Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Battle of the Ants: Round 3 - VICTORY (for now)!!!

At least it is a victory for now! I finally was able to get a few pods off my three okra plants that were planted in early spring!!! Up until now, fire ants have eaten all of the flowers and, if by chance any pods started forming, the new pods too! Since I am opposed to spraying insecticides on my food, I have combed the Internet for any organic solution. I have tried putting baking soda, coffee grounds, cinnamon, and orange oil on the ground around the plants. (Not all at the same time!) I have sprayed the leaves with homemade tomato leaf tea, diluted vinegar, and dish soap! I finally just gave up and accepted that I would have no okra!

The ants started spreading and nesting in the soil in different parts of my garden!!! After several bites on my hands and feet while I was cleaning out a planter box, I decided to pour liquid dish soap directly on the soil and use the "jet" setting on my sprayer to work it in.

The next day the ants were gone from that area! In excitement, I thought about my okra! Would it work there? Would I hurt the roots by pouring soap around them and "jetting" it into the soil? Well the okra was a loss if I did nothing, so I decided it was worth the risk.

My normal planting routine is to cut the bottom out of plastic pots and push them into the soil around the base of many upright plants. This is a way to conserve water and keep the soil from eroding away from the roots. I put a ring of soap inside the pot and used the jet setting to work it into the soil. I also sprayed off the ants that were already on the plants. Now to wait and see.....

It has been a week now and the ants have not returned in force! I have actually harvested some okra!!! Since I love okra, I am quite excited! At least I can claim victory for now!

See Battle of the Ants Rounds 1 and 2.html

The ants eating the blossom!

Generic dish soap.

A healthy blossom!

Okra pods!


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