Mother Earth Living

Gardening with a Black Thumb: Container Gardening Prep and Cat Grass

Residing in rural Wisconsin, by day Eileen Troemel work as a clerical worker and part-time student. At night she spends her time writing. Raised on a farm, she has a love for nature and is inspired by the beauty and power she finds there. Nature and her just don’t get along though as she has the blackest of black thumbs.

I don’t know if it is because I grew up on a farm or if it’s some more primal calling, but each spring as the weather starts to warm, grass greens up and the dirt looks black against the bland landscape, I want to get my hands in the soil and plant something. 

This week in Wisconsin we are having unseasonably warm weather with temperatures reaching towards the 70s. This is well above normal, but it makes me want to grill out, hit my deck for some great reading time and plant things. I want to put seed in the ground (or pot) and watch it grow. However, Mother Nature will be seriously unhappy with me if I kill any of her babies. I have to find other ways to enjoy the earth and satisfy my lust for the cool soil on my hands and under my nails.

When we first moved in to our current home, a quarter of our backyard was a garden. It was too much. With the arthritis I have (and my black thumb) I cannot maintain a traditional garden. Last year we finally gave up and threw down grass seed to make it lawn rather than garden. We still have the asparagus and rhubarb back there, but all else has been turned into lawn. 

Over the winter, my husband, daughter and I talked about container gardening, and I think we are going to attempt it. To that end we started prepping for it this weekend. We bought several large containers for planting tomato and strawberry plants. I want to go back to get some window box-type planters so we can do lettuce and spinach as well. 

In addition to the prep for the container gardening, my daughter got some grass for her cat. Sasha is a center of our attention in the house. She is a much loved and much spoiled cat. To that end we do what we can to prevent her from nibbling on the plants she isn’t supposed to. 

Vicki picked up cat grass and got it started for growing. She purchased Four Paws Vita-Greens Kitty Grass, which contains barley, oats and wheat grass. It was simple to set up. It came with a container (cat-friendly of course). You start by putting half the soil in the bowl. Next of course comes the seeds on top of the soil, and then add the last of the soil. We watered the cat grass and placed it where it can get some sun. Now we just wait for it to grow. Vicki planted her seeds on Sunday and two days later there are sprouts. (Look at how great that black dirt is! Don’t you want to just get your hands in there? I do.)

When done this will be grass that Sasha can nibble on, roll in, rub on and essentially destroy if she wants. It will keep her from getting into the other house plants that my husband has nurtured. 

Vicki bought a kit which included the dish and a refill for less than $15. This will be an economical way to meet Sasha’s need for green grass. Plus, it gives me a sense that we are participating in the cycle of seasons with starting our new growing plan.  It also keeps me out of trouble with Mother Nature because Vicki did the gardening and Sasha will do the destroying. 

More on the container gardening as we attempt it.

* All pictures of the product taken by Vicki Troemel

  • Published on Mar 13, 2012
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