Essential Oils for Gardening: Pest Control

Confession Time: I had neglected my garden for a week, y’all. I didn’t water it, didn’t go out and give it any love for a week. When I came back to check on the progress, I found a few disappointing (but inevitable) issues. My cucumbers were not doing well. It looked totally dead, and it was covered in ants. My zucchinis were turning yellow and there were a LOT of squash bugs covering the plants. Surprisingly my tomatoes and bell peppers still looked vibrant. So, if you want to plant something hardy that doesn’t need a lot of attention, plant tomatoes and bell peppers. I knew I had to do something to address all these problems. The first thing I did was water the garden to bring some life back to it. Then I started doing some research on a natural alternative to pest control.

So, I did a quick Google search. “Essential oils for gardening pests.” Lots of results popped up. I scanned different searches and came up with a concoction based on what I had in my case. I grabbed an empty 8 ounce spray bottle and started filling it up with various doTERRA essential oils.

I went out and sprayed my garden, I used the whole bottle on my entire garden. I came back the next day pleasantly surprised. The squash bugs were completely gone and the ants in my cucumber bed had decreased. Ants are a pretty constant problem here in South Texas, so this wasn’t too surprising that they weren’t totally gone.

I’ve gone out this week and continued to lightly spray our plants every few days, and I am so pleased to have found a natural solution to my garden pest problem. Bonus: I’ve still seen ladybugs and bees happily flying about, so it still allows for the good bugs in your garden to do their thing. Are you ready for my recipe?

doTERRA Gardening Pest Control Spray

7 drops doTERRA Basil

7 drops doTERRA Eucalyptus

7 drops doTERRA Peppermint

Fill the remainder of your bottle with water.

Feel free to adjust this recipe based on your needs. If you’re seeing a lot of pests, you may want to add a few more drops of essential oil, or spray more often. You can also take additional measures of pest control, like planting marigolds or various herbs around your garden to deter pests.

I’d love to hear from you! How do you naturally provide your garden with pest control?

Simplify Food Choices: Not So Simple

Simplifying food choices is proving to be not so simple. I was pretty strong until now. I’ve stocked my pantry with rice cakes instead of bread, I hadn’t wanted sugar in days, I don’t even think about dairy anymore… And then Valentine’s Day happened.

My two oldest boys came home from school with a bag full of goodies. Today all 3 boys came home from church with another bag full of candy… and chocolate. I do miss chocolate, y’all. And then I did it. I bypassed my usual routine I do to fight sugar cravings, and I ate a pink heart shortbread cookie. Then I ate a chocolate candy (to which I thought, These aren’t as good as I remember), and then I ate another chocolate candy hoping it would be as good as I remembered. It wasn’t.

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Then I was mentally beating myself up the rest of the evening. Y’all, I can’t do that anymore! And I’m not talking about the chocolate candy here… I’m talking about beating myself up for eating the chocolate candy. I am not a failure for eating the cookie and candy. I made a poor choice. So what? Move on, sister. By all means, don’t degrade yourself for it!

Why is it so easy for me to criticize myself for making the wrong choices, and yet it’s so difficult to give myself a pat on the back for making the right choices? Geez, I conquered the temptation yesterday of eating all the sweets, I haven’t had a flour tortilla in 17 days (which is a miracle in South Texas. Tortillas are life, y’all), heck even making the choice to eat fruit this morning instead of the cookies that were mocking me. I didn’t give myself a thumbs up for that. I need to do that more often. Focus more on the positives, and less on the negatives.

As I get ready for bed, I am excited for a new day. A new day where I can make one healthy choice after another. That’s how change happens. One step at a time. One choice at a time. One small action at a time. This time I will recognize the change taking place, and I’ll give myself a mental fist pump, high five, or chest bump with each nourishing bite. Because I’m worth it.

Let’s encourage each other. What changes are you taking to better your health?

Fredericksburg Fun

So, there’s this little gem in Texas in the form of a town called Fredericksburg. My family decided to “camp” there over the weekend with our kidos in my dad’s camper. I put the word camp in quotations, because to me camping should be done in tents. That’s real camping. Camping done in an RV or travel trailer is pretend camping (but still fun and actually a great option for a family with really young children).

Warning: Lots of pictures to come.

As my husband and I are driving there on Thursday, I entered in the park in good ol’ Google. Search: Jellystone Park in Fredericksburg, TX. Well, what came up was a Jellystone Park near Fredericksburg, TX in Canyon Lake, TX. I figured that was it so I plug that address into my iPhone, which only took me about 15 minutes. You should know I’m terrible with technology and have had a smartphone for less than a year… so there’s a learning curve.

By this time we are in San Antonio and I’m giving my husband directions. He seems leery of these directions, but I just assure him, “It’s what the GPS says!” Needless to say, after ending up in Canyon Lake (an hour away from the Jellystone Park my dad was at with his camper) I was lovingly fired from being the navigator. We laughed about it later. Much later.

P.S. This is a great park for young children. They have sites for RVs or travel trailers, cabins on site, and also sites for tent camping. They do fun activities on weekends that are family oriented, and have fun things on the campground, like a playground, a swimming pool, and walking trails. Here is what you should enter in Google to get an accurate location: Texas Wine Country Jellystone Park. Good to know.

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Once there I fell in love with the scenery. Trees, hills, and Texas wildflowers lined the highways. My boys just wanted to walk around and explore, so that’s what we did. We explored the park, played on the playground, Noah went swimming, we caught grasshoppers… and we caught a stomach bug. One by one everyone got sick throughout the weekend, except for baby Isaac and myself.

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Friday we went to Wildseed Farms, and if you love plants, you’ll love this place. It’s a huge nursery with little shops filled with merchandise, wine tasting, and restaurants nestled in. They also have a walking trail highlighting the Texas wildflowers in season, so we went that route. Y’all, I could stay at that place all day long and just drink in God’s goodness through nature. The boys loved the small wildlife they could interact with: snails, frogs, squirrels and hummingbirds.

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My dad and I went about half a mile down the road on Highway 290 to Bariloche Farm and got some peach cobbler with a side on homemade Mexican vanilla ice cream. The peach cobbler was good, but the vanilla ice cream was divine, y’all. It was so incredibly smooth with the flavor of real vanilla (none of that imitation stuff!) with a little bit of a warm spice. If you ever go to Fredericksburg and you’re a fan of ice cream, go here. I wish I could have tried other flavors. With blackberries and various peaches in season, they had those flavors too that use fresh picked fruit from their farm to make it. Is your mouth watering yet? Because it should be. Ok, I’m done with talking about the ice cream, but seriously, go there and get some.

Saturday (which we decided would be our last day since this stomach bug was quickly invading ,every inch of the camper) we went blackberry picking at Marburger Orchard. This was by far, my favorite activity of the weekend. We arrived early and after a short introduction by Gary, we chose our row and started picking. Despite the thorns on the bushes, the boys dug right in. It was a great opportunity to teach the boys about fruit ripening, because you could see all stages of the berries. Honestly, we probably could have stayed longer, but we had already filled our box holding 6 pounds of blackberries.

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Despite the fact that almost everyone got sick, we had a blast last weekend. My heart beats a little faster in the country. The idea of having my own year round garden makes me smile. I love watching my boys get excited about God’s creation. It was such a sweet reminder to take things a little slower, linger outside a little longer, and appreciate nature’s playground.

What’s your favorite thing about nature?