Credit Crunch Catnip 1

28 June, 2009


Here’s my practical nod to the credit crunch:  grow-your-own catnip.

I spend a fortune every year on searching out the finest and most potent catnip in the market.  So I decided to see if growing catnip would save a few pennies.

This kit comes from Canada, and can be bought from purrsinourheart, a pet charity.  It consists of a packet of seeds, and more importantly, a little compressed peat pot, so you don’t have to muck about with bags of compost.  All you have to do is rehydrate the peat pot by soaking it in water, then removing a little peat, sowing the seeds, and covering them up with the peat.  Then place in a sunny spot and wait, for about 10 days.

For those cats who can’t wait, the kit comes with a little packet of catnip, for instant gratification.

This is not my first attempt at growing my own catnip.  Many years back I bought a catnip plant which I transplanted into a flower bed.  It was quite bushy and perky.  A few days later, all that was left was a few battered stalks and some mushy leaves.  I suspected slugs, but later caught Teddy sitting on the same spot the plant was on, an expression of bliss on his face.  Yes, the plant had suffered death by squashing.

The following year I tried to grow catnip from seed.  It worked until the slugs found the baby seedlings in the pot and all that was left was a few spindly stalks.

This year I’m growing from seed, but starting from indoors.  Once the seedlings have reached a reasonable size I shall transplant into pots and grow them on until they are young plants.  I’m still working on how to protect the growing plant from premature death by cats.  As for the slugs, I’ve spent a fortune on nematodes to annihilate them.



  1. I had to laugh at the sad end your catnip bush outside suffered. I, too, have tried planting catnip in the kitty enclosure and it becomes a poor bedraggled smushed up twig in a matter of days. How well do the nematodes work? I have found 2 live and active snails INSIDE the house in the past month. They ride in on the cats’ fur … sometimes slugs as well.

    • Hi Molly,

      I’ve heard that the trick is to put a belljar or a pot or a bird cage over the catnip.

      A good friend of mine, who helps play with the kittens, has recently had great results with growing a sprig of catnip in a glass jar of water – it’s sprouted roots and is on the windowsill so her cat can’t get at it. Once it’s stronger I think she’ll plant it out … sometime in the spring/summer.

      Nematodes … well, they’re supposed to work, but I still had slugs. Maybe it’s because I didn’t use the nematodes as soon as they arrived so maybe they lost their efficacy. Sigh. I almost used slug pellets, but held back. I used to go out into the garden at night and spend half an hour every night picking them up and hurling them into the (ssssshhhh) neighbours’ gardens. I think they just thought it was a bit of exercise and crawled back. I even tried beer traps, but all it meant was that all the slugs in the neighbourhood used to drop in for a quick pint before munching on my lettuces. I try so hard to garden organically, and even contemplated using Rudolf Steiner’s Biodynamic method of getting rid of slugs (check it out on the internet – urgggh). I even once managed to get a hedgehog but it escaped.

      Hope you have better luck!

  2. Oh, your neighbors … lol. No wonder… the slugs are just getting stronger with all that exercise. I’ve had pretty good luck with the pellets … the little white things that are not supposed to be toxic to animals. I guess I’ll just stick with those. I obviously need to get back to doing it on a schedule, though.

    • So … I have the world’s strongest slugs??? Hmmm … I wonder what they’d taste like!

      I saw a food programme once by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall [aka Hugh Fearlessly Eats-It-All] in which he and another chef attempted to turn slugs into a palatable dish. It took many days of purging them with herbs, and in the end, they had to boil them, scrape out most of the innards before stuff them with some sort of chilli paste. Even then it was touch-and-go whether they were going to be edible. I suspect they hammed it up for the cameras.

      I’ve heard snails are quite tasty though … over to you!

      Best wishes!

      • OMG! Well, as the world’s most finicky eater I’m going to pass on both slugs and snails …ewwwwww!!

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