I’ve always avoided planting catnip outside. I thought that it would attract cats to the garden to use my carefully fed organic beds as their toilet.
However, I’ve since learned that planting a border of catnip around a vegetable or flower garden is beneficial in so many different ways. Did you know that catnip is a natural pest control? It will repel flea beetles, flies, mosquitos, aphids, ants and weevils. And cats! They won’t venture into your garden beyond the catnip border – kind of like the poppy field in Wizard of Oz, catnip lulls them into a slumber at the edge of your veggies.
Of course, you could always plant a bed of catnip just for feline naps – the flowers attract bees, which, as we know, are needed to save the human race. And a segregated bed will contain the plants. Since they reseed themselves, catnip can take over if left to flower.
Catnip seedlings and young plants that haven’t been established yet are susceptible to being eaten to the ground by cats that just cannot resist the temptation. In that case, protect younger plants by covering them with an overturned basket or plant tray.
To use catnip against mosquitos (it’s been rumored to be more effective than Deet!), just pluck a leaf and rub it on exposed skin.