‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?’ Mary’s 21st-century answer would be organic essentials oils! Organic gardening and farming have grown into important options over many years and essential oils are a welcome addition to these discussions, offering a wonderful complement to sustainable potager gardens, herb gardens, veggie patches, fruit orchards and largescale farms.
Organic essential oils are a pure and wonderful resource, playing a two-fold role in keeping your garden blooming, blossoming and growing, as well as protecting your garden from unwanted bugs and plant destroyers. When it comes to garden insects, there are some beneficial bugs that you want to lure into in your garden, and then there are the bad guys that are not welcome.
Organic essential oils simply take the principle of companion planting to the next level.
Repelling pests from your garden
Let’s first talk battle strategy: if you want your garden to grow, there are many pesky insects that you need to get rid of and repel - those little blighters that have the potential to destroy crops, herbs, flowers and trees. We’re talking varieties of ants, aphids, snails, beetles, cutworms etc. Organic essential oil solutions hold the pesticide power to naturally repel these unwelcome creepy crawlies without causing harm like their toxic counterparts.
(To make up a solution, the general guideline is 10-20 drops of essential oil to 1 gallon / 3.7 litres of water).
Use your arsenal of essential oil spray bottles and get ready to wage war:
- Let’s start with weeds - perhaps not a bug, but certainly a destructive invader. A solution of white vinegar and cinnamon bark oil is an inexpensive and very effective natural weedkiller.
- Organic cedarwood atlas oil, peppermint oil and sweet orange oil are your three frontline defences against ants, aphids and caterpillars. Spray directly on to leaves and around the base of the plants. These oils are also effective in ridding your garden of cutworm and beetles. (Spray once a week and after rain or heavy dew.)
- If flies are playing havoc with your plants, then charge up with a solution of lavender oil, citronella oil, rosemary oil or patchouli oil.
- Slugs and snails are defenceless against the following essential oil combinations: frankincense, cedarwood and sweet orange. (Best to spray at night when slugs and snails do their destructive work).
There is no denying that the natural efficacy and pure potency of organic essential oils make them an invaluable tool in your garden shed.
Inviting pollinators into your garden
Now for the good bugs which are generally divided into two groups - the predators and the pollinators. These are nature’s friends that help your garden grow organically. Organic essential oils become a secret weapon in attracting these lovelies into your garden and ensuring they stay.
The predators are beneficial bugs for keeping your garden balanced and free of pests. Spiders eat more insects than birds, and ladybugs are relentless when it comes to eating aphids and beetles set on destroying your plants.
The pollinators are the buzzing and fluttering miracles of nature that make your garden bloom and produce: bees, butterflies, lacewings and hawkmoths - just to name a few.
If you are looking for a bumper crop of fruits and veggies, or a floral world of color, then the following organic essential oils are the perfect invitation for pollinators:
- If you want to attract an array of butterflies to your garden then lavender, sweet orange or helichrysum essential oils will have them fluttering by. (To amend your soil, mix 2-3 drops of lavender oil directly into to the soil. It will also help you to sleep better at night after a hard day laboring in the garden).
- Like the Lorax, we’re all about saving the trees but we also want to save the bees! So lure these pollinators into your garden with essential oils. Once again, lavender, orange and helichrysum oils will do the trick, but so will sweet marjoram, and rosemary.
Dilute 2-4 drops of essential oil to 8oz of water (250ml) or add a few drops of essential oil to a piece of cheesecloth tied to a twig and placed at the base of the plants or tied to branches of fruit trees. Essential oils soaked cotton balls placed in individual cardboard egg container ‘cups’ and planted in the soil next to each plant is another simple way to attract pollinators.
If you are convinced of the principles of organic gardening and farming and the benefits of essential oils in increasing your garden’s health, beauty and abundance, then Sanctus Essence is your natural companion on this journey.