Gardening with Essential Oils

What Are Essential Oils?
They are volatile and aromatic substances created by plants. Essential oils are obtained by steam distillation, expression, or through solvent extraction of plant material. There are thousands of different constituents that make up essential oils and not all of them have been identified by science. You can find them in processed food, perfumes, health products, cleaning products, air fresheners, candles, cosmetics, chewing gum, candy, soft drinks, liqueurs, toothpaste, mouthwash, and many other sources.

Essential oils are thought to be anonymous with aromatherapy that is the study of essential oils and their effect on the physical, mental and emotional body. Gardening is not about that. So how can essential oils be part of a good, natural, gardening program?

Essential Oils and the Garden
Essential oils can be a very important part of natural gardening. We live in a world where we are bombarded by chemicals that many times are not safe to use. Essential oils can easily help replace some pesticides and poisons in your garden. They will help you eliminate problem insects and diseases without harming the plant or the environment. At Gritman we have a philosophy that wants to cooperate with nature and does not want do battle with it. We would prefer to learn from the red ants and work with them instead of killing them. At the same time, we understand that this is not always possible so we have put together some products that will help your stay in the garden be rewarding and free from bites.

Essential oils could help:
Protect plants from insects, mildew and other plant diseases
Protect the gardener from insects, heal bites and relieve itching, and treat sunburn.
Protect your animals from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.
Protect your home from fleas.

 

Essential Oils for the garden

Chamomile Lavender Oregano Tea Tree
Cedarwood Lemon Eucalyptus Pennyroyal  
Eucalyptus Onion Peppermint*  
Garlic Orange Thyme  

* Use with caution especially with pregnant women and cats

Simple Formulas

Fire Ant Begon
1 teaspoon liquid soap
6oz orange essential oil
1 teaspoon molasses
1 gallon water

Mix the first three ingredients together. Add to 1 gallon of water and pour on the ant mound. Wait a few days. Some survivors may attempt to create a mound close by. Repeat. This formula was discovered by car mechanics in Georgia as they washed their hands with a orange detergent. The University of Georgia refined the formula above.

Dormant Fruit Tree Spray
Dormant period for fruit trees is when it is cold.
3 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap
4oz orange oil
2oz lavender essential oil
1 gallon of water

Mix the first five ingredients together. Add to 1 gallon of water and spray on to dormant trees. This can also be applied during the growing season but the first five ingredients are at half strength and applied towards the evening hours.

Protect Plants from Mildew and Fungus
1 Teaspoon vodka, ever clear, or high proof alcohol
20 Drops Fungal Stat Blend (Tea Tree, Oregano, Red Thyme, Ajowan)
1 Oz water
1 Oz mister (glass referred)

Combine the first two ingredients. Shake well to incorporate. Add water. Shake. If your mister is plastic, the oils will dissolve the plastic. So do not store in the plastic bottle. Glass Bottles are OK. Spray when there is no fear of sun burning. This is usually towards the evening.

All Purpose Insecticide
1 Teaspoon vodka, ever clear, or high proof alcohol
Also substitute with liquid soap
1 drop garlic essential oil
1 drop onion essential oil
1 oz water
1 oz mister

Combine the first three ingredients. Shake well. Add water. Shake. Spray towards evening. Reported to be very good for roses especially if they have mildew or black spots.

Insect Repellant
1 Teaspoon vodka, ever clear, or high proof alcohol
10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops cedarwood essential oil
1 oz water
1 oz mister (glass preferred)

Combine the first three ingredients. Shake well. Add water. Spray onto human as well as dog skin to repel mosquitoes.
For tick protection add 5 drops of camphor. For flea protection add 5 drops of pennyroyal (do not use if pregnant or on cats)
For cats and insect repellant use only the lemon eucalyptus or you may need to cut the drops in half. Cats are very sensitive to essential oils. Use very cautiously.

Insect Repellant and Candles
Unscented candle(s)
1-2 drops lemon eucalyptus
1-2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
1-2 drops cedarwood

Drop one or more of the above oils into the well of the candle. Do not use more than three drops. Light. The heat from the burning wick encourages the oils to evaporate into the air. You can place several candles to repel insects especially mosquitoes while you work or entertain. This will give you up to two hours of protection. Add more oil if you want to stay out longer. Oils are flammable so stop the candles from burning before adding more oil.

Insect Itch Relief
10 drops tea tree
10 drops lavender
10 drops chamomile
1 oz mister
1 oz water
1 teaspoon vodka, ever clear or other alcohol

Add the essential oils and vodka to the 1 oz mister. Shake well. Add the water. Mist onto insect bites to relief itching. This will also promote healing. The essential oils of tea tree, lavender, and chamomile can be applied to the skin directly from the bottle. They can be used alone or in combination. Each will help with the itching and each will promote healing.

Sunburn Spray or Lotion
10 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops chamomile essential oil
1 oz mister/bottle
1 oz water/fractionated coconut oil
1 teaspoon vodka, ever clear or other alcohol

Add the essential oils and vodka to the mister or bottle. Shake well. Add the water or coconut oil. Mist or rub into skin to stop the heat and promote healing. The essential oils of peppermint, lavender, and chamomile can be applied to the skin directly from the bottle. They can be used alone or in combination. The peppermint promotes cooling and the lavender and chamomile promote healing.

Flea Protection for the House
30 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops pennyroyal* (can substitute cedarwood)
1 cup cornstarch/ 1 cup water
1 spray bottle
*Pennyroyal is very powerful and should not be used around pregnant women and cats.

Add the essential oils to the cornstarch and stir. Sprinkle onto the carpet. Let sit five minutes and vacuum. Add essential oil to spray bottle. Add water. Shake very well. As you apply continue to shake bottle as essential oils will tend to float on top. Spray onto furniture or areas that the cornstarch will not go. If there is concern that the water and essential oils could hurt the fabric of your furniture, make a test first on a part of the fabric that does not show. You may need to repeat every two days for two weeks to make sure all the eggs have hatched and all the fleas are gone.