I was born in Italy, on the Mediterranean Riviera, a land blessed by a mild climate where flowers and plants prosper and display their colors and spread their aromas year-round. I enjoyed the scent of fresh peppermint, basil and rosemary since my early childhood.
During the years I spent in Pakistan due to my job (fifteen amazing years) I lived in a house with a beautiful garden and had the good fortune to enjoy plants, flowers and spices I had never seen before in my life such as jasmine, patchouli and sandalwood.
I always loved gardening, I find it rewarding and relaxing and it deeply connects me to nature.
Commercial pesticides have been widely used in gardening, unfortunately most of are made from chemicals that are harmful to ground, water and soil. Organic gardening is becoming more popular with the use of organic materials such manure for fertilizer and household products as weed killers.
Due to their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, essential oils act as natural pest deterrents and prevent diseases that would destroy the plant. They protect plants from fungi or bacteria, and make them strong and healthy.
During the last decades there has been a growing interest in the use of essential oils in the production of “green pesticides”.
Recent investigations in several countries have demonstrated how some chemical constituents of essential oils not only repel insects, but have contact and fumigant insecticidal actions against specific pests, and fungicidal actions against some important plant pathogens, meeting the criteria for “reduced risk” pesticides.
These studies point out that while these new pesticides have been well received by consumers for use against home and garden pests, they can also prove effective in agricultural situations, particularly for organic food production. Further, while resistance development continues to be an issue for many synthetic pesticides, it is likely that resistance will develop more slowly to essential-oil-based pesticides owing to the complex mixtures of constituents that characterize them.
During the past years I started using essential oils instead of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and I have been rewarded with amazing results in my garden and with my house plants.
Essential oils can be a very important part of natural gardening as they can help eliminate problem insects and diseases without harming the plant or the environment.
Form the concept of companion gardening we know that plants can influence each other in terms of preventing pests and disease. This is often accomplished through scent, as aroma molecules from one plant waft over another and exert their beneficial influence.
According to Valerie Ann Worwood essential oils also affect the yield by increasing the fragrance or flavor of the fruit, flowers, or vegetables. For example, basil planted around tomato plants will enhance the flavor of the tomatoes. You can reach the same result just adding basil essential oils to the watering water. Roses benefits from garlic, basil and thyme as their companion plants. You can also add the essential oils to the water instead of planting garlic, thyme and basil plants around the roses. Thyme and lavender are very effective in protecting the vegetables in your patch.
Essential oils aren’t just for repelling unwanted creatures from your plants. Some oils such as Neroli, Lavender, Marjoram and rosemary will help attract natural pollinators and butterflies to your garden.
Not only essential oils benefit the garden but the gardener too.
As gardening is a great tool for meditation and relaxation, using essential oils will enhance the experience. Essential oils added to some coconut oil will take care of a gardener’s hands.
Here are a few tips that I found very useful and effective.
For plants infested with insects
Fill a mist spray bottle with 4 oz. of water, add a few drops of essential oil and mist the infested plant. Remember to shake the bottle frequently to keep the oil mixed with the water.
Use as little as possible, essential oils are powerful and strong. Several applications, a few days apart, may be necessary.
Spearmint : ants, aphids, caterpillars, black flea beetle, gnats, lice, moths, and plant lice.
Peppermint : ants, aphids, bean beetle, cabbage root fly, caterpillars, black flee beetle, flies, lice, moths, and plant lice.
Lemongrass : black flea beetle, fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks.
Hyssop : aphids, cabbage root fly, moths, and slugs.
Thyme : bean beetle, cabbage root fly, cutworm, and ticks.
Sage : cabbage root fly, cutworm, nematodes, ticks, & white fly.
Rosemary : cabbage root fly and carrot fly.
Patchouli : gnats, snails, weevils, and woolly aphids.
Pine : slugs, snails, and wooly aphids.
Sandalwood : weevils and wooly aphids.
Mildew and Fungus Protection
10 drops of any of the following essential oils to 1 gallon water used in garden spray equipment
Patchouli, Tea Tree, Niaouli
- Gardening with essential oils - Gritman
- The complete book of essential oils and Aromatherapy (1991) – Worwood Valerie Ann
- Essential Oils as Green Pesticides: Potential and Constraintss
Opender Kaul, Suresh Walia and G. S. Dhaliwal
Insect Biopesticide Research Centre, 30 Parkash Nagar, Jalandhar 144003, India; 1Division of Agricultural
Chemicals, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi 110012, India, (2008)
-Plant essential oils for pest and disease management
Murray B Isman
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences,University of British Columbia (2000)