SkyKero
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Ants -- new garden

Next weekend (after finals) I will be "lasagnaing" a bit of my yard to make a plant garden -- however...
I have several ant piles -- I have already poured hot water on one of them.. but as I was walking through it today-- i noticed 2 more -- :shock:

How can I kill these pile quickly so that I can get my garden ready? :?

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rainbowgardener
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The boiling water should work just fine, but you already knew that, so I'm not entirely sure what the question is.

Diatomaceous earth works against ants.

SkyKero
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My question

You are right -- I did not express my question correctly :)

the question really was:

What happens if I don't get rid of the ants before I set up the lasagna gardening?/ -- I work and am school and next weekend is all the time I have to get it started before it gets cold.

Does it matter if I wait until later in the season to get the ground ready for spring?

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rainbowgardener
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If I'm understanding right now, maybe there's 2 questions in there: 1) ants are actually fairly harmless in the garden, they do not eat plants, so you could just ignore them, assuming they aren't fire ants or anything dangerous 2) if you are planning to do sheet mulching to help prepare for spring, it's not critical when you do it, especially down there in Georgia where you presumably have quite a bit of warm weather left and won't exactly be hard frozen all winter.

opabinia51
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Well, you don't want to kill all your ants. They are very beneficial for a garden. But, Cinnamon is a good organic way to rid yourself of Ants.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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!potatoes!
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'What happens if I don't get rid of the ants before I set up the lasagna gardening?'

not much. i don't know that i'd worry about it, unless they stick up a couple feet.

Susan W
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Given your location, are you talking Fire Ants? They may not munch you plants, but are nasty on you! If so, if you get rid of them in the alloted space (hot water, chemicals, etc) it is just temporary. If they are fire ants, can you do a raised bed giving some sort of barrier from the yard?
Have fun!
Susan

Rob_NZ
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I've got a problem with ants too, and I'm not yet convinced that they're harmless to plants, although I would be surprised to find that they are. Down here New Zealand is making a pitiful attempt at Spring, so I'm looking at a new crop of Strawberries which I keep finding with very neatly excavated holes in them...and full of ants.

Clearly, they're in there for the sugars, no doubt grateful to the original hole-maker...but you never know, lol. Same story with Radishes. A neat cut, right at soil level, 1 CM wide, horizontal around the Raddish. Full of Ants. Not sure what the buy-in is for Ants with Radishes. I can't accept that Ants are responsible, and suspect mice, but I did wonder for a while.

For your ant problem, and if you don't mind the look of it, the herb Tansy is apparently legendary for repelling Ants. I'm sowing it in trays like it's going of fashion, just in case...just in case...

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rainbowgardener
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ant control

All kinds of things will act as a barrier to ants, your tansy being one:

One category is powdery things that clog up their spiracles (breathing pores), if they try to walk over them. This includes chalk line, baby powder, cleanser powder (like comet), bone meal. Make a ring of powder around what you want to keep them away from and they won't cross it. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) also works as long as it's not cold enough to harden it up so they can walk over it.

Another category is strong smelling things, including vinegar, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, peppermint oil or other mints (tansy falls in here), cloves, garlic. Sprinkle your strong smelling stuff on and around what you want to protect from the ants. (Be careful with the vinegar, don't put it on your plants, it can burn or even kill them, if directly on the plant)

I think you are right that the holes in your plants are likely made by something else. I would guess some kind of insect. Aphids might do that and they secrete a sticky sweet substance ("honeydew") which attracts the ants. Have you checked closely for any insects (besides the ants)?

oldebrowndog
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It seems the consensus on ants is that hey are good if not harmless to the garden. I have raised beds that are full of ants (not fire ants) nearly every bean and cucumber plant has a small ant mound opened up around the stem.

If my plants were thriving, I'd not be too worried but they are just kind of hanging in there not growing very fast. I suspect nematodes but there are so many ants. Any thoughts from anyone?

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