The Urban Farmer, Issue #043 *  Hydrogen Peroxide * Controlling Aphids

December, 2011: 


"After all, Eden was garden... the garden is a place to go for quiet contemplation, a source not only of food but also of spiritual renewal and intimate contact with life's most basic processes." 
  ~ Ed Smith,
      The Vegetable Gardener's Bible

Hydrogen Peroxide: Cheap and Versatile

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a water molecule with an extra atom of Oxygen attached. This extra Oxygen atom is quite easily detached from the water molecule and eagerly combines with any suitable substance that has the room for it. For example it will attack organic blood cells.

Any drugstore offers 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for human use. This liquid is good for treating minor cuts and scrapes etc. It is also used for softening ear wax. It works by oxidising the chemical parts that are presenting as having a free space for the Oxygen atom.

When (H2O2) comes in contact with these "impurities" it will give a reaction which causes it to fizz. This fizzing is the Oxygen atoms coming out of their bond with the water molecules and bubbling out of the solution. As gardeners, we can use this eagerness to break its bond to help keep our plants free from everyday pests, and our nutrient solutions free of anaerobic (bad) bacteria.

In the same way as old organic blood cells are attacked and consumed by the fizzing action of the peroxide, so will any bacteria and small insects be destroyed by a 3% solution. At this strength it is safe for human skin but lethal to most bugs.

Mix up the following for a weekly preventative spray:

In a clean quart empty spray bottle:

* 1/4 cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
* 2 tblsp. of rubbing Alcohol (or Old style mouth wash like Listerine)
* 1/4 tsp. of wetting agent (Dishwashing liquid will do)

Use this mixture as a foliar spray to keep your plants healthy and free from bugs.

Another advantage of the Peroxide breaking down is that it releases free Oxygen into the area. So, if you were to add some to your nutrient tank, the dissolved Oxygen being released around the root system not only kills any bad root material and bacteria, but also oxygenates the roots with the excess Oxygen produced. To treat your nutrient vat, add a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup 3% peroxide to the vat weekly.

Plants can easily cope with a 3% H2O2 solution and because the mixture reduces to water in a short space of time, the dilutions are not that critical. For this reason, it also makes a great disinfectant for plant pots, greenhouses, and grow-rooms.

 A really great advantage is that you do not have to rinse it away after use because it will revert to water on its own.




Plants may look wilted and sickly, and fail to thrive. Leaves may be yellowing. Aphids suck the plant sap in the leaves and can kill the entire plant.

Look closely, and you will find dense colonies of tiny, soft-bodied bugs, usually yellowish. They often collect on the undersides of leaves or the growing tips of the plants. You will also find a sticky honeydew trail they exude, which attracts ants. If you've got ants, look for aphids.

Pick the squishy little (1/32-1/8 inch) aphids off by hand and crush them.


 Lady Bugs, Green Lacewings, gall midges are all good insects which prey on aphids.

Spray repeatedly with Insecticidal Soap;  Neem Oil


Hydro Tip of the Month- Stay on Top!

Want to see the newest, cutting-edge hydroponics equipment and supplies? Visit an Indoor Gardening Expo  near you.


We hope you have enjoyed this issue of The Urban Farmer Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, gardening quote or idea, plus fresh new hydroponics news, techniques & products.

Insiders tips to get you growing...


~Stella and Simon from Hydroponics-Simplified.


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