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DIY Garden Pest Spray
Shared in stories a bunch of ways to proactively protect your garden against the inevitable pests and diseases that come along with summer☀️
My biggest tip? Starting off with a healthy garden and strong plants is your best bet for warding off pesky infestations💪 Rich soil, consistent feeding and this DIY repellent spray are my secret weapons in the garden! The spray water based with a few potent essential oils and one bonus ingredient💦
More tips: plant HERBS and utilize beneficial insects!
Herbs are great companions to veggie plants both for their ability to attract pollinators AND repel pests both big and small🌿 Beneficial insects are another go-to garden defender for us! Insects like ladybugs, lacewings, beneficial nematodes and assassin bugs are such a strong defense because they prey on the bad guys👊🐞
Anyway, back to the spray!
Why a DIY Garden Spray?
Ugh pests in the garden are the WORST! It’s so devastating to go out to the garden one day only to see all your hard work chewed away or shriveled up.
I utilize many organic pest control methods, which you can read more about in this post, but essential oils are truly one of my favorites and the best bang for your buck! They are great to use in your garden because they’re organic, all-natural, and they WORK.
I also like diy-ing my sprays because I can tailor them to my exact needs of the moment!
Most high-quality essential oils cost about $0.10 a drop, so you can spend a lot of money on commercial organic pest control…. or you can save some money and make them yourself.
In this post, I’m talking about how to use essential oils to deter and get rid of bugs, freeloading insects, and vegetable munchers in your garden.
A Word About Purity
Before we get started, let’s talk about purity for a minute. Everyone has their own favorite brand of oils – so we won’t cover particular brands in this article.
However, I definitely recommend buying from the manufacturer directly, and not from a 3rd party source like Amazon. It’s very, very easy to pop the top off and replace them with an inferior essential oil – or something that doesn’t even resemble an oil, but smells like the real deal.
The last thing you want is to spend time and effort growing your garden, only to dump a bunch of toxins on them unknowingly.
Bottom line: Buy from a trusted source, just be sure the oil is pure, and the oil in the bottle is as advertised.
What Are The Go-To Oils?
There are a few essential oils that are my go-to’s for working against MOST garden pests. They repel due to their strong scent and they also interfere with your pesky visitor’s biological systems (each oil effects a different part of the insect’s body), causing them to leave the scene to save their lives.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
In addition to acting as an anxiety fighter, cedrol is also said to also keep creepy-crawlies at bay. A study conducted by Cornell University determined that cedarwood oil is a non-toxic way to deter mosquitoes and other garden pests. And another study says that cedarwood oil is especially effective against ants and ticks – it’s a staple in all my bug sprays both for the garden and our bodies!
Peppermint Essential Oil
If you don’t yet have pests in your garden or just want to deter them, peppermint oil is a great option. It’s strong smelling, and garden pests will turn around to find an easier target for a snack, even rodent pests! This is the same reason I plant mint in container and put them all over the garden and our outdoor patio!
Lavender Essential Oil
Another amazing, multi-purpose oil, probably hands down the most important oil I own for it’s wide variety of benefits. But for garden purposes it works great to repel garden pests!
Clove Essential Oil
Clove is a wonderful deterrent for disease-carrying insects and flies. This super effective oil has potent, organic compounds which deter pests like insects, fungus and rodents in the garden.
Orange Essential Oil
And lastly, orange. If you want a go-to oil for killing pest insects, then orange is a good choice since it works to destroy the exoskeletons of bugs. Orange is also known to work against some fungi! I put this as optional in my recipe because I only add it when I plan on using the spray during a current/on-going infestation.
How to Make the DIY Garden Spray
Here is my recipe! It’s extremely potent, you can easily cut the essential oil and soap drops in half, but this is how I prefer it!
- 10 drops clove essential oil (eo)
- 20 drops peppermint eo
- 10 drops cedarwood eo
- 10 drops lavender eo
- 10 drops orange eo (optional)
- 2 cups water or vinegar
- 5 drops dish soap (I use Theives or plain Castile)
Add the essential oils first, then the water. Swirl to combine, then add the soap and shake well. Shake before each use and apply liberally and regularly – especially after rain! I usually have to make this a few times a season because I like to use it as fresh as possible, and if I’m doing a big application I just increase the batch size while keeping the same proportions.
A note about soaps and insects…
I use regular dish soap simply because it helps the scented spray cling to the leaves of the plants. The idea is to have the scent stick around long enough to repel critters as well as coat the leaves so when they try to chew or suck on them they will be turned off by the taste and leave.
The difference between dish soap and commercial insecticidal soap is that the latter works by dissolving the hard external bodies of insects. You can make your own at home with liquid castile soap and essential oil, especially orange.
These soaps are effective against aphids, thrips, mites, immature leafhoppers, and whiteflies. Just remember that insecticidal soap is only effective if they come in contact with the insects while the soap is still liquid; it won’t work after it dries on the plants.
But also keep in mind these could harm or kill beneficial soft-bodied insects if they come in direct contact. My advice is to use insecticidal soaps appropriately and make sure the bees, butterflies and lady bugs are nowhere in site when spraying!
There you have it! I hope that was helpful in showing you how easy and effective it is to make your own garden sprays!