From the January 2003 Idaho Observer:

Gardening with Hydrogen Peroxide

by Bill Munro

This will be the most phenomenal article you will ever read. It deals with something as simple as H2O2 (peroxide) which, when used appropriately, is benficial to all good things.

I have been gardening for about 40 years and was wondering why bad bugs had to have a very specific pesticide to control them. I had been inhaling peroxide for aches, pains and allergies and it seemed to control all of them (The Idaho Observer, Dec. 12, 2002). Not having any source to go to for the information on how to use peroxide in the garden, I decided on the trial and error method -- a method I am comfortable with having used it successfully most of my 78 years.

The beauty supply store would have the peroxide that I needed. The 40 percent peroxide cost about $2.50 a quart. I bought the least expensive they had because I did not need any additives. Having no knowledge of what strength to use, I used 8 percent for my plants. They did not die so that is the strength I have used ever since.

If you have a small garden you will need a hand squeeze sprayer. A little peroxide goes a long way. My lot is about 100 X 85 and I use a six-gallon sprayer. I have it mounted on a 2-wheel handcart. The peroxide comes in several strengths, so the strength you start out with is not that important as long as the final strength is 8 percent. Peroxide should be kept out of the sun.

When you plant seedlings dig the hole and spray it with peroxide using your hand sprayer. Wet it good and then wet the roots of the seedlings or small plant.

I don't use any commercial fertilizers. I have my own well so I have none of those chemicals the government uses in their water. When I prune the fruit trees, I put the trimmings in the chipper and add all the ashes from my wood burner and then till them into the garden in the fall. My garden is composting all year long. The grass clippings are used for the walkways between plants. I started out with clay, now the soil is black and soft.

Corn was the first plant that I used peroxide on. I marked two rows off and every 12 inches made a hole about 2” or 3” deep. I put one kernel in each hole then poured about one- third cup of 8 percent peroxide in each hole and covered them up. In 5 to 6 days the sprouts came up. Fourteen days later I repeated the process without the peroxide. The untreated kernels sprouted in 12 to 14 days. Fourteen days later I repeated the first experiment with the peroxide and they came up in 5 to 6 days again. As the corn matured the untreated plants did not grow as well as the ones with peroxide. I have noticed that the birds do not attack the ears of corn any more, and I assume it is because there are no worms in them. Birds can fly over the corn and know there are no worms in it. Do they have a sense that man does not have?

Acorn squash was next. They were planted without peroxide. After 3 or 4 leaves formed the bugs made filigree of the leaves. One new leaf was untouched. I sprayed the plants with peroxide and as time went by the plants sprouted new leaves. They produced several squash. I sprayed the plants after every rain. I planted turnips with no peroxide and the bugs overtook them. I wet them down with peroxide and that stopped the bugs.

I planted radishes and they grew bigger than golf balls and had a mild and firm taste. I will be planting radishes and carrots this year. Last year the turnips grew 6” to 8” in diameter and were mild when cooked.

The next year I decided to try soaking the seeds before I planted them. I soaked them for three or four hours just before I planted them. The only seeds that did not survive the soaking were the navy beans. They just slipped out of their skins.

The potatoes have been interesting. The first year I planted potatoes I planted them without soaking them but sprayed them after they came up. I wet them down (not soaking) after they were 6 or 8 inches tall. Then about three weeks later I just sprayed a mist over them. They had some very small holes in them but they produced good potatoes. The next year I soaked them before planting and misted them when they came up. Last year I had several self-sow potatoes. I transplanted them but used no peroxide on them. I have had self-sow squash that came from plants that were peroxide grown and they were bug free without using peroxide.

In 2002 I used one ounce of 40% peroxide per gallon. Just about every thing that was green was sprayed and the results were a big surprise to my wife and me. We had no mosquitoes or any other flying bugs in our yard. There were a few ladybugs but they were few and far between. I don't think the peroxide had any thing to do with the ladybugs directly. However, the lack of bugs for them to eat would be my guess why there were so few.

The vegetable that has given me the most problems was cabbage. I was determined to conquer the cabbageworm. Years ago I sprayed the cabbage plants with peroxide to no avail. This year I soaked the cabbage seeds before planting them. There were no signs of the bug until the cabbage plants were almost full grown, then I poured about a quarter of cup of 8 percent peroxide over the cabbage, letting it flow down into the layers of the leaves. That stopped the cabbage bugs.

This year I will use hydrogen peroxide more freely on every thing that is alive and green in my yard and garden.

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