Six years ago my family and I decided that we would like to have a small raised garden bed in our backyard. We brought these beautiful movable cedar boxes that could be placed one on top of the other. We loved them, but three years latter when we went to get more they had been discontinued. So after some pricing we brought a couple of man made wood boxes.
My mother loved the way that they looked and was considering getting more, but after spending a couple of hundred dollars on dirt and plants she decided that it was better to wait a while and get more. A few weeks latter we were all grateful for her decision as one day when transplanting a new set of flowers into the garden I noticed that one corner was overflowing with ants. I did not think too much of it until a few days latter when standing on the stones that we had placed in between our garden boxes my legs began to itch. That is when I saw it, a trail of hundreds of ants were using the stones as a highway between the two boxes. That were now infested with millions of biting ants.
So now, after hundreds of dollars and hours of exhausting work that had left me bedridden on my sofa for days at a time. out came the shovels as we threw away our hundreds of dollars in dirt. Some boiling water and a few doses of pesticide and the ants were no more.
After waiting several months with no new ant invasion we decided to try again. So we brought several hundred more dollars of dirt, fertilizer, and plant. Enjoyed several weeks of watering and pulling weeds, and just when it seemed like for the first time our garden was going to give us some fruit, our dog began to act strange. Going to the garden to sniff as was his daily duty and pleasure he would suddenly freeze and have to be carried back in. For the next few hours he would act unusually lethargic and even avoid food which told us that something must be very wrong.
My family and I were getting very worried that something serious was happening. We had no clue what was wrong. Was it poison, bad food, the heat, or a serious illness? We had no clue what to do for our beloved Happy Go Lucky. Praying about what to do to help Happy the thought came to my mind to check out the area around the garden boxes since it each time his health undertook the dramatic turn he had first visited that corner and had to be carried inside.
At a quick glance there was nothing unusual. But when I stopped and studied the garden boxes more closely I had my answer. Ants, thousands of them one again were fearlessly marching up and down the side of the garden box and hundreds were using are eggplants as a two lane bumper to bumper highway.
So now after once again spending hundreds of dollars in dirt, fertilizer, and plants, out came the shovels to toss our money, this time permanently, into the trash. As out came the plants and down came the boxes.
If you are thinking of starting a raised garden in an ant prone area you might think twice about choosing a garden box built out of the supposedly bug unfriendly man made wood. With less than three years of actual use, the same two manmade wood, have become the habitation of millions and millions of ants. Meanwhile the original cedar boxes, whose sides are now showing signs of age and rotting, sit only a few feet away and have remained free of the invading ants and is still giving us some fruit.
The composite wood garden boxes are beautiful. And as you can see from the picture above they can create a beautiful decorative touch to the landscape. With enough fertilizer and dirt our garden was coming alive. The only problem is that it was alive with far more than plants. Please take this into account the next time you are thinking about starting a raised garden, and I hope that yours meets with a better end than ours did.