Organic Gardening with Essential Oils

My garden is growing, well, some of it. We need some soaking rains this week. With gardens come bugs and other pests. I was curious to see what is available commercially, so I went to the hardware store today and hung out in the garden area. I was happy to see some organic bug killers that are safe around children and pets. But they were expensive and did have plenty of ingredients I could not pronounce. I decided after looking at them all to stick with a much simpler formula: Water, Peppermint Oil!

I like to think of my gardening this way:

 If I wouldn't eat the pest spray on my food, why would I put it on my plants?

How about apples sprayed with cinnamon water? Yes please!

As much as I love cinnamon, for 90% of your gardening needs, peppermint will do it! Just remember this one rule of thumb: 1-2 drops of oil per ounce of water. You can put it in a large garden sprayer or just a small spray bottle and send all the kids out to spray down the plants, trees, and grass. FIY, if it is hot out, spraying yourself with peppermint will lower your body temperature and is an awesome mosquito repellent. You can add a teaspoon of liquid soap as well for even more power.

My recipe for all purpose garden spray:
8 oz water
8 drops peppermint
2 drops white fir (optional)

Total cost: $0.88 cents
  • Plant fungus? Try melaleuca
  • Squash Bugs? Try cinnamon, cassia, or clove
  • Slugs? Try white fir or cedarwood
  • Ants? Aphids? Beetles? Caterpillars? Spiders? Mice? Peppermint to the rescue. (hint; If peppermint just doesn't cut it, try thyme)
Epson Salts are said to be great for soil. Add some peppermint to the salts and sprinkle them around the garden to deter pests like rabbits from eating your tender plants.

My recipe:
4 cups Epson Salts
20 drops peppermint
5 drops white fir
2 drops Thyme
1 drop cinnamon

Shake well to combine and sprinkle around plants or perimeter of the garden.
Total cost: $4

Two words of caution:
1. Do not spray in your eyes.
2. Don't drop one drop full strength on the leaves. They don't like that.

How do you use essential oils in the garden? Please share your tips below!

Do you find this "Pinteresting"? Is it likeable? Does it leave you Twitterpated? Please consider following My Lamp is Full on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.

This post is partying with these awesome hops.  Check them out for inspiration


  1. Thanks for hosting this link-up!
    And thanks for the feature. :)

  2. Thanks for hosting - we had squash bugs last year and I sprinkled cornstarch around the plants which seemed to help. I'll definitely give cinnamon a try this year!

  3. Hi Janine,
    It is amazing how wonderful essentials are! I watched my father spend tons of money and endanger his health by using toxic insecticides and pesticides in our backyard garden. He is now suffering from a neurological disease and I wonder if his years of exposure is a cause. We don't really know, but what we do know is that there are safer, natural alternatives like your wonderful peppermint essential oil-based garden sprays--so safe, even a child can use it.I am so glad you shared these effective natural gardening recipes with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop! I appreciate it!

  4. This sounds like an awesome way to keep the bugs away without yucky pesticides. I'm going to try this on my own home garden.

  5. I've never used oils, but I've used spices like cinnamon and chili powder to ward off ants, and I use homemade ant killer when they come inside. I never find the dang bugs that eat my plants, so I'm never sure what to use to ward them off.

    1. Yes, I hear you. They eat and disappear, don't they. Experienced peppermint oil users testify that 90% will stay away with just peppermint. Now, to keep the goats out....

  6. I just bought my first 2 bottle of essential oil...peppermint and lavender! Smell sooo good! Look forward to learning more!

    1. Those two are gateway oils to waaay more! Watch out. :)

  7. Wow ... this is great information! I've always planted veggies in containers (apartment dweller) but this year I have property and can plant to my heart's content. But, planting "in the wild" is all new to me so I appreciate your tips on natural garden remedies. Thanks so much!

    1. OOH, good luck. The weeds are more of a concern for us than the bugs in our big wild garden. But we are trying to keep on top of that this year with an abundance of mulch. Good luck with your garden this year.

  8. The peppermint garden spray sounds awesome! One question about it, is it harmful to earthworms? Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

  9. I've never used essential oils, but I love gardening and am starting a vegetable garden this year. I think I'll try your all-purpose garden spray. I've never been a fan of pesticides, especially near my food. http://www.fpioceania.com.au/products/products.php?category=Organic%20Essential%20Oils%20Wholesale