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Keeping cats out of the SFG

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Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  nidiyao on 3/31/2010, 11:24 am

I have several cats that I'd like to keep out of my garden. I was planning to use twine as grids. Does anyone have any advice or tips to share?

Sandy

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Jiro on 3/31/2010, 2:55 pm

This is my chief concern, as well. My neighborhood is plagued by stray cats.

I absolutely hate the things as they soil our flower beds, pee all over the place, kill native birds, and have done hundreds of dollars of damage to our front porch furniture. They even relieved themselves on our front porch during the blizzards.

What I have done is build a fence out of plastic hardware cloth similar to the one pictured by Dan here ( http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/keeping-wildlife-out-of-the-garden-t780.htm#6182 ). Instead of Dan's hinged doors, I staple-gunned my hardware cloth to the exterior posts and tie each side to the adjacent with heavy wire, allowing me to roll open a side when I need to work in the bed and lock it back tight when finished.

Additionally, I encircle the ground around the bed with 6" strips of metal hardware cloth (cats loathe the texture). Additionally, I make my own pepper spray and spray the surrounding area to further discourage the foul creatures.

The solution is ugly, but seems to be effective.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  bpbdrummer on 3/31/2010, 3:30 pm

a pitbull will do the trick... lol

I kid, I kid... we have two pits and they are great with out cats.
you can get those green metal fence posts
and some chicken wire and build a fence around your garden

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  timwardell on 3/31/2010, 11:10 pm

take plastic forks and stick them in the beds handles first - leaving the tines just above the surface - looks odd, yes, but annoys cats and keeps them away

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  choksaw on 3/31/2010, 11:22 pm

Old dried Holly leaves follows the same route that Tims does but strong winds will blow them away

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  nidiyao on 4/1/2010, 7:07 am

Thanks for all the great ideas my friends. I plan to put soil in at least 2 beds today and really want to keep the cats out from the start. I think I will try laying poultry netting on top until I get a "cage" built. That should discourage their walking around on the beds. Most of my plants will be started from seed, and I have a little weather window here to mess around. I have had to lay some poultry wire over my cold frame to keep the little darlings out! It's nice and warm in there, don't you know?

As soon as hubby wakes up I'll inform him that I need assistance with the cage construction, I wonder if he'll wake up sooner if I stomp around a bit???

Sandy

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  aliciazim on 6/8/2010, 9:17 am

Has anyone tried lemon and/or orange or grapefruit peels? I will try using the forks, but I know my cats detest orange peels, so I figure any citrus will do? Also, I'm not sure the neighbor's cat is the only problem. I think that maybe the birds may be getting at some of my tomato plants. It's weird because cats don't like that prickly texture, and my tomato plants have that texture on the stems. That's why I think it's a combination of birds and the neighbor's cat eating my tomato plant leaves.

My husband also wanted me to ask if I should spray lemon juice around the plants. But won't that hurt the plants?

Someone in a gardening store said something about using moth balls to ward away practically any critter, but I heard they are toxic. Is that true?

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Nurse Grams on 6/8/2010, 10:05 am

When I was a kid, we always had a HUGE garden (hehhe..seemed like 15 acres to us kids who had to weed, hoe, & pick) and lived out in the country. The deer and raccoons ALWAYS found the sweet corn. Once they did, Dad would start laying out the moth balls around the corn. No more late night invaders.

I have no idea if it would work on cats or not. However, the previous owners of our house had two birdhouses on the backyard fence. One had a bird-family this spring, and one got the paper-wasps building a nest in it. I tossed a mothball into the wasp one and they haven't come back.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  nancy on 6/8/2010, 10:43 am

I've also used moth balls successfully.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  aliciazim on 6/8/2010, 11:08 am

Just the fact that a moth ball kicked out some bees makes me SO happy! I hate bees. I will buy some moth balls and see what happens.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  herbarium on 6/8/2010, 11:24 am

I have found that just having a grid helps discourage cats from digging in the garden. I have a cat and don't want to cause it harm. I use the wood lath for my grid and it gets in the cat's way.
Although moth balls are said to repel cats I would not use them around edibles.
The forks are a great idea!
It is true that cats do not like citrus so citrus peels are a good idea but will need to be replaced as they lose their scent.
Bird netting or chicken wire can work and then when the plants are up there isn't much room to dig so that discourages them.
I doubt if cats are eating tomato plants because they are toxic at least to mammals. Birds don't seem to have a problem with them. They can eat rhubarb leaves also.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Little Thumb on 6/8/2010, 11:29 am

@aliciazim wrote:Just the fact that a moth ball kicked out some bees makes me SO happy! I hate bees. I will buy some moth balls and see what happens.

You don't want to keep the bees away all the time, they help pollinate the plants. Just a thought.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  nancy on 6/8/2010, 11:44 am

Yep - they are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take. We need them!

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  aliciazim on 6/8/2010, 2:00 pm

If the bees would just understand peaceful coexistence, then maybe I wouldn't mind. I mean, why do they need stingers? Why must they make their nests on my stuff? There are plenty of trees they can use. I feel like if there were fewer bees, some other type of flying insect would eventually pick up their slack. I guarantee you that at least once this year, during harvesting, I will see a bee on something that I need to be near or pick, and I will declare, "I am NOT picking anything!" and subsequently force my husband to do the harvesting.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  herbarium on 6/8/2010, 2:19 pm

There are bees and then there are other insects people call bees. Many insects pollinate and some eat insect pests also. That does not make them desirable in all situations but if we know the differences that helps with controlling them.
For more information and control methods.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  PeggyC on 6/8/2010, 3:13 pm

I have a dog that likes to dig in my nice fluffy Mel's Mix, and a cat that likes to relieve herself in it. So, before I planted anything, I laid chicken wire over the top of the bed, used a big stapler to hold it in place. On top of that, I put my grid. Then to plant transplants, I just cut a slit or X in the chicken wire, planted, and smushed the chicken wire back around the stem. Seeds I just poked into the dirt through the wire holes, and as the seedlings come up, I'm helping them get those first leaves above the wire. Here's what it looks like.



As a result, my dog has gone back to digging holes in the yard and the cat likes to walk on the nice "catwalks" created by the grid, but so far, I haven't caught her straddling the grid to do her business.

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Regarding mothballs -- please don't use!!!

Post  junequilt on 6/8/2010, 4:28 pm

Mothballs are horrible for you and the environment. Please see this article: http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=956

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Chopper on 6/8/2010, 4:37 pm

My son stapled a cheap white wire fence around the outside of his box and bent the wires out.



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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  junequilt on 6/8/2010, 5:44 pm

You can also just lay a piece of regular old wire fencing over the bed and leave it there for the entire season. Cats really hate walking on wire.

Of course, that doesn't stop them from spraying on things. And DH's favorite among our cats -- the one he refers to as his "son" -- is the one that sprays on everything. He's neutered, but he still does it, the little turkey! Yesterday I arrived home, having been out of town for about 10 days, and was examining my tomatoes for signs of disease (found none, yes!!!), and darned if James T. didn't back up on one of them and you know what. Maybe he needs kitty prozac?

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Megan on 6/8/2010, 9:22 pm

@junequilt wrote:He's neutered, but he still does it, the little turkey! Yesterday I arrived home, having been out of town for about 10 days, and was examining my tomatoes for signs of disease (found none, yes!!!), and darned if James T. didn't back up on one of them and you know what. Maybe he needs kitty prozac?

You named him after Shatner? I mean.... just sayin'. Wink (And I am not one to talk... our cats are named after the Addams family.)

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Mirjam on 6/9/2010, 4:10 am

When I first built the boxes and filled them with mix, the cats were also under the impression that I built them a huge box to dig and pee in. But as soon as I had t he grids on, it was over. a square foot is not enough space for an average cat Smile
They do walk across the boxes over the grids, but that's all they do now.

But if you're using string for grids, I don't know if that would help as much.
You could however put used coffee grounds on top of your soil, cats don't like the feel of it on their paws, and they're not fond of the smell either. And the coffee will just decompose over time, so it won't spoil your mix.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  LaFee on 6/9/2010, 7:04 am

Coffee grounds are GREAT for your SFG -- it adds lots of nitrogen as it decomposes.

So if the cats hate it, too -- bonus!

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  plb on 6/9/2010, 7:47 am

I spent quite some time last weekend digging out cat turds from some empty squares in my SFG. Horrible... Both of my own cats actually come in to do their business in their litter box, instead of going out; I wish all cats were like that...

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  herbarium on 6/9/2010, 9:00 am

So, our cats could spray to prevent disease on tomatoes?
@junequilt wrote: Yesterday I arrived home, having been out of town for about 10 days, and was examining my tomatoes for signs of disease (found none, yes!!!), and darned if James T. didn't back up on one of them and you know what.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

Post  Odd Duck on 6/9/2010, 10:00 am

@aliciazim wrote:If the bees would just understand peaceful coexistence, then maybe I wouldn't mind. I mean, why do they need stingers? Why must they make their nests on my stuff? There are plenty of trees they can use. I feel like if there were fewer bees, some other type of flying insect would eventually pick up their slack. I guarantee you that at least once this year, during harvesting, I will see a bee on something that I need to be near or pick, and I will declare, "I am NOT picking anything!" and subsequently force my husband to do the harvesting.

A beekeeper once told me that the honeybees in your garden are just "grocery shopping" and are very unlikely to sting you unless you hurt them. Just gently wave them away. Now, if you actually have some hornets or something, that's different. But most insects will retreat rather than fight you for a zucchini.

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Re: Keeping cats out of the SFG

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