The Vine: November 5, 2010
A question for you and the Nation. I am a cat-owner who loves to cook. The problem is this: I want a herb garden. Since I rent, it's going to have to be in pots, which is fine. Except for the cats.
I have a neutered boy cat, who isn't much of a sprayer, thankfully. But the BIG tom next door (neutered, but I think probably too late in life to stop the problem) sprays on pretty much anything we leave outside, in what I can only imagine is some sort of territorial battle/psychological warfare with my much smaller and quite nervous cat.
So, here's the thing. Obviously I want to cook with these herbs. How do I stop the cat from pissing on them? Put them up high somewhere? Encase them in mesh or wire or something? Any ideas? Will lemongrass be a strong enough scent to deter him altogether? Growing indoors is not an option — not enough sunlight.
I can't wait to hear what the readers have to add, because we've struggled with variations on that problem here at Far Thill — using the gerania as a litterbox, napping in and therefore smothering to death a large pot of basil, using tiny tomato seedlings as Cat Dancers, etc. I also worry that they'll nibble something that's terrible for cats.
I had some luck basically lofting my deck plants on a table/shelf structure similar to that you'd put over a radiator. Mr. Stupidhead put a layer of our water-resistant fence paint on it, and it's held up well to the elements as well as fending off various feline sorties. But what I'd really like is a coat-tree-esque structure for outdoor use.
I'd also really like to plant some root veg next year, but Gen and I worry that the customary digging/romping about is going to make it a no-go, so we'll probably build a rectangular structure with corrugated-metal "curbs" and a hinged screen top — lets sun in, keeps snacky pets out.
We've got plenty of time to hear and implement suggestions before we plant again. Readers, what have you bought or built to attract sun and repel felines?
Tags: Ask The Readers cats home 'n' garden