how to grow catnip, by jack

Jack the Demon Cat on his catnip throneMY MOTHER KEEPS SPOUTING some crap about how my catnip is really called Nepeta cataria. See the words “pet” and “cat” in there?—I’m telling you, she talks in word puzzles, though she’s no Will Shortz. She blathers on that it’s “a perennial that self-sows” (what?). She says you can “start it from seed yourself pretty easily indoors.” Nonsense! Catnip is best grown this way: Make like a chicken, and sit on it. Catnip requires daily periods of incubation, as I’m demonstrating above, and when treated this way will not require any other pinching, and will not spread around. I am a cat, so I should know. My other Master Catnip Gardener tips:

  • Since he or she will be really pissed off if you sit on plants growing in the garden beds proper, request that your parent provide your own cat-ass-sized potful of the stuff to have your way with.
  • Better yet: ask for several pots, so that they can be rotated in and out of service. Admittedly, if incubated too vigorously or often, particularly by a “big-boned” master grower such as myself, the plants may need a rest. (Those are the vet’s words—he always says I am “big-boned.”)
  • A 12-to-14-inch pots works well for 16-pound me, but your ass may be smaller. Much smaller.
  • This technique is best performed when intoxicated. (Be sure to eat first, too; this is hard work.)
  • If before climbing onto the pot, you rip off the heads of the plants with your teeth, intoxication is easily achieved.
  • Ask that your parent place your pot near a piece of furniture, so you can claw it between incubation sessions, when you are good and high. (I use the bench in the top of the driveway, below; my pot’s just behind the bench.)
  • Plants grown by my method will never flower. This eliminates the bother my mother talks about when she says things like, “prodigious self-sower” and “can be invasive.” (She never stops muttering this plantspeak, poor woman, except to talk in cat to me; I wish she had more human contact because frankly, she is increasingly odd. )

Jack in the driveway at Kousa dogwood time

  1. Cathy Hackert says:

    This is Nookah and I have stolen Cathy’s phone. Jack, we need to date. They call me a bad assed cat with a black heart although I am very beautiful. My mouse count is up to 8 since May. We are 2 of a kind. Call me.

  2. Susan says:

    What species is that beautiful white-flowering tree behind Jack in the driveway? Jack is looking very pleased with himself!

  3. Frances Roth says:

    So nice to hear Jack’s voice. I hope there will be more from this irreverent kitty. By the way, does he fertilize as well as incubate? One of my kitties tried that in a pot of grass I had planted for her. I told her it was a no-no.

  4. Roger Giovinazzo says:

    check out this cute gardening cat cartoon-http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kWuIGAZ1x2I

  5. Laura says:

    I’ve always admired the photos of Jack and now am thrilled that he has his own well-deserved blog. I hope he continues writing, in between naps, eating and snacking on the local rodent population. My two cats regularly give me gardening advice (mulch makes both a nice outdoor bed and toilet — not in the same place!) My nepeta is one of the earliest perennials to leaf out in the spring. I can always find it because Willow (a gorgeous svelte gray darling) is usually sitting/rolling on it. As per Jack.

  6. Michael says:

    Oh Margaret,
    I was chuckling so hard when I read this, you have to let Jack write more entries! It was so much fun to read and I totally get it, having once had a enormous Maine Coon that was a catnip “nip” , connoisseur. Thanks and I look forward to more pearls of wisdom from Jack.

  7. Carol Samsel says:

    Love Jacks post!!! He reminds me of My Tuxedo Jack that I lost a few years back….they would have gotten along tremendously!!!!

  8. Cara says:

    LOLLST (laughed out loud, literally, several times). If this is what happens from lack of human contact, stay away from people and keep writing in Jack’s voice.

  9. Linda Pastorino says:

    I don’t have a Jack but the neighborhood strays who take his words gospel They find a way in ( after my fences got damaged in Sandy storm) and come to roll in the catnip borders I have planted in one section of the garden.. Word spread and now it’s open season. and is now almost a daily habit. The find the time when they think I”m not around . If they could only harvest for me the Japanese beetles that have just appeared ( several weeks early I might add) it would be a perfect partnership.

  10. ann says:

    I well remember when 5 yr old young man (after I artistically decorated salad with nasturtiums) “I don’t eat plants.” Something about this story reminded me of that day so long ago. Nepeta is a plant for all.

  11. Betsy Wells says:

    I had a lot of catnip growing in my yard a while back. I cut it back and threw it in the compost pile. Shortly thereafter I noticed all the neighborhood cats as well as mine in the compost pile and wondered why they were there until I remembered what I had put in the compost.

    The next year when the catnip started to sprout, Bandit eliminated the catnip by munching on the tender shoots. I guess the only way for me to grow catnip would be to put some kind of a protective cover over it to keep Bandit out.

    Jack do you have any suggestions?

  12. Joshua says:

    I laughed out loud!

    For some reason the neighbor’s cat is totally uninterested in my nepeta but loves using a container filled with hyacinth bean vine as a litter box.

  13. Susan T Greenstein says:

    I hope Jack continues to blog. Actually, I hope Jack is planning a book – I bet he has a lot to say on many horticultural topics.

  14. Katherine Stevenson says:

    What an absolutely delightful blog entry. I laughed so often including seeing Jack initially sitting in that pot! I hope Jack gets another chance to post.

    Margaret you do have fabulous skills in writing!!

  15. Dennis R says:

    Margaret, maybe this is why Jack took so many treats from me
    when I visited in May, He had the Nepeta “munchies”. I grow Walker’s Low Nepeta by my patio & my two Outdoor rescues always stop by for a mouthful & then act foolish

  16. Cheri says:

    Ok four cats and none of them will roll in the cat nip. Princess is wayyyyyyy to proper for such things. Lacey might get that pretty white fur dirty. New Cat cant sit still long enough and And Aisha won’t go in the back yard. The ducks are back there and they will eat her she just knows it. But my dog Jack loves to roll in the cat nip. Gets all good and stinky with it. Then is shocked when all the cats jump on the couch to sleep with him.

  17. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    All gardens look more beautiful with a feline presence posing artfully.
    Jack is one cool cat.

    My catnip patch is within a chain link fenced-in-yard where my dog patrols. I have never noticed any damage or feline activity in the area, although I have seen many cats hunting for voles, mice and baby rabbits quite close to my property. I find many self sown catnip seedlings and have begun harvesting, drying then sewing catnip pillows. They make wonderful gifts for cat owners.

  18. Daisy says:

    Can I tell you how much I loved this! It’s the end of my day and I couldn’t find a better way to close it. Thought of waking Mr Buster but know better, I’ll have to wait on that one. Glad Jack caught the “writing bug”. You have serious competition Margaret!!!!!!! Buster’s mom

  19. Stella says:

    Jack has the same voice of our dear departed tom cat, Pedro. Like Jack, Pedro had an affinity for catnip in my garden, and when I couldn’t handle the destruction anymore,and ripped it all out, replacing it with Nepeta ( cat mint), he insisted on continuing in his destructive ways, sleeping in and rolling around the flower beds of cat mint. Funny, but the plants handled the abuse, and are still thriving.

  20. Dahlink says:

    Perhaps someone here knows why some cats go totally bonkers on catnip and it leaves others cold–anyone? We had sisters named Cleo and Clementine years ago, and Cleo would do outrageous things under the influence while Clementine just yawned and wondered what all the fuss was about

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.