How to make a rain barrel - rainwater that is collected in a rain barrel before it hits the ground is free of many contaminants that water picks up as it filters through soil. This soft, warm (and free) water is perfect for plants, lawns, and many other outdoor applications. From MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine.
The newspaper will prevent any grass and weed seeds from germinating, but unlike fabric, it will decompose after about 18 months. By that time, any grass and weed seeds that were present in the soil on planting will be dead. It’s green, it’s cheaper than fabric, and when you decide to remove or redesign the bed later on, you will not have the headache you would with fabric.
To get rid of ants, put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it or take it home to the others. They can’t digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!