This is a question about my land in general. I live on a small lot and have tried every year to put a small garden in. My plans don't grow very well and when they produce the ants eat the produce before i can get it when it ripens my whole lot is over run with ants. they are in my shed They are in my tools. Anythink left laying on the ground they take over. Is there anything I can do naturally to get this imbalance corrected. I had decided not to even try this year but I love working outside in the dirt. Any suggestions would be appreciated.Even my outside flower pots are full of ants.
Harford County Maryland
If you have poor growth and low yields when growing your vegetables you may be dealing with environmental or cultural factors that checks plant growth. A list of these factors would include: poor soils, improper pH, poorly drained soil, excessive rainfall, etc. Also ants can be attracted to overripe fruit so you will have to harvest at the right time. For instance tomatoes, consider picking them at the blush stage and let them ripen on your kitchen counter.
Take a look at our website for some factors that gardeners have some control of http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/low-yieldsundersize-fruits-vegetables
and growing and harvesting vegetables http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/vegetable-crops
There are many species of ants. Outdoors they are good predators and are beneficial in our landscape aerating the soil and eating pest insects including termites. In general, no control is necessary.
However, if they have large colonies or ant hills in the area, you can sprinkle a generous amount of diatomaceous earth labeled for insect control on and around the colony entrance. Hopefully, you will kill enough of them to cause the rest of the colony to move to another location. The D.E. powder will not harm you or the soil. It will kill other crawling insects until it rains.
Ants in Containers and Shed - Try putting outdoor ant bait stations around the containers and the shed.