Solv­ing small prob­lems

Seaway News - - EDITORIAL& OPINIONS - Elaine Kennedy

The ants are fil­ing into my house, one by one. Big black ones. The lit­tle red ones were en­ter­ing about a month ago.

Now ants are im­por­tant in the gar­den: they pol­li­nate flow­ers and are needed for Peonies to open. So un­less they are build­ing a big anthill right in the mid­dle of your gar­den, don't kill them.

If you do need to do so, there are a cou­ple of meth­ods that are rea­son­ably safe to use. To kill them in the house, mix 1 ta­ble­spoon of sugar (ic­ing sugar melts eas­i­est) and 1 ta­ble­spoon of Bo­rax with 2 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter to make a thick syrup. Bo­rax can be bought in the laun­dry sec­tion and is good for many things. Soak cot­ton­balls in this mix­ture and place the cot­ton­balls on some­thing flat like a can lid so that ants can get to it. Place them where the ants are mak­ing a trail in your house. The ants will eat and take it back to the nest, killing the nest in­hab­i­tants grad­u­ally. Have pa­tience. Keep out of the reach of chil­dren and an­i­mals.

If you have a big ant hill, pour boil­ing wa­ter on the top. Leave for a few min­utes and then dig the top off and pour boil­ing wa­ter on the next level. Con­tinue to do this un­til the colony is dead. This is faster than the Bo­rax so­lu­tion. But the Bo­rax method is bet­ter for those ants com­ing into your house.

An­other small prob­lem that I am go­ing to tackle are the weeds at the en­trance to my drive­way. Now for those that know me, I have "weeds" all over the place. Most of them are wild­flow­ers, you know that the def­i­ni­tion of a weed is a plant grow­ing where you don't want it.

I have built up the en­trance to my drive­way, but the Chicory is grow­ing through the new gravel. If I had a wa­ter soft­ener, I would use the salt so­lu­tion from it to pour on the weeds. Since I don't, I will make a salt so­lu­tion out of pick­ling salt.

I am plant­ing some as­para­gus roots in an area that had wild­flow­ers. Now they are weeds and I am dig­ging them out. I am not us­ing the salt method be­cause I don't want to poi­son all that soil. How­ever, some of my wild­flow­ers have great root sys­tems. In fact, most na­tive plants have good root sys­tems. The Vir­ginia Water­leaf, Gold­en­rod and Honewort are the main cul­prits. They are all go­ing in the com­post but the vi­o­lets are be­ing trans­planted. Some grasses and sedges need lots of loos­en­ing to get all their roots.

Since my soil is quite rocky, I am re­mov­ing stones and rocks at the same time. My friends think I am a lit­tle crazy with my rocks. I sort them by size and use them in dif­fer­ent places. The small ones fill pot holes in the lane; the medium ones make paths; the large ones edge the paths. Why not? Re­use!

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