This is the time of year I watch my roses bloom bigger than my FACE, I smell my gigantic honeysuckle every time I step out my back door, and I get to plant all my seasonal veggies from seed.
So a few weeks ago I went out to the garden to till and get those seeds planted. I noticed a TON of fire ants along the entire line of the above ground garden Adrian built for me last year. They were in between the soil and the wood that surrounds the garden itself...and they were just about as 'happy' to see me as I was to see them. As I was crouched down trying to assess the damage, I felt a far-too familiar burn on the top of my foot. I looked down and saw three ants curled up and chowing down. OUCH!! So then I end up standing there (five feet away) for ten minutes scratching the spots that were stinging, rubbing the top of my foot on the back of the opposite leg, smacking the whelps, and cursing the ants straight to the fiery pits from whence they came.
Of course, I wanted to run straight to the garage and grab the chemical-ridden ant killer that Adrian purchased last Spring. As I stood there scratching, I started to day dream about coming out of the garage in the style of the movie 300 - in slow motion, of course - wielding and waving the open bag of fire ant killer over my head, it spilling all over the place, and every ant coughing, gasping for their last breath, falling on their backs and dramatically dying. I then drop the empty bag to the ground - still in slow motion because that's awesome - put my hands on my (much smaller) hips (it's MY day dream, I can have little hips if I want!), and let out a scream of honor and satisfaction, knowing I had saved my garden - and the world, obviously - from the diabolical evil of the Fire Ant Kingdom.
Back home on earth, I came to and realized I had to do something ELSE. I pride myself on a total organic garden; that includes soil, seeds...everything. I peruse every soil I buy, checking for metals, chemicals, or anything that doesn't match the organic label. (Yes, believe it or not, America, the FDA allows the label even if it's not completely and entirely organic...GASP!) The last thing I wanted to do was sprinkle chemical ant killer on the plants and seeds, and then feed them to my family or ingest them myself! So what the heck was I supposed to do??
(You guessed it. I put it in the "Googla") I Googled for a while, really wanting to compare notes, websites, and suggestions. "Kill the ants in my garden naturally." I decided to try a few of them out. So I put another ant mound I found out back to the test. On it, I put sugar. (I used organic, of course, for testing-purposes). This was supposed to kill them AND make your fruits and vegetables sweeter as they grew. Sounded like a fine side effect to me. They ATTACKED the sugar. Oh, yes, My Pretties...eat, EAT!! This was to take three days. I patiently checked every day, fully expecting the mound to be inactive. It was three times bigger by the third day. Apparently, organic sugar is like steroids for those little boogers.
Next - grits. This was supposed to be carried by the ants down below (to the evil lair that holds the wicked queen) and then literally blow them up because the grits cannot be digested. Sounds like another day dream waiting to happen. So I searched for organic grits. If I purchased regular and any of the grits were left on the soil, then it would be processed yuk growing into my cherished organics. Finally, I found some. Way too expensive to purchase just to sprinkle on ants. So even though I wanted to hang out and watch them blow up, I couldn't justify the pricey purchase.
Third time's a charm! COFFEE GROUNDS. This is the easiest, best, and least expensive way to get rid of those vile creatures - especially if you already drink coffee! I buy the store-brand organic coffee for us to drink so as soon as was done making coffee (we don't have a fancy-schmancy kuerig coffee maker), I let the grounds cool and took them out to the garden. I sprinkled them around the entire perimeter of the garden and then throughout with whatever was left. It didn't even take a lot. Not only did it kill the fire ants (death by caffeine, perhaps?) it acted as a natural growth agent for the veggies! (New compost item!!)
When you have something biting you over and over again - slowly destroying the things that nurture you, and you're tired of the pain and heartache, you must ask yourself what its worth to you. If quick fixes are only addressing the symptoms, it could be poison. Stay at it - naturally, organically. In the end, you'll overcome...and the best part is, you will see the growth in you because of it.