Well, I do believe that cats have amazing superpowers. And one of those powers is to make you take an active interest in herb gardening even if you’ve had none!
Trust me, I’ve seen many cat owners ask me how can they grow cat grass for their furry little friends. They’re willing to learn it just so that their pets can be happier and there’s not a more noble cause than that.
Cat grass is an annual crop. Even dogs might eat cat grass as it’s tasty. As compared to other turfgrasses, this is a healthier alternative.
Although cat grass will flower if let to, your pets will make sure it’s grazed regularly. Harvesting is, therefore, only possible with seeds. In either case, it’s highly recommended that you keep trimming it yourself so that it doesn’t cross the one-inch threshold to maintain fresh foliage growth, which will be best for your cat.
So, without further ado, let’s see how we’re going to grow cat grass in a step-by-step manner.
1. First, you should sow the seed indoors vs. in your garden
Just like any other plant, cat grass also starts from the seed.
Prepare finely crushed and nutrient-rich soil in a flower pot inside your home. Now, plant the seeds about a quarter-inch deep into the soil.
Remember, the soil has to be around 70°F or about 21°C but always moist. Don’t let it dry.
Between one week and two, you’ll find that little seedlings start to appear from the soil. Now, these are delicate seedlings and need proper nutrition to grow up into cat grass. So, at this point, it’s generally a good idea to move the pot near to sunlight (a window would be a good example).
If you prefer completely indoor gardening, then you can move the pot to under fluorescent light that’s kept on for around 16 hours a day.
The job of the sunlight or the fluorescent light is to help the seedlings do photosynthesis, which is the plant’s way of making food for itself and therefore is very important. As long as they’re under the light, they’ll produce food and when it’s off (during the night, preferably), they will grow.
As they reach a decent height, you can raise the lights.
And that’s pretty much it. After a while, you’ll have an inch-high cat grass patch that your cat will nibble at frequently.
Now, you can also sow these seeds in your garden openly, but I always recommend first preparing a single flowerpot of cat grass indoors to gain some experience and learn patience. We’ll also see how you can grow cat grass in your garden, later on, don’t worry.
2. Getting rid of weeds is very important
Weeds are unwanted little plants that grow around your cat grass. They will suck up part of the water and nutrients from the soil which is meant for cat grass, not to mention will also take up space so that the cat grass can’t grow further.
You can use chemicals but I’d recommend taking weed out manually. Sure, you’ll need to do it quite frequently but it’ll be accurate with no harmful effects. Also, you can buy or prepare mulch and layer it down on the soil, which will help the soil in additional ways like moisture conservation and fertility improvement.
3. Watering, re-sowing, nibbling and trimming
Here are a few tips regarding growing cat grass successfully:
- As the soil starts to get dry, you should water it. Water it so that it can retain the moisture and don’t flood the pot. Your aim is to make the soil effectively wet, not watery.
- You can re-sow more seeds as the old ones start to die out so that you have a constant supply of cat grass. Re-sowing every two weeks will ensure proper and constant growth.
- When your cat nibbles on cat grass, it can regrow. In fact, cat grass can regrow multiple times before dying out.
- If your grass is getting very tall, trim it. An inch is enough height. It also makes sure there’s always fresh grass growth and that the process doesn’t stall.
4. What else can you do?
Well, there’s nothing much to do, really.
Your cat will come and “graze” the grass pretty frequently at will. There’s no point in setting times for it.
You can try mixing cat grass in smoothies. In that case, go for very young grass for the best flavor. Also, if your cat isn’t eating well, you can mix crushed cat grass into their food.
Also, regularly check for pests and worms. Here’s a list of problems that can affect cat grass:
- Too much water or moisture can damp off the seedlings. A lot of nitrogen fertilizer can also kill off the seedlings.
- Nematodes are small worm-like creatures that can cause galls on the roots of your cat grass.
- The fungus disease called rust can affect your grass, making brown spots appear.
- If you live in a humid environment, then powdery mildew can form on the blades of the grass. It is characterized by a white/light grey layer on the foliage and possible curling of the blades.
- If possible, get the soil tested for any problems. Some types of plant-damaging fungus (like smut) live in the soil for years and activate when there’s plant life in the soil.
- Sucking insects, worms, and other pests can be a problem if you don’t care for your cat grass regularly. Aphids, armyworms, slugs, whiteflies, and wireworms are some common pests that can threaten healthy cat grass growth.