With winter's grip firmly upon us, my cats are safely tucked inside until Spring. Which means my house plants are at risk! When the cats go outside they spend some time eating grass or nibbling on the catnip patch. Dogs do exactly the same thing although they seem to spend more time peeing on things (but that is a topic for another day).
First a note on houseplants. Most houseplants are under-story tropical (and sub-tropical) plants. That means they can thrive in the shadows under trees in the tropics. Which is why they thrive in your home. Your home provides filtered light at a fairly even temperature year round. The problem is most of these types of plants are poisonous to keep the critters living in those climates from eating them down to nubs. My cats don't know this. So occasionally they have a taste. Most of these plants taste so bad that the cats leave them alone after that. But not my spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum).
Spider plants are generally considered to be safe. Which means the cats cannot get enough of my poor spider plants when they are locked inside for winter.
Most other plants that are not toxic will not grow well indoors or have other quirks that make the plant undesirable to grow in my dinning room. I have occasionally put out bowls of chopped spinach and other dark leafy greens which the cats will eat. But the best solution to this problem is to grow wheat grass for the cats to eat.
As you might suspect, wheat grass is just WHEAT. Shockingly simple I know. Since we maintain a large supply of whole grains in our pantry (well the big closet downstairs turned into pantry #2), we can grow a variety of wheat types for the cats to enjoy.
I prefer to grow hard white wheat but my husband always grabs the hard red wheat. Whatever your choice, here is what you do.
Step 1:Get a small garden pot. Any pot will do but make sure it has drainage holes.
Fill the pot with potting mix about 3/4 the way. Do not fill it with dirt. Dirt is dead. Soil is not dead, but it is too heavy for use in a pot (top soil, garden soil, etc.) You want potting mix.
Step 3:Put wheat berries (which are wheat seeds or whole grain wheat) on top of the potting mix. Do not cover the wheat with the potting mix. Just let the wheat berries sit on top. This also allows you to watch the germination process which I personally think is super cool! You want one layer of the wheat berries but they can be pack in there pretty tight.
Step 4:Moisten the wheat berries. You do not need to "water" the pot. You want the wheat berries to stay damp but not wet. I mist mine with water a couple of times a day.
Step 5:Wait and watch. The wheat will sprout after just a day or two depending upon how warm your house is. Keep the wheat berries moist. Watch the wheat berries swell up with water then watch a little root pop out. The root will grown down into the potting mix. Next the wheat grass blade will start to grow. After 3 or 4 days from sprouting the wheat grass will be a couple of inches tall, and big enough to let the cats graze.
The wheat grass will only stay perky and happy looking for about 2 weeks.
Wheat needs full sun to grow and there is just not enough light inside your house, especially in winter. So plan on starting a new pot of wheat grass each week to have a constant supply for your pets.
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