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DIY Catnip!

September 10, 2010 by Tails Magazine in Fun Stuff, Inspiration with 0 Comments

Sleeping CatUse your green thumb to grow a fun treat for your feline friend at home! Catnip, as described by Wikipedia, is a 50-100 cm tall herb resembling mint in appearance, with greyish-green leaves; the flowers are white, finely spotted with purple. Catnip produces Nepetalactone oil that acts like an aphrodisiac for some cats (note: some cats could care less about catnip, but fresh catnip is more potent than dried catnip and has the best chance for a reaction).

Catnip is very easy to grow, the hardest part being keeping your kitty’s paws off of it while it grows! So keep this in mind when deciding where to plant— catnip can be planted outdoors or kept as a houseplant.

According to eHow.com here are the items you will need:

•    Small containers
•    Potting soil
•    Catnip seeds
•    Water
•    Plastic Wrap
•    Hanging pot
•    Patience

1.    Be green when choosing your containers, things like old yogurt or cottage cheese containers, even egg-cartons can be recycled and used to plant your catnip seeds.

2.    Buy catnip seeds at a local home and garden center or online.

3.    Prepare your pots by filling each pot not quite to the top with potting soil.  Moisten the soil with water. Make a small indentation in the soil–no deeper than around 1/8 inch or so. Take a tiny pinch of the catnip seeds, and place in the small hollow you made. Gently cover the seeds with the soil.

4.    Find a sunny spot indoors, safe from curious kitty noses and paws to place your newly planted pots of catnip. Cover the plants with a sheet of plastic wrap to simulate the growing conditions of a greenhouse. Remove the wrap just as soon as you see the sprouts appear. Allow your catnip plants to grow indoors until they reach about 2 inches in height. Make sure to keep the soil moist at all times–catnip really likes water! Once the plantsare this size, they should be ready to transplant into their new home and live outside. Or, if you prefer, you can keep catnip plants inside.

5.    Move your plants over to hanging pots, indoors or out, and feel free to plant several seedlings per pot for a good-sized plant.

6.    As the catnip plant grows, be sure to pinch off the new leaves in order to make the plant bush out and have more leaves. Otherwise, your plants will consist of several tall, weedy shoots and far fewer leaves. Since the leaves and buds are what attract your cat the most, you want to make sure to have as many as possible from each plant.

7.    Harvesting your catnip is easy, but the right timing is crucial. You want the leaves to have as much natural oil in them as possible. This seems to happen at the time that the plant begins to bud out, so this is the best
time to start picking and preparing to dry. You can cut the plant back rather severely when you harvest the catnip…. it will come back. It is hard to kill catnip! Lay the stems out in a cat-proof area to dry, or you can use
your oven turned on a very low temperature. Watch the catnip carefully while drying, and turn as needed.

For a full-set of instructions visit: How to Grow Your Own Catnip | eHow.com.

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