Cat Grass Growing
Well, let us learn today about Cat Grass Growing Process, Methods, and Steps involved.
Cat grass which is scientifically called as “Dactylis glomerata” is also termed as “Orchard grass”. Cat grass got its name as it is very well-known for its usage in terms of domestic cats. Cat grass is the species of grass which belongs to the genus Dactylis. Cat grass is a perennial species and also a which grows well in cold temperatures. This cat grass is a native of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and North Africa.
Cat grass is a term which is used for the description of several varieties of grass which are more popular with domestic cats. This grass is safe for the cats for eating as it is non-toxic.
Domestic cats will not have the digestive enzymes which are required to digest the grass completely. Because of this, they vomit the grass. In the process of vomiting, they bring the products which are indigestible such as bones of the prey, feathers, hair. etc.
Advantages of Cat Grass Growing:
- Eating the cat grass more often will have good health benefits for your cats. Though your cat is supplied with healthy and nutritional food, your cat will like to eat some grass and chew it as the cats like grass. Thought the cats love to eat meat, they always eat grass at the end and they get adopted in that way.
- The cats which eat cat food available commercially have all the nutrients required to them. But in the end, they eat the grass so that the digestion process gets speeded up.
- The cats which eat a lot of cat grass indicates that it lacks the quantity of fibre in it and hence, the input of greens have to be increased in such situations.
- Another advantage of cat grass is that it leads to vomiting. The cats will mostly eat the grass when they eat the foods which are not digested such as meat, hair etc. They do not chew the grass so that it leads to vomiting as it tickles its stomach. Cat grass will save the cat from any toxic substance consumed.
- Cat grass is one of the sources of fibre and will help in the treatment or prevention of diarrhoea or constipation.
- By eating the grass, cats can also bring out or cough the balls of hair if consumed. Cats have a habit of cleaning themselves with the help of their tongue and in this process, so much of hair gets ingested. Because of this, the formation of hairballs takes place in the stomach of the cat which makes him uncomfortable. Cats are generally habituated in coughing out the hairballs, but sometimes where it is difficult for the cat to cough out the hairball, cat grass helps.
- Cat grass is a source of Vitamin B and Niacin. Cat grass can also be used as a supplement of diet.
Cat Grass Growing Indoors:
Requirements for Cat Grass Growing
In order to grow the cat grass, a perfect container is required. It would be good if the container is in the shape of a window box. The other things you will require are organic soil which is sterilized, plastic wrap, water, seeds of cat grass. Usage of organic soil is very important in order to provide your cat with grass which is healthy and also safe to dig. There is no need to use any sort of fertilizer as the grass grows and dies in a span of very few weeks by itself.
- For growing cat grass indoors, you can sow any time of the year.
- You need to sow the seeds at a depth of 1/4th inch in seed starting formula at the place where the plants will grow.
- The soil should be kept moist at 21°C and then the seedlings start emerging within one or two weeks.
- As the seedlings start emerging, you must provide them with abundant light by putting them near the window where the sunlight is available or else you need to grow the seedlings 4 inches below the fluorescent lights of the plant and turn them on for at least 15 hours a day. At night, the lights should be off for at least 8 hours. Increase the lights as the plants start growing taller.
- Do not keep the lights on continuously for 24 hours because most of the cat grass plants will require some darkness for their growth. Do not use incandescent bulbs as they are very hot.
Germination and Growth of Cat Grass:
- You need to spill the water with a sprayer or manually to maintain moisture in the soil. This has to be done in a gentle way or there is a chance of the seeds getting dispersed. Once the soil is moisturized in an even manner, you will need to cover the container by using a plastic wrap. You can put some gaps on the wrap to allow the flow of air. The container should be kept in a dark place where the temperature is cool for the germination of seeds to take place.
- Within two to three days, you will be seeing the small sprouts emerging. Make sure that the soil is enough moist, carefully remove the plastic wrap and keep the pot in the whatever spot you wish. The pot should be kept in a place where the sprouts which are germinating will be able to receive sunlight.
- You need to wait for another week or ten days to see the growth of grass at a height of 5 If the cat grass grows above 6 inches of height, there is a chance that your pet cat picks up the plants and destroys the garden.
Tips for Cat Grass Growing indoors:
- Prior to sprouting, the seeds should be kept moist, but make sure that you are not soaking them in water.
- After sprouting is done, decrease watering the plants to maintain slight moisture in them.
- If you want your cat grass to grow well, then keep it in an area which is well-lit naturally.
- Do not over water the plants.
- When you see the cat grass turning wilt or changing colour, start planting it again.
Cat Grass Growing In Garden:
- You need to sow the cat grass seeds in the spring season when you are growing them in outdoor locations.
- Weeds have to remove and inject organic matter in the top of the soil up to 8 inches. After that, level up the soil and smoothen it.
- Now, start sowing the seeds at a depth of ¼ inch in rows with a distance of 1 inch.
- Lightly firm the soil and keep it moist in an even manner.
- You can see the rise of seedlings within one or two weeks.
- You need to control the weeds at the time of growing. Weeds will compete with the plants for nutrients, water, space. So it is very important to control the weeds or prevent them by mulching so that their seeds can be prevented from getting germinated.
- To get the best results, you should water the plants whenever the soil surface gets dried.
- Again sow the seeds so that you can maintain the grass vibrant for months.
- Again trim at a depth of 1 inch in the second week for the promotion of fresh plant growth.
- Cat grass will grow very rapidly after getting nibbled.
- You need to take care of pests and diseases.
Pests and Diseases in Cat Grass Growing:
Nematodes: These are microscopic pests which look like worms which will cause swelling so that the roots can be formed. This will lead to wilted plants.
To avoid this, make sure that you are not planting in the soil which is infested. You can also plant Nema-Gone marigolds around the plants in your garden. Also, prefer to choose to plant in containers.
Damping Off: This is a common problem at the starting stage of the plant when it is in the form of seed. The seedling will appear and it starts to appear healthy. After that, it gets wilt and slowly dies and there would be no specific reason for this. The reason for this is a fungus. This fungus will be active when there is more amount of moisture in the soil and when the temperature is 20°C. This is an indication that the soil is very wet or it contains nitrogen in large amount.
To avoid this situation, you need to keep the seedlings moisturized. But make sure that you are not over watering or over fertilizing them. Make the seeds thin so that overcrowding can be avoided. You need to ensure that the air is getting circulated in it. If you are planting in a container, you need tow ah them with soap water thoroughly and later rinse them in a solution of bleach.
Whitefly: These are very tiny insects which fly. These can be seen suddenly rising up when there is any sort of disturbance in the plants.
To avoid these, you need to make use of chemicals as they are very tough to control. You can use a soap which has insecticides in it or you can use pepper wax.
Wireworms: Wireworms are the insects which live in the soil causing death to the seedlings. They kill them encircling their stems at the line of soil, then by boring into the steps, tubers and finally roots. You can see them encircling the stems in the soil. These will be a ¾ inch in length. They are also thin and yellow-brown in colour and their skin will also be shining. The adult wireworms will have the length if a ⅓ inch and their colour is reddish-brown. They have a hard shell.
To avoid this, follow crop rotation.
Powdery Mildew: This is a disease caused by a fungus which usually occurs on the leaf tops when the weather conditions are humid. The appearance of the surface of the leaves will be grey or white in colour and they also curl.
To avoid this, provide the plants with a very good circulation of air. This would be possible with better spacing and pruning.
Smut: Smut is a fungus which leads to streaks on leaves which get matured into spores which are powdery and black. Smut will stunt the plant’s growth. The disease which is caused will stay in the soil for many years.
To avoid this, promote crop rotation and make sure that you are not planting in the same location for at least four years. Water the plants regularly to get the growth quickly and fertilize the plants to get them into the stage where they sustain. Few fungicides are very effective.
Aphids: Aphids are the insects which are in various colours including red, green, black and peach. These insects will spread the disease when they start feeding on the leaf undersides. These insects will leave a residue which is sticky. This residue is left on the foliage which later attracts the ants.
Armyworm: The holes which appear on the leaves will be single or you can see a group of holes together. The clusters of eggs will be seen on the foliage which appears to be fuzzy. The larvae when young will appear pale green in colour and the adults will appear dark along with a line which is light.
To avoid these, you need to add natural enemies to the growing area.
Rust: There are a number of diseases which are caused by a fungus which in turn result in spots which are rust coloured on the foliage.
To avoid rust, you need to first remove the plants which are infected.
Safe cat grass to eat for cats:
- Orchard grass which is scientifically called as Dactylis glomerata.
- Common oat grass which is scientifically called as Avena Sativa.
- Barley which is scientifically called as Hordeum vulgare.
- Wheatgrass which is scientifically called as Triticum aestivum.
Read: Lemon Grass Cultivation.