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Keeping Cats out of your Raised Bed

A Build-a-Garden participant recently asked:

My vegetables are starting to grow (which is great!) but the neighborhood cats (feral but fed by kindly people) are using the raised garden beds as a litter box! I've tried a bunch of different suggestions that I found online (bamboo skewers, foil balls, cinnamon, coffee grounds, citrus peels...) but nothing seems to help. I saw a device that is like a sprinkler with a motion detector that would probably work but it cost $53.00:( Do you have any ideas that are cheaper than this.

Reply by Kathleen

Cats can be a pain in the garden, as much as I love them!

When plants are little, you could use remay/row cover (a fabric that allows light and water in but keeps out pests and protects plants) - or set up hoops on the edges of the bed and then put the remay over the hoops. It's not that easy to find remay in small amounts (it's usually sold in big rolls for farms). We're hoping to sell small pieces of it at next year's City Farm Fest. For now, you could buy a small amount for a reasonable price from gardeners.com.

You could also see if putting up a small fence around the raised bed helps. Use fencing that does not block too much light, like a chicken wire fence. Here's a picture of a chicken wire fence on a raised bed: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3571/3386791542_cdcb2b8629.jpg

Also, someone once told me that staking chicken wire flat around the bed keeps cats away because they don't like to walk on it but I've never tried it myself.

Please share your ideas if you have others!

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