As mentioned in my previous blog post, we suffered a loss in our garden: one of our three Saskatoon berry bushes succumbed to the voracious eating habits of an ant colony. The solution I used, the borax/sugar mixture, seems to have worked well! I guess the idea with this mixture is the borax does the heavy lifting, but ants aren’t inherently attracted to it, so this is where the sugar comes into play. In observing the area we discovered the garden ants, there are no longer the high number that was found earlier, though there still are some individuals bandying about, so I’ll continue with the mixture for the time being. It doesn’t harm the plants or produce, so that’s good.
Here are a couple sources I found that support the use of borax in dealing with ants:
It’s all well and good that we seem to have the ant problem figured out, but this didn’t solve that we are down a berry plant. Our hope when we planted them was to have yielding plants within three years or so, and maintain long-term growth and harvest at that point. During the summer, we camp up in Meadow Lake Provincial Park, and one of our pastimes is to go Saskatoon berry picking. We’re hopeful that these berry plants will provide us some additional yield, but not if the ants keep killing the bushes!
It’s a good thing that Costco exists. We purchased our original bushes from there, and it’s where I got our new replacement. But I didn’t leave with just the one. For whatever reason, I figured we could supplement the Saskatoon berries with a traditional blueberry bush. I just wish I had learned a little more about blueberry bushes beforehand? Why? It turns out that blueberry bushes are not self-pollinating (such as raspberries, of which we have a bush in our backyard), and therefore, like the Saskatoon berry bushes, will heavily benefit from several of the same plant in the vicinity. So… hopefully the bees are active!
Here’s an article from everyone’s favourite channel, HGTV, about how to effectively plant blueberry bushes. I sure wish I thought about this first…
I went ahead and planted the new blueberry bush anyways. The Saskatoon bush will likely grow more successfully as it has two other established buddies in its midst.
Planting was straightforward: dig holes deep enough for the bush transfers, move the bushes into their new locations, fill in with soil, and provide plenty of water.
With these planted, hopefully they will grow into healthy, berry-yielding bushes.