Of all of the garden pests I get questions about, ants are the most common by a large margin. It may be because they are one of the most persistent pests both indoors and out, and when it comes to the garden the conditions are perfect for ants to take up homestead. Loose earth is the perfect home base for an ant colony as it makes easy work of setting up the intricate maze of tunnels they call home. While you can’t do anything about the soil conditions without sacrificing your garden, there are steps that can be taken to get rid of ants and keep them at bay.
Coffee grounds are one of the best remedies for ants in the garden. Not only are coffee grounds effective as a deterrent, they are plentiful and readily available in most households, making them a free option. If you don’t drink the stuff, a quick stop at your local coffee house will usually yield a big bag of coffee grounds that can be used in compost in addition to its usefulness to keep the ants away. To use, sprinkle moist grounds anywhere you see ants present and then form a perimeter around the area with a band of grounds. Depending on climate and conditions, the grounds will last for a couple of weeks. They can be reapplied as needed, but don’t add too much over a long period around your plants as fresh coffee grounds will deplete the all-important nitrogen from the soil.
Diatomaceous Earth can also be used safely where ants are present. It works by breaking down the hard outer shell that protects the ants, making them susceptible to dehydration. Diatomaceous earth is effective against many garden pests as well.