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Thread: Wheat Grass/Cat Grass: Growing Tips?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Wheat Grass/Cat Grass: Growing Tips?

    So, my new roommate has two cats. Unfortunately, at least one of them is a chewer and likes to go after my plants when she's not satisfied with the food in her bowl. Her preferences seem to alternate between my expensive plants and my poisonous plants (with a side of my sentimentally-valuable plants.) I suggested growing wheat grass to appease my new furry overlords and my roommate concurs. But the stuff at my grocery store is small and kind of expensive for the size, so I got two kitty litter trays and three pounds of wheat berries. Does anyone grow their own wheat grass? I'm reading up on it but I'm wondering if anybody has some hints, particularly for growing it on a larger scale. I'm thinking it might be fruitful to experiment with APS once I have a healthy colony going. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
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    My kitties love oat/wheat grass and it makes them leave my good plants alone - except flower stalks on things outside like Haworthias, those are just too tempting I guess with their wobble when the wind blows. Hide the stuff they just won't leave alone inbetween a couple pots of spikey cactus, they will leave those alone!

    What's APS?

    For my cat grass farming I use those "take alongs" food containers that are 6" x 6" and about 2" deep. I just fill them with plain old bagged Hoffman's seedling mix (peat, perlite & limestone). I don't have drain holes in the cat grass tubs cos the grass grows very quickly and sucks up a lot of water. Add a good sprinkle of seeds on a 1 3/4" deep bed of seedling mix and cover the seed completely but lightly with more seedling mix and press it down gently so it all makes good contact. Then get it plenty wet (so the soil glistens) and then cover with a plate and set in a warm dark spot for 2-3 days for germination. I set the tub ontop the microwave since that gives a gentle bottom heat off/on during germination. Once it sprouts put it in some good light (where the cats can't get it yet) and give it to the cats when it's about 3-4" tall (only two days in direct sun). I put it on the patio in the sun since they're out there most of the summer anyway. In winter I put it by their window. Don't sow too many seeds it chokes itself out too soon and the cats won't really eat THAT much. But if you use too few seeds the cats will mow it all down in one sitting. After you sow a few pots you get a feel for how much to plant each time. I say a "good sprinkle" but that means like 2 - 3 tea spoons probably.

    I plant on the containers on payday weekend (sat or sun) and give to the cats on the next thursday when the grass is 3-4" tall. Stagger your plantings every 2 weeks because it doesn't live very long (3 weeks). Don't forget to water it at least once a week, more in hot summer sun. The cats don't seem to like it when it's real tall, maybe it gets tough? They love the new short sprouts though! Anna my female cat really goes into a panic when the grass starts dying off, she lets me know cos she's always eating it after every meal.

  3. #3
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    APS -> Aquatic Plant Soil. Schultz's brand name for fired ceramic chips. It makes a good substitute for perlite, as it has similar water-holding properties but doesn't float and resists crushing.
    I soaked enough seed to cover each of two small kitty litter trays. (About 10"x18" I guess? I'm a bad judge of distances.) My roommate has a juicer so we can use any excess for wheatgrass juice. I was going to try germinating them on paper towels as is suggested in many of the how-tos I found, but peat and perlite has a familiar appeal... My peat has been outside in the elements for a while now though, so I'd have to sterilize it.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    I use a small container, about 3" in diameter. Fill it with 1" of potting soil. Dump small amount of wheat grass seeds in a cup of water. When I see that the seeds have germinated (takes only a few days), i spread a thick coat of the seeds onto the container I prepared. I found that if I cover it, fungus grows rapidly, so now I just leave it uncovered. When they're around 3" tall, I transplant to bigger pot. I have more grass than my kitty can eat.
    larry
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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Hahaha, I just checked the seeds I soaked and they've expanded to like four or five cups. Looks like I'll be learning about the effects of crowding for this attempt...
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Oh, you mean "Cactus soil"! That's what I use the Shultz APS for. I always just call it "the Shultz Product" cos they sell it as Aquatic Plant Soil and also "Clay Soil Conditioner" for twice the price. Same stuff 100% Arcyllite clay. They should be gardening product pioneers and sell it as "Premium Succulent Soil". It'd be the only pre-bagged one that doesn't kill your succulents and grow fungus gnats!

    I dunno if it'll work for the cat grass, though I'll admit I've never tried. Since it gets dumped so quick (3 weeks) I use the cheapest thing on hand.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    That's a good point. I think I'll try one batch on paper towels and sterilize some peat and perlite for the other.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    swords's Avatar
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    Why are you bothering to sterilize it or germinate it separately? Are you going to be experimenting with the sprouts somehow that necessitates sterile conditions?

    For the cats tubs I just do the whole procedure in a couple mins while my coffee is reheating in the microwave. They won't cut down to the soil and eat any of that if that's what you're worried about. Though my old dog used to love taking a big mouthful of potting soil out of any pots she could get at. It never killed her though I can't imagine why she'd want to eat it in the first place!

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