The Use of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) in Gardening
Hydrogen Peroxide is a popular product. You use it when you have wounds and bruises. You know the antiseptic capability of this supply. Many identify its use as personal care. Everyone is familiar with it. Almost all homes have it.
When done using it for the said purposes, you discard it or set it aside. You might think that it is limited to those things. You will be surprised to know that it has more uses than that. Moreso if you are a gardener.
Gardening is a fun and fulfilling task until all sorts of problems come infecting your plants. In this article, you will learn a lot of the things you can use hydrogen peroxide for, especially in making your garden thrive. Read on and be amazed.
Almost like water but not quite
When you look at the chemical composition of hydrogen peroxide, it is H2O2. When this breaks down, it produces a molecule of water and an oxygen atom. When you use it in plants, it is like adding more water and air to it.
The extra oxygen composition of H2O2 makes it potent against many organisms that cannot withstand it. Fungi, algae, nematodes, and bacteria are among those we find in the garden that is opposed to oxygen. When you wash down the soil with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide, these invaders will be eradicated.
Safety precautions necessary for the use of hydrogen peroxide
In general, hydrogen peroxide is safe. You use it directly on wounds without trouble. However, this is not to say that it cannot endanger you or your plants if used in gardening.
Just like with all the chemicals that you handle, the rule is to use it with care. Always stay on the safe side. The thing that you need to understand is this: materials with an extra oxygen atom can be easily combustible. Therefore, do not heat, boil, nor leave it exposed to high temperatures. Find a good storage place. A cool and dark place will be ideal.
Moreover, you need to wear hand gloves when using hydrogen peroxide solution in your garden. It is because this can be highly corrosive when in contact with the skin for a long time. If it is just a minute or two in high dilution, it is not a problem. It is best to be safe. Use extra hand protection to be sure.
You should also ensure that you put it in the right material when using it. Most spray bottles would work. Although the container it comes with when you bought it is best. Finally, keep the solution or whatever is left of what you used, away from kids. It can cause serious trouble when ingested.
Using hydrogen peroxide in the garden
You know it as a common household necessity. You already know how to handle it with care. Now you also understand its composition and the reasons why it can be helpful to use on your plants.
What follows are the things you can do with hydrogen peroxide in gardening. You will be amazed at how useful it is in many activities that you do around your plants.
As a disinfectant
Oftentimes, the origin of the bacteria, virus, and other harmful organisms in your garden, is the unsanitized tools you are using. Sadly, you may not even realize it. When you use an infected tool, you will likely transfer the infection to the new ones you are working on.
This is why you have to make it a habit to sanitize your tools, the pots that you repeatedly use, and all the surfaces around your greenhouse. Doing this minimizes the risk of infection to the new crops.
Using hydrogen peroxide for disinfection is very potent. Buy the 6% to 9% solution if you are dealing with fungi, viruses, and bacteria. For the bigger tools, dilute the whole bunch in a bucket of water and soak the metalheads. However, if you want a deeper cleaning, use a rag, and wipe off the tools with undiluted peroxide. You have to be extra careful as this has a relatively high concentration. Wear gloves for protection.
The walls of the greenhouse and the hard surfaces may require higher concentrates to work on mildews and molds. A 10% solution would do for this job. Again, be careful in handling the chemical and take all precautionary measures.
For eradicating weeds
Weeds are not welcome in the garden. It can cause harm to your plants. It does not look good anywhere. Using a 10% H2O2 solution can help you out with this problem.
The high concentration of hydrogen peroxide will ensure the eradication of weeds. It can also eliminate mosses if they are present. All you have to do is pour the contents of the bottle directly on the surfaces that grow weeds. Timing is key for this activity. For best results, do it when the sun is not yet up, like early morning or at night.
Sterilization of growing mediums
A growing medium is used to propagate seeds. Many gardeners overlook the importance of ensuring that there is no presence of harmful elements (nematodes, fungi, etc.) in it before planting.
Prevention is better than cure, so it is best to sterilize before anything else. Using hydrogen peroxide is a cheaper alternative in doing so. All you need to do is soak your soil or sand in a 3% to 6% hydrogen peroxide solution overnight. Transfer it to an airtight container for the best effect. Turn it over now and then to make sure that all the substances are equally drenched.
For sanitizing seeds in preparation for germination
Since you already sanitized the growing medium, better do it with the seeds as well. Is this necessary? If you do not like contaminated seeds in your garden, then, yes. Pathogens can kill your plants. Wash them off with 3 percent concentrated hydrogen peroxide.
This act is quite tricky, so be careful. Heat the solution just a bit and then soak the seeds for 5 minutes. Once done, rinse off the peroxide using clean running water. Do this for approximately a minute. This ensures that your seeds are healthy and are ready for planting.
Hastening germination process
By sanitizing the seeds with hydrogen peroxide, you gave it a headstart in sprouting. This is because germination gets faster due to oxygen. H2O2 has that extra molecule that enhances the growth.
Once sown in your sanitized growing medium, make a solution of hp and water. Add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every cup of water. Administer this watered-down mixture for a week to aid boost the growth and development of the seed.
For strengthening the root system
The reason why most plants do not develop properly is that the growth of the roots is hindered. Compacted soil is the usual culprit for this. A hydrogen peroxide solution can help introduce more oxygen to the soil. It helps in providing more “breathing” space for the roots to develop. To do this, combine 3% peroxide to a cup of water. You may follow this 1:1 ratio to make a larger batch.
Pour out this solution on the root system of mature plants. This is so effective that even clay soil will make room for more oxygen because of it. Just take note that it must only be done once a week.
For fighting against plant fungi
If you have issues with fungi or mildew infesting your plants, a hydrogen peroxide spray is what you need. Again, use 1:1, 3% hp solution because too high a concentration may harm the tissue of the plants.
Carefully examine your plants and their surrounding soil. Do you see powdery mildew? At the slightest sign, try applying the solution to a small area. This will help the sensitivity test.
If you see no negative reactions, continue applying throughout the affected areas. You do not have to do this often. Only when there are signs of infections should this be done.
Treat and prevent rots due to bacteria
Bacteria infects plants for many reasons. No matter what it is, you can fight it off by using an H2O2 spray. Bacteria cannot live in a highly oxygenated environment. Thus, this solution administered against it will eradicate it in no time.
Apply the solution every time you see danger signs in your plant, like limping or poor leaf system. You may also perform preventive maintenance with bulbs and tubers for wintertime storage using this solution.
As water treatment for your hydroponics and aquaponics setup
A hydrogen peroxide solution administered in the proper amount can help improve the quality of the water used in hydroponics and even in aquaponics. It can address a lot of issues, including root rot. This condition is rampant in these activities.
You do not have to worry about the safety of the fish or the plants. Since hydrogen peroxide is basically just water and oxygen, in diluted form, it is perfectly safe. It is even cheaper than many commercial alternatives.
As insects and pests eliminator
The Moths, aphids, and many other varieties of pests and their eggs are sensitive to the chemicals present in hydrogen peroxide.
Spray the solution to the infected area but with gentleness. You do not like stressing your plants as well when you kill the pests. Check the formulation that you will use, as highly concentrated H2O2 sprays may also damage your plants.
The proper administration
Remember the adage, everything in excess is bad? The same thing applies to the use of hydrogen peroxide solutions. Thus, you have to use it properly and at the right frequency to achieve optimal results.
The rule of thumb is this: for mild treatments such as pest control, soil aeration, root rots, or seed germination, use a small amount composed of a 3% solution with a cup of water. Always try on a small portion first before going all-out to prevent a catastrophe.
If you are going to use it to address more serious problems and cover a wider area, you can adjust the concentration gradually. You may start at 6% all the way to 10%. This way, you can carefully gauge the effects on your garden.
What to keep in mind
You see from the things mentioned above how useful hydrogen peroxide is in keeping your garden healthy and thriving. This is really a gardener’s miracle ally, as it addresses many issues. Not only that, but it is also very economical and very accessible.
Then again, always remember that safety is the highest priority. Hydrogen peroxide is safe most of the time but still be careful. Wear proper gloves, store in the right containers, do not overexpose, and keep out of children’s reach.
Just keep these things in mind. Once you get used to it, you might never want to use commercial products anymore. Your hydrogen peroxide is all you need to do the work for you.