Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils

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Are you looking for a simple, effective, and toxin-free spray to use in your organic garden? You’ll love this Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils!  It’s especially effective against squash bugs.

Want to skip right to the video of me in my garden showing you how to make and use this spray?  Here’s the video.  Otherwise, read on for all the details…

Hard Core Organic Pest Control

It’s not easy to avoid both harmful pesticides and harmful insects in the vegetable garden.

Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils | Roots & Boots
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Squash bug eggs–yikes!

Take it from someone who has gone to great lengths to keep toxic chemicals out of the garden: We bought guineas, y’all.

Guineas are loud, annoying, ugly, and dumb, but they do eat lots of bugs while (unlike chickens) producing minimal damage to garden plants.

Though guineas do provide organic pest control in the garden, tending these strange little birds has proved challenging.  If you’ve followed our Garden Adventures over the past few years, you may recall our struggle to keep poultry alive.  For example: The Great Guinea Massacre.

Nevertheless, Mr. Native Texan is convinced the guineas are to thank for a decline in the population of destructive insects in our garden–namely the dreaded squash bugs we’d battled for years with little success.

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Guineas Aren’t for Everyone

While guineas may be a great idea for organic vegetable gardens, the fact remains that not every organic garden can accommodate such creatures. Some folks just don’t have the space, inclination, or permission from their HOA.

If you fall into this category, I’ve got great news.

Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils | Roots & Boots
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Try this Easy Garden Spray Instead 

We use essential oils to make our own DEET-free bug spray for people.  It works really well, so it stands to reason that an essential oils bug spray for the garden might work just as well.

After hearing of the success at Spyglass Gardens–an organic farm in Idaho where they’ve experimented with Peppermint Oil as a nontoxic pesticide–I decided to conduct a similar experiment in our own garden.

Between the guineas and this Easy Garden Spray, I’m happy to report all our squash plants are going strong! Thankfully, we’ve spotted only a few squash bugs and just a handful of their eggs, which we happily fed to the chickens and guineas.

Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils | Roots & Boots
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It’s almost the end of June, and the zucchini harvest is already quite robust. The rest of the gourds and pumpkin vines are looking good, too.  Whew!

Update: We’ve used this spray for several years now, with great success.  We love this garden spray so much that I made a little video all about it…

Easy Garden Spray Recipe

For this Easy Garden Spray recipe, you’ll need only three supplies:

  • sturdy garden sprayer
  • water
  • Peppermint oil

A small hand-held spray bottle may work for a small garden, but for larger gardens, you’ll want to invest in a larger sprayer.  Ours is a 2-gallon garden sprayer.

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Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils

  • Author: Roots & Boots


This Easy Garden Spray is especially effective against squash bugs. Use it regularly to protect your zucchini plants.



  1. Combine about 1 drop Peppermint Oil per 2 ounces water in your desired spray container.
  2. Shake well before each use.
  3. Apply spray to every plant in the garden, making sure to cover the stems and undersides of leaves.
  4. Spray again after each rainfall or heavy wetting.


*Not all essential oils are created equal–some are chemically altered or tampered with. Be sure to choose a pure, therapeutic grade oil for this Easy Garden Spray since you’ll be applying it directly to your food. For help getting started with essential oils, click here.

Are you looking for a simple, effective, and chemical-free spray to use in your organic garden? You'll love this Easy Garden Spray with Essential Oils!
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How do you use essential oils in your garden?  What tips do you have for organic bug control?

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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Jo Fleck on 06/27/2017 at 1:45 am

    Hi Kathleen. Thank you for the information. My question is, will this spray also deter the bees from coming around?

    • Kathleen on 06/27/2017 at 5:11 pm

      We haven’t noticed that, Jo. Zucchini requires pollination, as you probably know. Our zucchini plants are the precise plants we spray in order to control squash bugs, and the plants have produced fantastically for us. I’ve read that peppermint oil can repel bees, but somehow our plants are getting pollinated! (And we have plenty of bees around…they love our lavender plants and catmint!)

  2. Kelly on 07/22/2017 at 1:35 pm

    What can be done about basil getting whiteflies? Would the peppermint spray help that? Thanks.

    • Kathleen on 07/24/2017 at 7:49 pm

      I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot!

  3. Victoria Hartell on 04/03/2018 at 12:49 pm

    Hey there! Great post! I was wondering whether the peppermint leaves the fruits / veggies with that minty taste? I could see that as being a drawback.

  4. Jen on 05/24/2018 at 7:40 pm

    I was wondering the same thing, does the peppermint oil leave your veggies tasting like peppermint? While that’s not completely awful, it might not be great for everything! ☺️

    • Kathleen on 05/28/2018 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Jen, Our veggies have never tasted like peppermint. 🙂

      • jkotab on 08/07/2018 at 2:02 pm

        A lot of people (including the experts) have a hard time not thinking along the lines of “chemistry” when they are dealing with “biology”. For example, mulching repeatedly with pine needles (which ARE acidic) does not lower the PH of your soil by much at all, if at all. Spraying essential oils, which are biological creations, usually do not spread to all parts of the plant (like the zucchini fruit).
        I was looking for general practices for application to inhibit bacterial wilt (turns out a good compost tea will do this!) so I’m guessing this application (with rosemary) will work just fine. Thanks!

  5. Bennie Rhoden on 06/07/2018 at 2:34 am

    Going to try this on our tomatoes. Worms are burrowing into our tomatoes before they get ripe. We having to pick them about half green, bc IF we allow them to stay on vine they are ruined bc of worm.
    We have not had this worm trouble before. Does anyone have any other ideas.

  6. Brittannia on 05/21/2019 at 4:12 pm

    Is this a safe solution to use on veggies that would be eaten straight from the plant? Our green beans are getting eaten but insects and the garden is my 4 year old’s so it’s solely intended for her to be able to pick a snack while she’s out playing with her little brother.

    • Kathleen on 05/21/2019 at 6:24 pm


  7. Anne on 07/22/2019 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Kathleen,
    I’ve used peppermint Castile soap (diluted) to kill ants, jap beetles ect. in my garden. Also rubbed it straight on shins to repel fleas & mosquitoes. Can this be used instead of the essential oil or would it not be a strong enough scent? Thanks

  8. Karol Shavon Scott on 07/23/2020 at 10:06 am

    Hello Kathleen 🙂 My name is Karol and I’ve recently started my vegetable garden here at home. My crook neck squash plant is producing nothing but male blossoms. I may have to wait for the females to come, but something is troubling my “squash baby”. I’ve seen what looks to be squash borer eggs on some clusters of the budding male flowers and saw tiny green “worms” (maybe larvae?) on one part of the plant this morning. I have peppermint oil that is labeled as 100% pure mentha piperita. I just discovered your page and the recipe for the non-toxic spray for my garden (after an exhausting search for a solution to my squash “problem. Can the oil that I have be used?

    • Kathleen on 07/23/2020 at 1:36 pm

      I’ve only ever used my doTERRA peppermint oil. Hopefully you’ve already picked off the worms. Vine borers usually lay eggs at the base of the stem, and not on flowers. I hope that helps. Good luck!

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