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How can I teach our pets our soon-to-be veg patch is no longer a toilet?

(26 Posts)
GinAndOnIt Wed 01-Feb-17 16:10:51

grin

You may have seen another thread I posted a while ago about turning the back garden into a veg patch. It's a patch of grass that we never use, so seems the best idea. Except, because we never use it, we've never deterred the animals from doing their business there...

Now today, whilst watching the cat leave a deposit on the nice loose earth, I wondered how we'll manage this when I start planting seeds.

Am I best just following him out every time and plonking him somewhere more suitable? Or is there anything I can put down on the ground so he picks one of his other spots in the garden? (Orange peel? Is that a thing or have I made that up? I put egg shells down last summer until DP gently let me know that that's to deter slugs and not cats...)

And, before anyone says, there are plenty of other spaces for him to go in our garden and no, he does not go in the neighbour's garden wink

leighdinglady Wed 01-Feb-17 16:27:29

They need to break the habit. I'd simply block it off. You can buy nets to go over veg patches to keep birds away. Put one of those up, or a wire fence around it. They'll soon get bored of trying and find somewhere else to go

TheSpottedZebra Wed 01-Feb-17 20:50:49

I put orange peel down. It works - a tiny little bit. So too does chilli powder / flakes (and actually this is my top tip for protecting bean seeds from mice and voles).

Cats are lazy buggers, aren't they? So they're attracted to the soft earth. So putting sticks all over, all at different angles can work a bit. Also a bit effective is draping some chicken wire over, but slightly raised from the bed. But I have safely concerns about these if I'm honest.

I've done the breaking the habit thing too, but once it's uncovered again,it's like a refurbished toilet.

So on that note, what I've ended up doing for my now elderly cats is I've made them their own toilet block. It's a patch of sand, behind the shed, and screened off yet more by some low growing shrubs (euonymus). We pretend we can't see them, and we 'pick' regularly. It's working so far...

shovetheholly Thu 02-Feb-17 07:47:43

<waves at gin>

This is less of a problem when things are established, but cats are little devils for wrecking your new, direct sown seeds! The trouble is, your lovely tilled seed bed is their luxurious bathroom!

I second the plan of just netting it off and forcing them elsewhere (it might be helpful to dig over another patch of soil where you want them to go). To be honest, I keep most of my low to mid height crops netted 100% of the time anyway. If it's not cats and dogs, it's pigeons or rabbits. Basically, anything that can eat the stuff wants to.

Alternatively, people speak highly of those water pistol things though I worry these might be quite stress inducing for cats if placed in their own house!

GinAndOnIt Thu 02-Feb-17 16:20:21

I'm far too much of a wet blanket to get one of those water things - I spend about 5 minutes apologising to GinCat if I accidentally spill a few drops of water on him when putting the full water bowl down, and even then he looks pissed off for about half an hour grin

At the moment, he's only going in one spot, which is in a corner by a bush. I think what I might do is just plant things more into the middle of the lawn where (I think) he feels too vulnerable to go, with some orange peel for good measure. Then perhaps spread everything out a bit once it's actually established.

We do have a lot of pigeons and rabbits though. And mice. Hmm. Perhaps I ought to try and get my hands on some netting. Does it just drape over plants?

shovetheholly Fri 03-Feb-17 12:05:17

At the allotment, I have a cheap solution - I bought a roll of alkathene pipe (which is just a bog standard plumbing thing) and sawed it into lengths to make self-standing hoops. I then position four of these along a bed and drape netting over the top. The best stuff is Enviromesh, but this is £££. I use a lot of scaffolding netting, which is cheap as chips if you buy a roll of it on ebay (or available free from building sites that are done).

However, this isn't the most attractive 'kitchen potager' look!! It works really well though!

I love your apologising to gincat. He is a lucky beast to have such a lovely owner. smile

GinAndOnIt Fri 03-Feb-17 13:04:42

I should imagine it's a more attractive kitchen potager look than cat poo and pigeons though wink

While we're on the topic, do you have any idea what the purpose is of sticks stuck in the ground with tiny little terracotta pots on top? MIL has a load in her garden, and when I asked, she just said 'I don't know... it looks like I know what I'm doing though, doesn't it?' grin

But I've also noticed our pro gardener NDN has them in their garden too, so they must serve a purpose. MIL has huge amounts of the pots lying around which I could use...

shovetheholly Fri 03-Feb-17 14:38:37

I think people put the pots on the top to stop themselves poking their eyes out when they bend over. It is REMARKABLY easy to miss a cane for some reason (I actually managed to sit on a spiky one once, which was NOT FUNNY AT THE TIME) grin I'm not particularly health and safety conscious but I've come too close for peace of mind on a couple of occasions! I use plastic bottles on mine at the allotment. Same effect, only not quite so classy. Stands up to the wind better, though!

The other thing is that by shoving wide things on the top of a well-placed series of canes you can sometimes sling a net over more easily! It's superlazy, but sometimes when that's all you've got, it's better than nothing!

GinAndOnIt Fri 03-Feb-17 15:20:49

I'm not laughing about you sitting on a cane at all shove, honestly... wink

I did wonder if it would add a bit of interest during the winter months when there's less colour, too.

shovetheholly Fri 03-Feb-17 15:57:30

grin I have never been a great high jumper, but on that occasion I set a PB.

Yes, the pots do look rather nice don't they? Well, they do when they've got terracotta on them. Less when it's coke bottles with the label peeling off..

HaveYouSeenHerLately Fri 03-Feb-17 23:08:51

Do you go in for CDs as well to deter the birds shove

I think we need a photo of Gincat wink

shovetheholly Mon 06-Feb-17 08:49:49

We DEFINITELY need a picture of gincat!

I will be doing CDs or something twirly this year as I have some un-netted rasps at the plot as an experiment. But normally everything is under nets, so they can't get in anyway!! grin

GinAndOnIt Mon 06-Feb-17 09:08:20

Oh, if you insist wink

He loves having his picture taken. When I adopted him, he had a little note on his door to encourage people to get to know him before judging him on looks <weeps> so I think he's grateful that someone finally thinks he's bloody cute grin

Funnily enough, I've watched him over the weekend (weird?) and he's been going to the loo under a bush at the end of the veg patch area now confused is he a MNer?!

shovetheholly Mon 06-Feb-17 09:33:18

Awwwwwww Gin - he's absolutely adorable! That little pink nose! He's clearly so happy! What a lovely life to have someone who cares for him so much at last. I love a happy ending.

TheSpottedZebra Mon 06-Feb-17 09:57:30

What (re the note)??? He is lovely!
I especially love sunbathing cats - they look so happy.

GinAndOnIt Mon 06-Feb-17 10:41:47

Zebra before he got rescued, he was unneutered and lived with a huge amount of other cats. He was very fighty. So when he was in the rescue centre, not only was he not picked because he was old, but he has chunks missing out of one ear and all his white fur was yellow and grimy. He also had scars on his face sad

It didn't take long for his fur to improve and his scars to fade though, as you can see! I think he's gorgeous, but he must have had so many people say no to him for them to put the notice on his door <sob>

TheSpottedZebra Mon 06-Feb-17 11:05:25

Aww, you healed him!

One of my childhood cats went missing (way before microchipping), and he was gone for a few months. When we eventually found him, he was in a rescue centre, and they said we were lucky he was so unattractive as everyone looking for a cute kitten just ignored him.

Just because he was black and patchy and not a young thing. sad

TheSpottedZebra Mon 06-Feb-17 11:05:52

Oh, and he had bit of a wonky face.

GinAndOnIt Mon 06-Feb-17 12:15:05

Oh that's so sad! Well, kind of good for you at the same time, but I really feel for the cats desperate for a cuddle who must see people just ignoring them all the time sad

The rescue centre I got GinCat from has a special section on their website for black and black/white cats who have been rehomed after a long wait. I don't understand why nobody wants that colour! The rescue centre seemed really deflated about GinCat like he was a lost cause, and we practically had our own fanfair the day we picked him up grin

hmsbismark Mon 06-Feb-17 12:25:56

Came on to recommend CatWatch deterrent, we have cats and ndn's cats regularly use the garden, but the deterrent can be pointed towards veg beds so they leave them alone. I hesitated for a while because of £ but read lots of rave reviews and it really seems to work. Previously had holly prunings stuck in the ground and dcats squeezed between them!

Also, ping pong balls on garden canes look better than plastic bottles.

Sorry if this kills your thread, mostly lurk as I am an expert thread-killer blush

steppemum Mon 06-Feb-17 12:32:10

he will never use your lawn for a toilet though, as they like to scrabble in soft soil and kick the soil back ove rth etop after wards.
So you need to dig him a soft spot to use.
Cover the seeds with netting, but as soon as you have plants he is unlikey to dig them up.

My friend pruned her red currant canes and stuck all the offcuts in the ground to deter the neighbours cat.
All the cuttings took, and she wass giving away red currant plants!

GinAndOnIt Mon 06-Feb-17 13:01:15

step the problem is, all of the back lawn has gone to make way for the veg patch - so he has an entire back garden of loose soil grin

The CatWatch deterrent does look effective, but I'm not sure I want to put something in the garden that will make GinCat miserable even when he's not using the soil as a litter tray! He would have to walk past the veg area to get to his cat flap, for example, so I don't really want to have something that will put him off coming in/going out.

GinAndOnIt Mon 06-Feb-17 13:03:23

So, I think I'm going to do a combination of moving him somewhere else whenever I see him about to use the soil, and then netting over seeds if he's still using it.

As I said above, he only seems to like the edges anyway as a security thing I think, so hopefully anything planted in the middle area will be okay...

echt Tue 07-Feb-17 11:32:37

Satay sticks. Loads of them. Pointy end down. Sorted.

HaveYouSeenHerLately Tue 07-Feb-17 14:31:18

Oh he's a cutie, good on you for taking him! His whiskers look very smart star

Knowing cats, I bet he's lulling you into a false sense of security by using the approved bush...for now grin

The only thing I've found to work is a high density of pointy/ forked twigs 6-12" while seedlings are developing.

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