Catnip is a simple herb to grow and a great treat for pet cats. The perennial plant's leaves also lend a minty, lemony flavor to salads and teas. Catnip is a fairly hardy plant, and germinating its seeds is an easy process. The most important thing to remember is that the herb grows best in light, fluffy soil. Preparing the garden bed well will help the catnip seeds sprout quickly and evenly. You may also want to enclose the young catnip plants in chicken wire to keep stray cats from nibbling or crushing the delicate young seedlings. Plant catnip seeds in the spring, about two weeks before the last frost date in your area.
Select an appropriate spot in the garden. In northern areas that tend to be chillier in the summer, catnip plants must be planted in full sun. In southern areas, partial sun is advisable so that the catnip doesn't dry out.
Use a hand tiller to work the top 3 inches of soil in the garden bed, fluffing it and removing any debris. Scatter about 1/2 inch of compost on top of the dirt and scratch it into the bed with a garden rake.
Dig a shallow trench (about 1/8 inch deep). Sprinkle the seeds in a single layer in the trench, then cover them with soil. Water the row lightly.
Continue to water the plant lightly each day, keeping the soil only slightly damp. The seeds should germinate within two to three weeks.