Q. Several potted plants in my garden are infested with red ants. Is there any safe method to repell them as I am not interested in using chemicals?

G. Vidya Venkat

Mumbai

A. You can spray neem oil mixed with water and khadi soap on the leaves and sprinkle a combination of wood ash and turmeric powder at the base of the plants. Sprinkling chilli powder has also been found effective.

Smothering weed growth

Q. What does smother cropping mean?

J. Suryaprakash

Nellore Andhra Pradesh

A. When green manure is grown primarily to control the growth of weeds it is called smother crop. The green manure can be later ploughed into the soil.