Friday, September 25, 2009

Question number two comes from my good friend and training partner, Graham, over at Impolite Company. He writes:


"I've recently discovered evidence of cats in my beds (no, silly, the ones outside with the plants--cats in my inside bed is par for the course and isn't even frowned upon around here), as in cat scratchings and poop. I've recently added more pine straw to the popular areas and this morning I sprayed it down with habanero juice. Don't know if this will work or not with repeated applications but while I'm waiting to see I thought I'd take advantage of your open-ended request for questions and see if you have other ideas."


Ugh, I've had this problem before too. Some years I do and some years I don't, and I have always lived where cats were a common outside presence, so I am guessing it has to do with what I have planted and whether or not there is a nearby better option. First of all, I think the habanero is a good idea. you may have to re-apply once or twice, but once they get the idea that you garden burns their booties, they will likely just keep away for good. Cats also dislike citrus smells, so you could spear a citrus rind or ten around the garden or spray with citrus oil, which may last longer than hot pepper oil and won't hurt you if you come across it accidentally yourself. Citrus oil will also keep some unwanted insect pests away. Speared citrus fruit will attract butterflies, which you may want to do if you are growing flowers, maybe not so much if you are growing green, leafy veggies you would like to save for your own dinner. You could also plant citronella or citrus-scented mints, thymes, and/or geraniums around the border of the garden. I noticed you built your beds with cinder blocks--perfect! Fill the holes with dirt and plant your deterrent plants in there. It will be lovely as well as functional. Your garden is beautiful by the way--I'm impressed!


  1. Thanks, I'll just add a little citrus to the my magical habanero blend and see what happens! As to plants in the cinder blocks, I've done a bit of that on an experimental basis and it works well for some plants and not so well for others. I've got some lemon mint seed that I'll try out.


  2. Update: Due to the consistent rains we've had lately (what a nice problem to have), I asked out at the Natural Gardener for any ideas that wouldn't wash away (and didn't involve my entire crop of habaneros). As a result, I now have a wonderful crop of plastic forks growing alongside my other plants. So far, so good. I also mentioned an idea I had to the NG woman and she thought it sounded cool--put one of those really annoying motion-sensing halloween decorations in the bed!