"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Friday, 30 March 2012

I'll try this...

I have Googled what to do about the ant problem we have on the farm.

I, preferably, do not want to kill the ants, as I believe that they are part of the necessary eco-system.  But they cannot continue to create the havoc that their actions are resulting in.

I can do very well without ants (and the resulting scale) on my corn and lemon trees.
Ants and scale on
my corn plant
I can do even better without their attacks as I enter and try and work in my veggie patch.

I am more than happy to share the 2 Ha of land we occupy together.

But they have to know their boundaries LOL

I have read that Diatomaceous earth works wonders:

 - and that will be my final solution.

So - before I take that step, the other solution I found on the Net is to sprinkle coffee grounds where you want to deter critters - ants, snails and slugs do not like crossing a surface sprinkled with coffee grounds, and ants do not appreciate the caffeine and aroma of the coffee LOL  Apparently coffee grounds in the ground will also deter carrot fly :)  and add nitrogen to the soil. I will also be adding some lime to the coffee grounds to counteract the acidity.

All well and good - but for heavens sake - how much coffee can RMan drink in a year?  Not enough.  Not nearly enough.

But, you know who would go through that quantity?  A local restaurant :) Hey, Hey, Hey!  And I'll be preventing those coffee grounds from going to landfill!

So, on Wednesday, I toddled off to the closest restaurant and in my most polite, pleading and persuasive voice, asked them if they would be prepared to "store" their used coffee grounds for me and I would collect them in a weeks' time.

"What!  A week?" D, the owner replied.

I trembled.  "I guess I could come every day", I replied quickly, tentatively excited that he was even considering it, and eager not to upset him and jeopardize my chances.

"How about right now?" was the response?  "I have 7 crates full!"

Oh! Boy!  I hit jackpot!
Used coffee grounds - just sitting in their
crates and waiting for me to request them :)
H-e-a-v-y crates - at 15-odd kgs each they were too heavy for me to lift into the back of RMan's car, so D got his workers to help.  
Dried 1-cup portions of coffee grounds
Naturally, I enthusiastically got busy with the contents of one crate - sprinkling it round my newly emerging broad (fava) beans, peas, lettuce, beetroot and garlic seedlings.  That should hopefully sort out the snail / slug problem I have in my town garden :)
Broad bean protection
Pea seedling protection
The contents of the balance of the crates have all been transferred into bags and loaded into the trailer. Now - all I have to do is get to the farm on the Easter weekend, enter the shadecloth tunnel veggie patch and start sprinkling! And ditto action for the soil around my lemon trees.

Ants (scale, snails and slugs) be gone!

Whoop! Whoop!  I hope it works!  If it doesn't - ah, well, it'll add something extra to the soil.

As always, I'll let you know the outcome :)

A final word - apparently coffee grounds mixed with water make a wonderful wood stain.  We're going to try and mix it with raw linseed oil instead - and then strain and use it to preserve our wood...


Sue said...

I sure hope that does the trick. I know here in the states, a lot of gardeners get their grounds from the coffeehouses. Glad you were able to get some.I put them on my blueberry patch--they love the acid.

Mrs. Mac said...

pulverized egg shells help deter slugs. if the ants are 'milking aphids' then perhaps getting some ladybugs would help take care of the aphids .. giving the ants little food.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Brilliant! What a gold mine :)

1st Man said...

Wow, coffee grounds jackpot! Please keep us posted on how it works, I'd love to find something 'natural' like that to use as well.

Dani said...

Sue - I didn't know that blueberries are acid loving - thanks :)

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - I tried egg shells - the snails weren't bothered...

Dani said...

Tanya - Oh, it was! LOL

Dani said...

1st Man - I will - stay tuned - I have news........... LOL

Leigh said...

Dani, LOL at least he was willing! What a haul of coffee grounds. I'm actually going to be feeding mine to our compost worms (when we get them). I will really be interested in how this works for you though. We have fire ants that are a nuisance, and then there's the ants that herd the aphids (particularly annoying).

Dani said...

Leigh - Yup - he certainly came through for me with his coffee grounds :)

Watch this space - I do have half a report back early next week :)

garden girl said...

As you know it takes a few years to get nature back in to balance after years of abuse. Great find on the coffee beans tho' - can't wait for the update.

Dani said...

GG - Yes I know - and our land was completely overgrazed, so it's no wonder that it's helter skelter.

I will report back - I promise :)