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A Greener Approach to Home Gardening

Wellness

By Allison Burton

We all enjoy beautiful robust gardens on the springtime. Somedays I find there is nothing more relaxing than sitting in your garden enjoying the vibrant colors and sweet aromas of nature.

For those of us who grow and harvest our own vegetable garden, we know that it’s no small task to keep the fruits and vegetables healthy throughout the season to produce a bountiful result. Farm or Garden to Table has become a “trendy” way to enjoy a healthy harvest and presenting the fruits (and veggies) of our labor on our kitchen tables is something that memories are made from.

When it comes to caring for your home garden, it is much healthier for you and your produce to use your own natural pesticides that treat common pests, fungus, and diseases. It is common knowledge that synthetic chemical pesticides are toxic to your health and the FDA allows thousands of new chemicals into the market every year. So why on earth would you want to use them in your garden?

Pesticides and fertilizers can harm more than the “pests” they are meant to target. Which actually defeats their purpose. Many pesticides contain potentially toxic chemicals that have been linked to a number of negative health effects such as cancer, respiratory, reproductive and neurological disorders. Chemical fertilizers have increased crop production, which is why most farmers like then but their overuse has polluted the air we breathe, the water we drink and releases greenhouse gases that pose hazards to human health and the environment.

Gardening with Essential Oils

For a natural and healthy garden, those of us who advocate the use of essential oils have found they keep environmental pests from entering our gardens. Essential oils contain powerful properties that can keep your garden bug and critter free. Another tip is to keep your garden free from debris to remove any hiding places for pests.

Before You Begin

Before using essential oils in your garden, it is imperative to make sure you are using 100% pure essential oils that have been tested for purity and are contaminant free.

 Tips

To keep critters such as moles, rabbits, and chipmunks from entering your garden, soak a cotton ball with peppermint and fill in burrows and holes. From time to time, neighborhood cats may want to use your garden as a litterbox. To dissuade our furry friends from doing this, combine a spray bottle with Peppermint oil and spray around the soil of your garden. A mixture of lavender and peppermint may keep the deer from munching on your plants.

Most flowers and plants have defense mechanisms built in to help protect them from environmental threats. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that certain essential oils would work well in keeping bugs from destroying the soil or leaves of your plants.

Speaking of soil. If you are new to gardening you might want to consider composting and planting cover crops like oats, garden peas, and alfalfa that you would rake into the soil between seasons. This adds vital nutrients into the soil.

Cinnamon oil is extremely effective in killing common weeds. It is so effective that before spraying the weeds with a cinnamon and water solution, make sure you know the difference between the unwanted weeds and the flowers and vegetables you are trying to grow.

If you notice a fungus, Melaleuca or tree tea oil is effective. Lightly mist the leaves of the plants with a melaleuca and water solution. Be sure to spray lightly and during the coolest time of day to prevent burning the leaves as Melaleuca is a powerful oil.

For another natural fungicide, you can mix together 1½ tablespoons of baking soda, one gallon of water and Castile or dish soap (that does not contain phosphates and is biodegradable) in a container. Test a small area first by spraying the leaves during the coolest time of the day. Again, to prevent any possibility of burning.

Home Test

Just the other day, my mother was complaining about the moss growing in between the pavers on her patio. She was about to spray a chemical agent on the area of moss when I stopped her and suggested we put together a natural solution. I combined a gallon jug with water, 2 tablespoons of castile soap (you can also use dish soap) and 10 drops of wild orange. I poured the solution over the moss. 24 hours later, the moss dried and turned brown making it easy to crumble and sweep off.

While we are trying to dissuade certain pests and pets from entering our garden, we also want to attract bugs that are beneficial such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Essential oil users find that sweet smelling oils such as Orange, lavender, Rosemary, Basil, Helychrisum, Marjoram and Sage are attractive to these necessary pollinators. To increase their presence dip strips of cloth into the oils and hang them around your garden or make a mist spray with the oils. You’ll need to replenish the cloth strips often since essential oils will evaporate. You may also drop a cotton ball into your potted plants with some of these oils.

Some Essential oils that repel insects that can harm your garden! Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil) Rosemary, Lemongrass, Wild Orange, Peppermint, Cedarwood, Geranium, and Arborvitae should not be used ON your plants. However, they are amazing at keeping the bugs from biting! Make your own spray using a 16 oz glass amber colored spray bottle, add a few drops of one of the oils or combine several of the oils to the bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray the soil around the plants when the weather is not too hot.

When outdoors I make use doTerra’s Terrashield, a blend of Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Catnip, Lemon Eucalyptus, Litsea, Nootka, Arborvitae, and Vanilla Bean Absolute. Diffuse Terrashield with a water base diffuser while sitting outside during a BBQ or enjoying a sunny day on your porch or patio. It is also SAFE to spray it directly on your skin or clothing and it will not leave a grease mark. While camping to keep away gnats and mosquitos, spray on and around your tent. Terrashield is effective in keeping you bug-free without having to use harmful bug sprays that contain Deet. Deet can cause allergic skin reactions and eye irritation.

For the occasional seasonal issues and to help with sneezing and itchy watery eyes, you can diffuse lemon, lavender, and peppermint or simply take Tri-Ease one of doTerra’s seasonal blend soft gels in the morning and mid-evening.

For achy muscles and joints from the constant bending, while working in the garden, Deep Blue is my oil blend of choice. It has been formulated into an easy to apply the cream that you can rub directly onto the sore spots. After a day outdoors, I often notice that my hands are dry and cracked. To remedy that I dab a little CORRECT X with a few drops of lavender and carrier oil for added moisture.

There are many Do It Yourself recipes on the internet, and you can try a few and see what works best for you or you can connect with me here.

 

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