Sterilizing your potting soil before planting is vital to keep your plants free of gnats and other diseases. It’s also essential to their health and growth. The sterilization process provides a fresh beginning for your plants and aids in controlling your environment more effectively. If you purchase pots or potting mix bags frequently, you’re probably scared of gnats. Fungus gnats nestle eggs in bags of soil and then emerge to terrorize and damage your plants. Bagged soils could contain dangerous microbes, harmful fungus, and other pests and eggs of gnats. Since you cannot observe these things and can’t identify them, what can you do to remove them? Hydrogen peroxide is a soil sterilizer. But most people are unaware that how to sterilize soil with hydrogen peroxide, a fundamental chemical with remarkable results, can be a miraculous garden product.
Hydrogen peroxide is beneficial for all types and phases of gardening. In our article, you will learn about the amount of hydrogen peroxide you need you can add to the soil, when you should be sterilizing soil, and when you shouldn’t. (Read Do You Reuse Potting Soil?) At the end of this guide, you’ll have enough info to be able to sterilize soil using hydrogen peroxide and alternative methods for getting rid of harmful bacteria if you don’t have hydrogen peroxide in your home.
What is hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can describe as a colourless liquid that is commonly employed in household use for cleaning and various other uses. Its formula is water (H2O) along with an additional oxygen molecule. Thus, the formula for it is H2O2. It uses to bleach the skin and as an antiseptic is mildly septic. While hydrogen peroxide can describe as a compound, it finds naturally in raindrops. This is among the reasons why it is beneficial to your plants. You’re probably aware that your garden always appears better after having rain, rather than just drinking water from the tap.
Read more: How to use eggshells in the garden for soil
How to sterilize soil with hydrogen peroxide
It is essential to be aware of properly sterilising soil with hydrogen peroxide. Here are the steps you must follow to sterilize soil with hydrogen peroxide:
The most crucial step to take when treating your soil using hydrogen peroxide is to get the right mixture. The best solution is to add 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide 3% mixture to 1-gallon water.
Remember that you’re treating the soil, and the solution is best applied directly to the soil around the root that your plant is growing. Do it at night after the sunset. Be sure to take your time soaking the plants thoroughly, and let the water rest overnight. Make sure that you apply the hydrogen peroxide and water mix immediately as hydrogen peroxide broke down quite quickly when in water.
How to sterilize soil using chemicals
Chemical sterilization of soil is a method many commercial businesses use because it’s much simpler and cost-effective to use chemicals for sterilization on a massive scale. While different chemicals perform their work differently, the fundamental basis of chemical sterilization is to use chemicals that create gas. When the chemical is used in the soil, the gas it lets off can enter the soil and kill insects, bacteria, and insects to protect the health of plants.
Pros and Cons
There are a variety of advantages and disadvantages of the use of chemicals to sterilize your garden to use for gardening. Many gardeners prefer not to use chemicals to sterilize the soil to preserve organic matter. But, it could be the only feasible option when the goal is to sterilize fields or large quantities of soil. There are additional factors to follow well. The use of chemical sterilization isn’t recommended for greenhouses because the fumes that it releases could harm other plants.
Furthermore, different chemicals can be poisonous to various things, and chemical sterilization will not ensure that your soil is totally inert. All chemical sterilization processes must ensure that you adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines when working with these chemicals. This is because they can be harmful and toxic to animals, microorganisms that they are designed to eliminate. Be sure to follow the safety guidelines and follow the instructions with care!
Here’s an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using an option that uses chemical sterilization.
- It can use on fields and in outdoor gardens
- Generally, less effort
- Potentially risky
- It could cause harm to other plants
- It is not necessary to kill everything
Many factors that can affect your soil’s sterilization using chemicals are based on the chemical you choose to use.
Benefits of using hydrogen peroxide
When used at the correct concentration, there are numerous benefits to sterilizing your soil using hydrogen peroxide. Here are some.
Your soil must be enough aerated for plant roots to develop properly. The tiny air pockets within the soil let oxygen and nutrients flow to your plant’s root. Aeration issues in the soil can also lead to illnesses that could harm your garden. Hydrogen peroxide provides additional oxygen to your soil. This helps your roots become strong and healthy, which can, in turn, allows them to supply the needed nutrients to your plant.
Root rot is a disease that causes root rot that causes plants’ roots to die. This happens more often in soils that are not properly aerated. The soil is flooded because the water isn’t able to go. It is also possible that root rot can be difficult to identify. When you notice any signs of it within the plant, you could already be far too far. The most common sign of root rot on plants is dying branches and yellowing leaves. This is because the roots can’t supply nutrients to plants.
Hydrogen peroxide can disinfect your potting mix as well
Suppose you continue to use the mixing potting mixes. In that case, it recommends that you treat the mix with hydrogen peroxide between uses. This will ensure that any fungal or bacterial spores present in the mix are eradicated. This is also true of compost, which is a source of bugs, fungi, or other insects. You can create a compelling mix using diluting two teaspoons of 30% hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water.
However, if you’re using hydrogen peroxide 3, you can mix 2 and a half cups of it into 5 Gallons of water. This chart provides the most effective solutions for adding hydrogen peroxide in water, whether you’re using a 35% or 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide solution. It generally advises beginning with the safer 3% solution, hydrogen peroxide.
Fights common fungal infections
Hydrogen peroxide effectively treats various common fungus ailments like powdery mildew. This is good news when you love gardening with vegetables like peas, squash, pumpkins, and beans prone to diseases like this.
Kill pests such as aphids and other sap-suckers
Hydrogen peroxide is a more effective method of killing sap-sucking insects like aphids rather than buying store-bought insecticides. It also benefits your plants. A simple one-per cent solution of hydrogen peroxide mixed with water and then sprayed on your plants will be able to do the trick.
Since the chemical substance hydrogen peroxide has, there are some safety guidelines to be aware of.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be a volatile compound that can explode if exposed to excessive heat. Therefore, it’s best to keep it in the dark, an excellent location away from heat and direct sunlight.
- Wear rubber gloves while making your hydrogen peroxide solution to ensure that you don’t get the undiluted solution on the skin.
- Hydrogen peroxide should not be swallowed or inhaled. So, ensure you keep it away from pets and children.
The process of sterilizing your soil using hydrogen peroxide has many advantages. It does not just aerate the soil but also kills fungal and bacterial ailments like root rot. It’s crucial, however, to ensure you’ve got the correct mixture since a too high amount of hydrogen peroxide may harm the plants if it is accidentally spraying on foliage. However, using a weak solution onto the plants may help the plants.
Be aware that it recommends being useless when mixing hydrogen peroxide. If it’s the first time, use the 3% solution and keep the bottle in an air-tight, dark, and cool place far from pets and children. Have you ever used hydrogen peroxide in the garden successfully? Tell us about it in the comments section below.