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Ants in our Organic Garden

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normalheightsfoodie Jul 13, 2009 01:07 PM

I am the Chair of our Community Garden in San Diego. Many of our plots that have chard is being attacked by ants. Does anyone have an organic suggestion to rid the garden of ants?

Thanks

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  1. m
    mudster RE: normalheightsfoodie Jul 13, 2009 04:08 PM

    There's no reason that I can think of why ants would go for chard. More likely, the chard has an aphid infestation, and that's what's drawing the ants. (The ants feed on the sugary "honeydew" that the aphids secrete.)

    Check for aphids. If (when) you find them, go after them with a garlic or soap spray. Apply daily until they're gone.

    1. w
      weezycom RE: normalheightsfoodie Jul 14, 2009 11:07 AM

      Agreed that the ants, themselves, aren't feeding on the chard.

      When ants are the problem, they can be eliminated by a bait trap set with Ant Terro or their multi-insect "green" bait made with boron. The ants take it back to the colony and it eventually kills the colony off. However, most species of ants cure more problems than they cause and I would avoid trying to eradicate them.

      3 Replies
      1. re: weezycom
        n
        normalheightsfoodie RE: weezycom Jul 14, 2009 11:57 AM

        Is the boron organic. The added problem is that the gardeners cant take the chard home because they are covered in ants, the ants will get all over the cars and kitchens in transport.

        Thanks for the advice.

        1. re: normalheightsfoodie
          m
          mudster RE: normalheightsfoodie Jul 14, 2009 01:41 PM

          Boron is "organic" in that it's natural, but it's also pretty toxic. That's why it's used to kill bugs!

          I agree with weezycom that you shouldn't try to get *rid* of the ants. If the problem is in transport, repeatedly dunking a bunch of chard in a bucket full of water would help immensely. Maybe keep a communal bucket in your garden that all gardeners can access?

          1. re: normalheightsfoodie
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            Shazam RE: normalheightsfoodie Jul 17, 2009 10:02 PM

            Lead's organic. Doesn't mean it's safe.

            As with many elements, many plants and animals require a small amount of boron to live; too much kills.

            Ants don't eat chard. If you have aphids, try blasting them off with water. You'll need to do this repeatedly.

            But the real answer is, if you want to go organic, stop expecting your food to look like the stuff at the grocery store.

        2. r
          r_l_kakos RE: normalheightsfoodie Jul 14, 2009 01:41 PM

          Whether the ants are going for chard or the aphids, a good way to get rid of them is Boric acid (as one poster said) or Diatomaceous (sp?) Earth, aka DE. Both of these are organic, but one should be careful not to breathe either one in. Skin contact is usually ok. You sprinkle it on the earth where their trail is, and basically it dries out the little ant bodies. It doesn't get rid of the nest though, so if you want that, I guess you would have to go with something else. We have ants (in our kitchen, so I was afraid to use some chemical), and so far this has helped us.

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