ants destroying plants
For the past several years, my cabbage plants died. Close inspection shows tiny black ants approx 1/8 - 3/16" long congregating at the base of the plant. This year they killed all my cabbage plants, our watermelon plants, some of my kale and certain annuals in my flower garden. My plants come from many sources so they are not all started in the same growing medium. What are they after? Is there a nature-friendly way to treat the problem? I am an experienced gardener. Usually, if I loose a crop I hope for better success the next year but this problem is escalating. These ants are showing up everywhere. If I see a colony of them I pour boiling water into the nest but that doesn't work at the base of a plant.