How to Plant Catnip
Plant catnip in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants will grow to a average height
of 36 inches, producing tiny lavender flowers beginning in early summer.
The seeds take a long time to start but once established they grow quickly and
need little other than warm sun and rain. Catnip likes to be a little on the dry side. By keeping it dry this increases the
neptalactone level. Watch out for slugs when the plants are young, But when the plants are well established slugs seem to
lose their interest.
As a rule Catnip does not need to be fertilized. It pre-fers sandy soil unenriched.
Also as a rule if Nettles grow well where you are planning a Catnip bed so will the Catnip.
Just be sure to evict ALL the nettles.
Questions concerning Catnip or growing Catnip Plants?
How to dry Catnip...
Some time in latr July or early August your Catnuip plants will be
ready for their first harvest. I would like to sugest a few of the most popular methods.
My personal favorite abnd the one that seems to be the very best is
to cut the plants to about 2 feet tall. Do not cut more than you can process in a few hours. Sit in a comfortable
chair with the TV on and 3 large mixing bowls or cooking pots. First cut off the Blossom end and place in one pot.
Then begin to pluck off the leaves placing in another pot. The third pot is for the "undesireable" too brown leaves
or just plain old garden garbage that may come in with your plant.
After "plucking" all the fresh green leaves off the stalk place the
leaves in dehydrator trays in a thin layer. Place the blossoms in the top layer or better yet use an entirely diferent
dehydrator for them. Now a place in the garage or the basement would be the best for plugging in the dehydrators because
the smell can get very INTENSE! Even in my attached garage it is sometimes enough to make me leave the house for a couple
When the leaves are "crispy" and crumble easily they are ready to store.
Remove from dehydrator and crumble with fingers or if they need to be use a pair of sharp scissors and begin to cut the catnip.After
you have about an inch of "cut" catnip in the bowl go through and cut more right in the bowl. Then keep ading more leaves
till you have the texture that you want. I package my Catnip in zip lock snack bags with 1/3 cup in each. Store in an
air tight can (such as those old cookie or popcorn tins or in the freezer.
Every so often a cat can be seen to pause and then adopt a curious sneering
expression, as if disgusted with something. . . .
The truth is almost the complete opposite. When the cat makes this
strange grimace, known technically as the flehmen response, it is in reality appreciating to the full a delicious fragrance.
We know this because tests have proved that urine from female cats in strong sexual condition produces powerful grimacing
in male cats, while urine from females not in sexual condition produces a much weaker reaction. . . .
If this behavior
were to be likened to a hungry man inhaling the enticing smells emanating from a busy kitchen, it would not be too far from
the truth, but there is an important difference. The cat is employing a sense organ that we sadly lack. The cat's sixth sense
is to be found in a small structure situated in the roof of the mouth. It is a little tube opening into the mouth just behind
the upper front teeth. Known as the vomero-nasal or Jacobsen's organ, it is about half an inch long and is highly sensitive
to airborne chemicals. It can best be described as a taste-smell organ and is extremely important to cats when they are reading
the odor news deposited around their territories. During human evolution, when we became increasing dominated by visual input
to the brain, we lost the use of our Jacobsen's organs, of which only a tiny trace now remains, but for cats it is of great
significance and explains the strange, snooty, gaping expression they adopt occasionally as they go about the social round.
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