This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
C. 0. S., Seguin, Fla., writes: " The greatest trouble I find here is in preventing the numerous insects from destroying the seedlings and plants. The climate is so mild that I find numerous insects ready to devour any green leaf as soon as it makes its appearance, and they are entirely different from any we have in the north. We have here ants which are called cutting ants; they work only at nights, and it is surprising the amount of damage they do in a single night. The past Spring I lost over 200 hills of Lima Beans three inches high in one night, which they not only cut down, but carried away. It is next to impossible to destroy them by any means I am familiar with, or to prevent them from eating plants. They are in hills or mounds, and I have repeatedly tried petroleum, chloride of lime, gas lime and boiling water, but the ants still live. Can you give me a cure for these pests ? I have consulted all the works on gardening at my command, and can find but little said of these ants. I notice in the Monthly a communication from a writer in California, who speaks of the devastation they cause, but who gives no cure.
Does he know any ? If so, I would like to see it in some future number.
The climate here is simply splendid, nearly always a good breeze off the Gulf, warm through the day, cool at nights. There has been no frost here since December 24th, 1877, over ten months. We still have a few Peaches, but they are nearly gone; have had them since May. All kinds of vegetables can be raised here to perfection, but there seems to be considerable trouble in keeping them. You will think it strange, probably, when I tell you that White Potatoes are now being brought here from the North. I never saw finer ones than were raised here the past season, but it seems impossible to keep them, they rot soon after being stored away. They sold here in July at 50c. per bushel; to-day they are worth $2.00. With the Sweet Potato there is no trouble; it keeps in fine condition by burying in the ground, the same as is done with Turnips in the North. I would be glad at any future time to give you a full description of this part of the country, and its products, if you think it would be of any interest to the readers of the Monthly".