Ankle Biters

*scratch scratch*

Things are coming along beautifully at the allotment. Broad beans finishing up just as the first sowing of French beans have gone into full swing. I must confess I much prefer French beans and am getting a bit tired of broad beans. I find them rather bland compared to other beans. Maybe I just need to expand my cooking repertoire with them.

French Beans…mmmmm.

*scratch scratch*

Squashes are coming along well too, even picked a few summer squashes. Added into a fantastic Sunday roast on the weekend. Eagerly awaiting the teeny tiny courgettes to grow so I can get started on those as well.

Lovely Patty Pan Squashes

*scratch scratch*

Chopped all the potato foliage down as it was getting terrible blight. The taters themselves have been coming up just fine though, not a massive haul due to a nearly sun-free few months, but perfectly tasty.

Wee potato harvest

*scratch scratch*

Got lots of weeding done, everything looking very tidy indeed. I just keep uncovering a gawd awful number of ants’ nests. Massive ones too.

*scratch scratch*

Any suggestions for dealing with them!?

*scratch scratch*


3 responses to “Ankle Biters

  1. As far as pesticide free ideas that work, not a one. We have fire ants around here, so we pretty much have to use the fire ant bait. We’ve tried cinnamon, cayenne, and corn meal (corn meal is kinda evil if you read up on it), but those are the best pesticide free ones I know, effectiveness unknown. They didn’t seem to do squat against our ants.

    As far as the bites go, for the itchies, try baking soda water and mud masks, yes, the ones used for facials. You let the mud dry out completely and it helps draw out some of the venom and it’s cooling to boot. And after getting six fire ant bites per foot, it was the only thing that helped. Aloe gel is handy as well, but it all depends on how fiercely you react to the bites. You can get some anti-itch neem oil that helps as well, and that is totally chemical free, so long as you don’t mind a garlicky smell. Come to think of it, maybe neem would work on the ant hills? *ponders* It’s the best non-pesticide pesticide I’ve ever used that’s safe on everything and can be used up to the morning of harvest. Helped my roses overcome a serious case of blackspot among many other varied uses.

    • I did look at ant powder, but the label warned it could be harmful to bees. So that was a no go.
      I’ll start keeping some aloe gel in the shed from now on, thanks for the tip!

  2. If you can get it, aloe with lidocaine is a lifesaver. 😀 Aloe goodness with a numbing agent. Bactine is probably my other favorite.

    If you’re interested in neem as a natural pesticide and antifungal, it seems *mostly* harmless to what they call the “beneficials” of the bug world; trust me, I wouldn’t use anything to hurt my bees. I was freaking out this spring as I hadn’t seen any yet. Still dramatically low on honeybees, but have other bees and pollinators, thankfully. You just have to make sure you don’t get the store brands that include insecticides as well. The pure stuff (neem oil) is diluted like 10:1 with water and sprayed on the plants, which then have to be ingested to be effective against bugs. I’ve read some spray it directly in hives to control varroa mites though I would caution against direct spraying without a lot of research (a bit of Hail Mary kinda thing). And combine with companion planting, which seems damned near a lost art form, I swear.

    Try looking at and google for further. I ordered mine from, which does have an fb page, though it’s pretty quiet. Even got a couple plants to grow and am hopefully going to be able to test the antibacterial difference between neem and honey this semester (though we may just do a honey/pollen experiment). Neem is used in so many things (makeup, facial wash, supplements, etc.) and is my go-to for bug control in the garden. It’s even supposed to be a tasty supplement for red worms. Unfortunately, the weeds are still killing me here and managed to kill off my sugar pumpkins…though the dramatic heat spike breaking records right and left probably did not help.

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