Homemade Garden Bug Spray With Essential Oils

I have a medically complex son, with special needs.  My garden is full of plants that will go to make his blenderized diet.  Because of this, I don’t want to have to use chemical sprays to control the bug population in my garden.  As a result, I’ve tried pretty much everything, and finally have found a winner with my Homemade Garden Bug Spray.

What Didn’t Work In My Garden

I started out using a simple diluted blue dish soap recipe. It didn’t do much of anything. Scratch that one off the list.

Next, I went to Neem oil. What nobody tells you about Neem oil is that it stinks to high heavens. I’m talking a stomach turning stench that stinks to the inside of your nostrils even after you’ve taken a shower. Blech. While Neem does indeed work, even on squash bugs, I just couldn’t handle the smell.

Homemade Garden Bug Spray

A New Take On An Old Recipe

I have found variations of this recipe all over the internet, using fresh mint leaves and peppers.   Unfortunately,  I don’t always have fresh mint leaves and pepper on hand. However, I do ALWAYS have peppermint essential oil on hand.   While the actual ingredients used are important, the amounts of those ingredients can be increased or decreased depending on your garden’s needs.

How This Recipe Works

This natural bug spray works because of it’s spicy scent. It deters bugs by making the plant leaves something they don’t want to eat. Also, if they rub up against it, it can kill them.

Homemade Garden Bug Spray With Essential Oils Ingredients For LARGE Gardens

*this list contains affiliate links

Separate the cloves and peel 2 LARGE HEADS of Garlic.   Not those little measly things.

1 Tablespoon Dried Cayenne Pepper

16 Cups Water (1 Gallon)

2 Squirts Biodegradable Dish Soap *this post contain affiliate links

Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil  *To Be Added Just Before You Use The Homemade Garden Bug Spray With Essential Oils

Pro Tip:  My FAVORITE essential oils are Young Living Essential Oils.  Here is how to order Young Living Essential Oils.

The Method

Mince the garlic. Add garlic and red pepper to water and simmer. Remove from heat and allow to sit over night. Strain out the dried cayenne pepper and garlic, and add 2 squirts of dish soap. Pour into 1 Gallon Container.

I wait to add the peppermint essential oil until right before I go to use the spray. You can put this mixture into a clean *this post contains affiliate links gallon sprayer if you’ll be using it all in the same day or so.

Adding The Peppermint Essential Oil

I use 1 drop of Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil for every 2 ounces of the garlic/dish soap/pepper liquid. So, for a gallon of the liquid, that would be 64 drops.

However, my garden isn’t big enough to need an entire gallon of homemade garden bug spray. So I usually only make about 1/4 of this recipe at a time. Here’s what that looks like.

Backyard Garden

Recipe For Homemade Garden Bug Spray With Essential Oils For Smaller Gardens

1/2 of a LARGE head of garlic, pealed and crushed.
1.5  Teaspoons Dried Cayenne Pepper
4 Cups Water
1 Squirt Dish Soap
16 drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil added right before you use this bug spray.

Pour mixture into a *this post contains affiliate links glass spray bottle, which is what I use,  or another hand sprayer.

As you can see this isn’t a recipe that depends on exact measurements.  You will need to shake the bottle well, and several times in between use.

A Few Cautions

TEST THIS SPRAY OUT ON A FEW PLANT LEAVES BEFORE YOU SPRAY IT ON YOUR ENTIRE GARDEN.  While this is a perfectly safe recipe, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of a spot check.  Spray a few plant leaves, wait a day, and check those leaves out before you spray your entire garden.

This is actually a pepper spray. Don’t get it in your eyes or on your skin. Wearing protective gear is a good thing.

Don’t spray right before a rain storm or during windy weather. Don’t overhead water right after you spray, either. This spray WILL wash off and you’ll need to reapply it.

Make sure you spray the underside and tops of the leaves. Most bugs, and their eggs, hang out under the leaves. Don’t spray the flowers. You don’t want the bees getting into this stuff.

So, what do you use to keep garden pests from devouring your garden?  Let me know in the comments!

Looking For More DIY Essential Oil Recipes?

Homemade DIY Gardeners Soap With Essential Oils

Simple DIY Facial Toner With Essential Oils

DIY Manuka Honey Recipe For Preppers

Embossed Soap Making Tutorial

Lavender Charcoal Soap DIY Homemade Soap Recipe

How To Oder Young Living Essential Oils

Beginning Backyard Vegetable Gardens

Beginning backyard vegetable gardens are gaining popularity.   The benefits of vegetable gardening go way beyond simply saving money.  Let’s face it, there is nothing like the taste of a homegrown tomato.  Here’s a guide to getting your backyard garden growing.

 Beginning Backyard Vegetable Gardens

 

What Is Your Growing Zone?

This is an important one.  Your Growing Zone lets you know what you can plant, and when the best time to plant it is.  For example, while I would love to plant an avocado tree in my back yard, my growing zone lets me know that isn’t the best idea.

Look up and learn about YOUR growing zone!

 What To Plant In Beginning Backyard Vegetable Gardens

When deciding what to plant in beginning backyard vegetable gardens, it’s best to start small.  You can always increase what you grow next year, when you have a bit of experience under your belt.

First, look at what your family eats.  Remember that plants like cucumber, tomato, squash and others produce all year long.  While carrots, radishes, and corn only provide a single harvest.

Pro Tip:  Did you know that in order to grow all of the vegetables you family would need for a year, you would need to grow about 450 pounds of veggies per person.  Not ready grow that much in your beginning backyard vegetable gardens?  You may be interested in stocking your pantry with some freeze dried fruits and veggies.  We’ll show you how you can order Thrive Freeze Dried Food!

blackberries in beginning backyard gardens

What Type Of Gardening Works The Best?

There are several gardening techniques to choose from. Here’s a quick review of the most popular choices.

Container Gardening

Depending on the size of your family and what you have chosen to grow, a container garden might be your best idea.  There are even specific plants at the nursery geared specifically for container gardening.  Bonus!  You don’t even need a yard for a container garden.  A patio or balcony will work too.

PRO TIP:  Want to learn more about Container Gardening?  I highly recommend The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible by Edward Smith.  This book, plus his The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible are must haves in my humble opinion.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

Raised vegetable gardens makes gardening easier.  Especially for more (ahem) mature gardeners of those with bad backs.

Does your backyard have poor soil?  Raised gardens could be your answer.   This is the situation we found ourselves in after building our current home.  Dig an inch down in our backyard and you hit solid rock.

Using cinder block ‘seconds’ my husband built a raised garden bed that we then filled with a few loads of good soil and a bunch of organic matter.

Smaller raised gardens won’t require tilling.  However, due to the size of ours, we still till.

PRO TIP:  Thinking of building your own raised beds?  Raised Bed Revolution has all the details you’ll need!

 

Beginning Backyard Vegetable Gardens

Traditional Gardening

Many still choose to garden by removing the top grass from our chosen garden spaces, and then tilling and amending the soil before planting.  My Dad grew up in an orphanage where if they didn’t grow it, they didn’t eat it.  This is still his preferred means of gardening.  It works for him as he has 6 acres to spread out on.

Pro Tip:  Regardless of which gardening method you choose, you will want to understand the quality of your soil.  Once you know more about your soil, you’ll know what amendments it might need. *this post contains affiliate links  A soil testing kit can provide you with this important information.

Lasagna Or No Till Gardening Method

This method works for both raised garden beds or gardening directly on the ground.  Bonus!  No tilling……ever!

With this method you kill off the grass and weed seeds by using thick layers of cardboard or newspaper directly on the ground. Personally, I’d lay down a sweet layer of Visqueen under the cardboard to help keep those weeds from sprouting and growing up through your bed.

Next, you build your garden up by adding alternating layers of peat, topsoil, aged manure, mulch, grass and yard clippings. Before you know it, you’ve got a nutrient rich soil to plant in.

PRO TIP:  I love the Lasagna Gardening book by Patricia Lanza.  I think you will too.

Beginning Backyard Vegetable Gardens

Where Will Your Garden Grow?

The location of your garden will be very important to it’s success.  Here are some things to consider.

Drainage You want your garden in a part of your backyard that drains well. If drainage is a concern, you will want to think about raised gardening rather than gardening directly in the ground.

Sunlight Vegetables and most herbs require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Take the time to see how much sun each section of your yard gets during the summer.

Water I remember watching an episode of Little House On The Prairie where Laura had to carry bucket after bucket of water to her newly planted apple trees in the blazing sun of summer.

You won’t have to worry about lugging water to your beginning backyard vegetable gardens if you choose a spot that is close to a convenient source of water.

Direct Sowing Or Ready Made?

Congratulations!  You’ve picked your spot, and created your plot!  Now it’s time to get planting!   But….should you plant seeds or go to the nursery and buy plants.  Well, this is a bit of a personal decision, but I’ll share what I do.

Beginning Backyard Vegetable Garden Peas

I direct sow the following:

Vegetables  squash, broccoli, beans, leafy greens, melons, peas, onions (from onion sets), and beets and other root vegetables.

Herbs  cilantro, parsley, basil, and chives.  The nursery is my friend when it comes to herbs.

I purchase ready made for my tomatoes and peppers.  If you would rather not go to the nursery here’s more information on Starting Seeds Indoors  and Starting Seeds Indoors: Germination.

Where To Find The Best Seeds

Wondering where to find the best seeds? Just because I love you guys so much, I’m sharing my Favorite Garden Seed Sources! *muwah*

Here’s the thing.  Gardening is truly on of those learn as you go activities.  Do something that kills  off all of your cucumbers this year?   Well, I bet you won’t do that again next year, now will you?  heh.

Go.  Have fun.  Take notes on what works and what doesn’t.  And feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

Easy Homemade Nut Milk Recipe

Commercial almond  milk has become a mainstay on grocery store shelves.  While  I bought it for a while, once you start making your own, you never go back.  Homemade nut milk doesn’t come with unnecessary additives known to mess with your gut.  Plus, making your own nut milk allows you to add your own choice of sweeteners if desired.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Easy Homemade Nut Milk Recipe

How Hard Is It To Make Nut Milk?

Homemade nut milk is super quick and easy.  It can also be a bit messy, but, that’s the price of this homemade goodness.

Soaking Your Nuts

Soak your nuts overnight the day before you want to make nut milk.  Soaking does a few things, including making it easier to blend the nuts and reducing the level of phytates – the plant enzyme inhibitor that stops the nuts sprouting without water, soil or sunlight.  Soaking nuts is sometimes called ‘activating nuts’ and makes them easier to digest too.

Pro Tip:  Storing your nuts in wide mouth mason jars that have been vacuum sealed with a Food Saver will keep them fresh for years.

Nut Bag for making Homemade Nut Milk

Straining Your Nut Milk

Strain your nut milk with a *this post contains affiliate links nut milk bag or cheese cloth.  I prefer a nut milk bag as I can toss it into the washing machine and reuse it for years.

If you are making cashew or pistachio milks, you won’t even need to strain them.  These milks can blend until completely smooth.

Sweeten Your Nut Milk

Another great thing about making your own nut milk is that you can choose your own sweetener, or leave it plain.  I love to use crushed vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste, dates, vanilla powder, raw honey, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup.

Equipment and nuts for making homemade nut butter.

Nut To Water Ratio for Homemade Nut Milk

Because you are making your own, you can choose how rich you would like your nut milk to be.  If you are making smoothies, wanting less calories or wanting to stretch your dollar use less nuts and more water.  If you are using your milk for coffee or ice cream, use less water and more milk.

Homemade Nut Milk Recipe

I use this recipe for almond, hazelnut, cashew, pistachio, and walnut milk.

1 Cup nuts of choice
4 Cups water

Drain and rinse the nuts you have been soaking.  Place well rinsed nuts into a high speed blender with 4 cups of water.  Blend them until they create a creamy milk.  I have a Vitamix and I go for about 2 minutes.  If you have a less powerful blender, you’ll need to blend longer.

Over a bowl, or large 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup, strain the contents of the blender through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth.  Also,  you could even use a leg from an old (but clean) pair of nylon stockings.  Then, using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

Return the liquid (milk) back to your blender after having rinsed the blender clean.  Finally, add the sweetner of your choice, blend again until combined.

Pro Tip: Want to take your nut milk recipe to a higher standard?  I love Melissa King’s book DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters and More:  From Almonds to Walnuts.   Melissa shares yummy recipes that can’t be found anywhere else!  Check it out.  I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

What To Do With The Nut Pulp?

Take the nut pulp left in your milk bag and use it to make homemade hummus, dips or nut cheese.  You can spread out the nut pulp onto a parchment lined baking sheet and dry it in a 222 degree oven for 2 hours or until completely dry.  Use the dried nut pulp in oatmeal, granola or in baking.  Or, you can freeze the nut pulp for later use.

What do you make rather than buy from the grocery store to save money?   Have you even made homemade nut milk?

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread Recipe

I love that Red Lobster cheese biscuit that makes you sigh with delight each bite you take.  I wanted to make them at home, but I didn’t want to go to the work of making individual biscuits.  Instead, I decided to try this recipe for  Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread.  Baking this copycat bread in a loaf pan means less hands on time in the kitchen, and that makes this busy Mama happy.

Tools Of The Trade


*this post contains affiliate links

The loaf pan you choose for making Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread is important. If your pan is too thin you will wind up with a crust that is burnt. I discovered this the hard way, unfortunately.   Therefore,  you want a heavy weight pan that will allow your loaf to cook evenly.  After a bit of research, I found these *this post contains affiliate links USA 1 1/4 Pound Loaf Pans, and promptly fell in love.

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread

Ingredients for Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread

*this recipe makes one loaf
3 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
4 Ounces Cheddar Cheese Cut In 1/2 Inch Cubes
1 1/4 Cups Milk
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
3 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
1 Egg, Lightly Beaten

Bread Making Technique for Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread

*Heat oven to 350.

*Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with oil.

*In a bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients.

*Carefully stir in cheese cubes until covered in flour mixture. This will help prevent your cheese sinking to the bottom of your loaf of bread.

*In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

*Fold the wet mixture into the flour and cheese mixture.

*Stir until just combined. Because the dough is thick, I like to use a large wooden spoon to do my stirring with.  Do not over stir. Your masterpiece will turn out like a giant hockey puck.

*Pour and spread the mixture into your  bread loaf pan.

* Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Allow to cool for one hour before slicing and serving.

*Sigh with delight.

So, the next time those cheddar bay biscuits are calling your name, remember this made from scratch, super easy recipe!

Helpful Hint: Like this Red Lobster Cheese Biscuit Bread so much you want to add it to your regular bread making rotation?  Use our Family Food Storage Plan to figure out how much of each ingredient you’ll need to store to make this recipe part of your 3 Month Food Storage Plan!

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