails and slugs.
The Methods

Essential Oil Spray — Make a spray to deter pests or against disease by adding 4-8 drops of essential oil to 1 gallon of water. Spray onto flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

Cotton Balls — Apply a couple drops of peppermint and/or Purification oil onto cotton balls and place in animal burrows and nests to cause them to relocate. Repeat as needed.

Cartons — Place 3-4 drops of your chosen essential oil(s) in old yogurt containers. Bury them in the ground with the tops of the containers level with the ground in order to deter animals and other pests. Repeat as needed.

Strips of Fabric — Apply a drop of an essential oil to strips of cloth and hang them from trees. Apply more essential oils to the strips as needed.

String — Soak string in water and essential oils and hang them between rows of vegetables to deter flying insects.

(for more information on using essential oils in the garden and a lot more, get “The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy” by Valerie Ann Worwood)"