Thursday, May 03, 2007

Brussel Sprouts à la Cayenne

Our little veggie patch is in full gear right now. We jammed it full of spinach, turnips, beets, radicchio, mesclun mix and brussel sprouts. The sprouts were started in the greenhouse so they have a leg up on the rest. Still, the others are humming along quite nicely, and I expect we'll be harvesting greens in no time.

This weekend I armed myself with cayenne pepper and gave the veggie patch a good seasoning. Deer aren't the issue in my neck of the "woods." Instead, we battle stray cats. From what I hear, they're not ones for spice. Let's hope it's so. Does anyone else have any suggestions for keeping strays at bay?


Marc said...


I recently discovered your blog via Garden Voices. I am also a gardener and so I enjoy reading about the good and the bad of all things growing.

Cayenne is good for doing this, but it's a bit expensive, and nothing like this lasts beyond a couple of rains (or in my case, two cycles of my sprinkler system). So, I use a mixture of 4:1 black pepper to cayenne to keep the neighbors' cats out of my garden areas, esp. the males, who mark everything and make it stink to high heaven.

Black pepper is often much cheaper and routinely found in bulk (I buy it in the 14-oz size) and the 4:1 mixture seems to work great. I used to have a real problem with the smell of male cat urine as you approached the door to my home (very uninviting!), because the next-door neighbor's very aggressive male cat was trying to mark our yard as his territory to bully our two cats. I would spray him with a water gun when I would see him in the yard, but that never seemed to deter him, as I would hear the loud yowling coming from our yard at least once a week, indicating a catfight with our cats.

Once I started using the black pepper-cayenne mixture, the neighbor cat pretty much avoids our yard and, as a bonus, I can also use it to control where my cats choose to do their business...because my cats are aggravatingly un-catlike in their bathroom habits and don't cover their messes.

To get the most pepper for the least money, I usually go to Wal-Mart, or use the off-brands or the Latin brands from the supermarket. The cats don't seem to know the difference in quality between McCormick/Schilling and Badia.

BrokenMountain said...

Aha ... I'm new to this vegetable growing lark, and am currently experiencing similar problems (both with our cats and the neighbours). I shall try this out and see if it works. Hope it mixes well with my organic slug pellets!