Catnip flourishes in a garden.
image by cygnus921/Flickr.com
Cat owners who like to pamper their cats and give them a harmless thrill often include a catnip patch somewhere in the yard. Catnip is a fast-spreading herb that starts easily from seed and will self-sow for successive growing seasons. With little effort, a thriving catnip harvest will be ready for kitties needing a little recreation. Find a sunny spot and scatter some catnip seeds in the garden for an easy harvest.
Work the growing area in the spring after the soil has warmed. Break up the soil down to a depth of 3 to 4 inches and add a 1-inch layer of compost to the top of the soil. Work the compost in to finish preparing the growing area for the catnip.
Plant the seeds just under the soil, spacing them approximately 15 inches apart. Water the seeds lightly after planting and keep the soil moist during the entire growing season.
Watch for the seeds to sprout and when they are several inches high, pinch them back slightly. This will encourage the plants to grow bushier instead of taller. Save the removed greenery for the cats.
Trim leaves from the plants when the catnip blooms. Remove the top stems, leaves and flowers from the plants. Spread the greenery out in a single layer on a sheet or tray to dry.
Watch the plants for the remainder of the growing season because they might bloom again. If they bloom again, harvest in the same fashion as you did in Step 4.
Leave the plants standing over the winter to allow them to self-sow for the next growing season. Cut the plants down in the spring to make room for new growth.