Thursday, June 18, 2009

No More Kitty Poo

Some of you who read my other blog might remember my frustration last year when I started my garden and soon thereafter had to deal with the local Cat Mafia, who had decided to move in and claim it as there personal dumping ground.

I'm pretty positive at this point and 90% of the cats I see around my condo are strays. There where some who hung around last year who I haven't seen much lately, (maybe they got taken care of by another mob.) Three in particular are my biggest nuisance right now. There is a big orange one and he's the mob boss. Then there's his body double who looks almost just like him, except smaller, (might be a girl.) She's nearly always with him. Then there's Skinny, a thin white cat with pale peach colorations on the tips of his ears, tail and feet. He's usually tailing along with the other two, though lately I've seen him a lot by himself, trying to observe us through our sliding glass doors. I'm not sure what information they expect him to find, but I think I know why they're hanging around in plain sight again.

I have finally found a way to foible there illegal operations! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Last year I tried cayenne pepper to keep them away, but it was to no avail. I would have to own barrels of the stuff to have enough to effectively keep cats away, especially because as soon as it rains, you have to reapply it. Gah!

I've considered hanging out by my bedroom window with a Super Soaker waiting for them to venture into my garden, but that is obviously unrealistic for many reasons.

I've fantasized about a security camera automatic water guns, or at least some kind of motion sensor water guns that can aim at the culprit and shoot them with water. Once again, not possible for my budget, or time or anything. A mere fantasy.

Finally after puzzling over the dilemma all winter I finally came up with a solution in March that seemed worth trying. I thought to myself. "If my whole garden was full every inch with those wire frame things that you use to grow tomato vines; there wouldn't be enough room for the kitties to dig anymore! The frames wouldn't effect my plants, although, they might effect the overall appearance of my garden." Despite that one drawback, I went to the store to see how much the frames would cost.

To my dismay they were not only much harder to find than I had expected, but they also cost more than I had to spend at the time. I stood there puzzling over them and looking around the area to see if I had other options. Then my eyes rested on a package of Heavy Duty Trellis Netting. This is a nylon mesh net that you use to grow vines and other vertically growing plants. I looked and it and had an epiphany. I could cover the entire surface of my garden with a netting that would keep the kitties from digging and still let sunlight and water through! Plus, my plants were still low enough to the ground that I could put it over them and they could grow up through it. Tada! Genius! The best part was is that I didn't have to spend any money right then because I already had the same type of netting at home in my sewing stuff because I had been planning to use it to make a cape for my mermaid costume a few Halloween's before.

So I went home and Jake helped me spread it out and tack it down with tent stakes which I had bought previously for another reason. Sadly, my netting wasn't enough to cover the whole length of my garden though. I had originally purchased it at the Army Navy Store where they had been selling it by the yard. I determined to go back and get some more.

Sadly, when I got there, they said they hadn't carried that particular product for over a year although they still had lots of camo material by the yard. I was a bit disappointed, but since Lillian was having fun playing in all the tents they had set up, I didn't leave right away. I kept having a feeling that I should keep looking around, and that if I just kept looking I would find something. Happily, after a few minutes I managed to find a mesh hammock. the same type of nylon netting, only this time green, and I'd have to take the hammock apart. But that seemed a pretty small price to pay. There was just enough of the netting to cover the remaining part of my garden and the whole hammock only cost $9.99 which is actually pretty cheap when it comes to buying specialty materials by the yard. Any of you who sew know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I bought it and went home and not long after, (though I had to buy a few more garden stakes first.) My whole garden was covered with nylon mesh.
I found these cute garden stakes at Walgreens that look like toadstools. I thought they were rather fun.I didn't look particularly nice to have two different colors of netting, but it's better than the look of dug up plants and mounds of smelling kitty poo.
I kinda wish I could have had them both be green, but oh well, the point is, no more plants can be dug up now.

These pictures were all taken during the first week of April.

And here is how my garden looks now. (June)

As you can see, there's still a bare spot right in front of my window where the kitties dug and pooed my columbine to death last year. I was hoping when I first put the netting down that it might still come up, but it hasn't. I couldn't afford any new annuals this year since money is tight, but back in early spring I bought a big tube of mixed seeds at Smiths in the hopes of filling in some of the gaps.
I put a few on the far left and right sides and a few tiny sprouts have since come up that I'm still not sure are weeds or not, so I've left them alone, hoping they will eventually bloom into some flowers. The little green wire trellis you see in the earlier picture used to support a lovely tall garden Phlox, which is a perennial, but it hasn't come back up this year. I'm wishing I could afford a Clematis to fill that space. Like a "Countess of Lovelace." a " Mrs. Cholmondely " a "Royalty" or a "Louise Rowe" *Sigh . . .* Maybe someday.My other flowers have been doing pretty well, they're all blooming and looking well, although my Lilli won't bloom until autumn probably, but at least it looks green and alive still.The whole problem with buying the tube of mixed seeds is I have no idea what to expect so it makes it hard to pull anything up that isn't an obvious weed. These sprouts have just barely begun to peek through. The one with the rounder leaf, I'm not sure about, though there are more like it scattered around where I planted, so I'm pretty sure it's from my seeds. I'm pretty positive the other on is a California poppy.This one, however, is a mystery to me. It was the first to sprout and the round lilly-pad like leaves definitely didn't look like weeds to me, so I've let it grow and have been rewarded by these lovely orange blooms. It looks really familiar, and I'm sure my mom could tell me what it is. I think maybe she had one in her garden once. If anyone else has any ideas of what it is let me know.Speaking of my mom, she's a sweetheart and bought me these seeds because she heard me complaining about the bare spot under my window. She said these can be planted at any time of year and like the heat, which is good 'cause that area get's a lot of sun and heat during the day. I've planted them and I'm hoping to see sprouts soon. I remember these in my mom's garden when I was a little girl, and I thought they were so pretty, and cool. The moss rose, their common name seems appropriate to me 'cause when I was young I thought they looked thorny but was pleased to discover that the spiny parts are actually quite rubbery feeling.