Q&A: How can I keep cats out of my garden?

kittycat-graphicsfairy Q. Every day before getting involved with enjoying our garden we have the odious task of removing cats’ litter. We have tried just about every commercial remedy to keep these pests from digging our newly planted bedding plants and have now resorted to sections of plastic mesh, strategically placed over plants. You can imagine how spectacular that looks! How can we combat this problem? Elaine & Phil

A. Unfortunately, bare soil is an open invitation for cats to dig. As soon as you start digging over a new garden or clear your beds, cats will sniff it out. I have yet to find a commercial product (or old wives’ trick) that works better than plastic mesh – it’s what I use after planting new vegetable seedlings; the seedlings grow up between the squares, and the mesh is removed once the plants are a decent size. It’s not particularly attractive, but it’s only for a short while and you can buy brown mesh to blend in with your soil. The other thing I do is dump some soil or old potting mix in a corner of my garden that’s not on view. My cat always makes a beeline for this instead of my vegetable patch. Shannon Lush, in her excellent book Spotless, recommends slathering Vicks VapoRub over several stones and dotting these around your garden. Lay them with the Vicks side down as rain will eventually rub it off. Jane

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