Preventing cats from digging in garden

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Q: There’s a strip alongside my new apartment building that is ideal for a garden. The spot faces east so it gets the morning sun all year round and is sheltered by the building in the afternoon when garden is in the shade. I live in the north with -40 temp. in winter, is hot in summer and would like to plant a few vegetables and/or flowers for summer/fall, but we have a wild cat problem.

I’m reluctant to dig up ground because of the cats, as they mess all around the area. I was thinking of getting ground ready and then just covering with row cover that is secured into the ground.

What else can I do to stop cats from digging in garden? Are there any plants that can be grown to deter them?

I think that covering the little garden with floating row cover would be your best bet. You can fold over the edge of the row cover (to make it thicker) and then staple the edge to a wooden lath. This will keep the row cover tight to the soil so that the cats can’t get underneath it to dig.

Once the plants get tall, you can put bamboo stakes in the ground at intervals to keep the floating row cover up off the plants. Take this into account when you cut the row cover. Row cover also prevents insect pests, such as carrot rust fly, from getting at your crops.

The other option would be to make a curved cover with metal mesh – either hardware cloth, which has smaller holes, or “stucco mesh,” which has larger holes, but still smaller than a cat! Or, if the garden is backed against the building, you may be able to make a wire fence along the other side and the ends.

Best wishes!