Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kitty Kounter Kulture (or Grow Your Own)

Catnip, nip, herb, know what I'm talking about.

Catnip is a herb that makes cat's high. As you know. Most cats get frisky and silly but a few are mean drunks. The effect lasts, oh, about 20 minutes before the kitty chills out. Some get the munchies and most will sort of nod out for a bit.
It's non-addictive (Right guys?) and no tolerance is built up even if used on a regular basis.
(Just to be safe, put a few days between each serious bender. You don't wanna be trying to score in an alley someday.)

About 75% of cats get high off nip. The rest are not interested. It's a genetic thing. Most cats under 6 months old don't respond which is ok because if you aren't old enough to roll your own, you're too young to hit it.

The magic in catnip is the oil nepetalactone or 4,7-dimethyl-5,6,7,7a-tetrahydrocyclopenta[c]pyran-1(4aH)-one.

^ This makes kitty happy! ^

How to Get It
The easiest way to get some is to buy it already processed from a reputable dealer. Just make sure it's fresh and has no fillers. (You don't want it cut with oregano unless you're making a pizza.)
You can even score on eBay.

And some garden centers have it already growing fresh in little pots. Very cool! (And some herb garden centers will even carry the aformentioned other kitty drug plants.)

The BEST Way
Grow your own!
Remember, catnip is a member of the mint family and can take over a garden, which is a good thing, of course. But you'll want to take that into consideration.

Soil and Sun
Catnip likes an average, well-drained soil and full to partial sun.

Sow seeds when the last frost is over or sow in the fall to sprout first thing in the spring. Catnip is perrenial and can grow for many years. In harsh climates you can treat it as an annual and sow it new each year.

Sow seeds about 1/8 inch deep and keep moist but not soggy. Baby plants called "seedlings" (cute name, huh) should pop up in abot 10-20 days. When the little plants are about 4-5 inches tall you can thin them to 15-20 inches apart.

The Secret to BUDS
When your little plants make the first set of true leaves, pinch the little stem that begins to grow from the middle of them. In a few days it will branch. Then, pinch those and on and on. Since catnip buds on the ends of the branches, more branches more BUDS!

The Shape of Things
You want to aim for a green, compact, and bushy plant. Too pale, too leggy and not dense means you need more light and more pinching.

Premium Nip
Just like grapes, if you want a sweet and strong harvest, grow it in sandy/well-drained soil and keep it on the dry side. Drench then let it dry between waterings. You want to encourage the nip to produce more oils. Yeah!

It's all good but buds are the best. Cut early in the day and hang the stems upside down in a shady place to dry. (Some of you looking for an especially potent treat can try fresh nip straight off the plant.)

Her's an awesome step by step diary of catnip culture by a kitty named Stella Click It!

For Peoples
Since peoples also read this blog, I know they're going "but what about ME?".
So I want you to know I haven't forgotten you. Yes, peoples can use catnip for a variety of things.
In fact, the online drug-bible Vaults of Erowid * has an entry about catnip!


* The Vaults of Erowid is a valuable source of information about drugs from caffiene to heroin. Even a non-user like my mommy finds the first-person experience stories very interesting. There's medical and scientific information and indentification. The site isn't biased pro or con and shows all angles.
So find out about the world around you and educate yourself. You may even find some everyday things you ingest are in Erowid's Vault.


Kea said...

I've never tried growing it, but might give it a go. I buy dried catnip buds and the fur family goes nuts for those. Makes Nicki more aggressive and mean, though, so I try not to give him any. Even a whiff of the stuff can send him into a frenzy; it's bizarre.

I must say, though, this post reminds me of one of my favourite movies, Saving Grace. They were growing a different weed, however. LOL.

The Creek Cats said...

Great post about the nip! Funny too! LOL!
We prefer the home grown variety.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

We quite like our yard grown nip

Your Daily Cute said...

I bet Pimp and Moo would love for me to grow them their own personal stash... Maybe I'll give it a shot!

Daisy said...

Christopher, you are very smart!

Angel and Kirby said...

Mom can't grow anything! So I guess there is no hope of us getting fresh!

Punapippuri said...

We love catnip here in Finland and I have my own pot outside which I check and guard whenever I can go outside. I am very worried about it though as it is under 50cm of snow right now. Do you think it will survive temperatures of -30'C ??? Best plant some fresh seeds inside soon to be sure.

Anonymous said...

High Paws to Chris!!!

Cheers and many purrs to your great posting on catnip! Lovely to read; even better to roll in it; I have been known to be seen in the alley for more so yes, I do require lots of the stuff! ha!
Hb of Wildboutbirds

Mookie said...

It's me and I bring the sunshine... Please have a look!!!

Brian said...

Wow Chris, I had no idea there was that much to it!

Alasandra said...

Mommy planted some in the yard and we 3 cats ate it all gone. So now the nip lives in the greenhouse. We likes to eat it when it is fresh. We save the rolling around for the dried nip. ~Artemisia, Socks, Scylla & Our doggie Fenris

PS: It is very strange but our doggie doesn't seem interested in the nip. (Sigh) we guesses this is why Mommy lets him guard the greenhouse.

Jacqueline said...

Great nip post, very informative and I love the picture=very funny!!

MedusaJ said...

I love that pic of you with this entry - it made me laugh out loud!

Mum wants me to be a nip-head but I can take it or leave it. I am a disappointment in the nip area!!

She has some seeds and will be growing her own, she's pretty good at growing her own ;)