Saturday, December 4, 2010

Natural Interventions

Enjoyment comes from figuring out solutions for irritating situations that happen in our gardens.  I have had a lot of frustration over the past couple months with a neighbor's dog that keeps urinating on the grounds.  It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't that musky dog pee smell.  After some research, here is what I have found that works which will naturally keep dogs and feral cats from using your grounds as a bathroom.  There are many other ways to combat these issues, but here are the cheap or near free solutions that have worked for me. This is only when communication isn't working.  I tried speaking to this owner several times, but he didn't care....this led me to my investigations.  I can now leave my screen door open and let the fresh air in again:)

Cayenne Pepper and Coffee Grounds make a potent deterrent against unwanted animal waste in your garden

For feral cats.  When I first moved to the gardens, feral cats owned the area by using every dead planter and sandy areas for their kitty litter use (and to raise more feral cats).  To deal with this issue, it is quite simple.  Bark mulch is a deterrent as they don't like bumpy ground to walk on nor do they like coffee grounds for the smell.  Let me stress the miracle of coffee grounds!  Okay I've stressed the importance of this very free deterrent.  Where can you get coffee grounds in mass?  Easy....many local and international coffee chains offer "Grounds for the Garden".  If they aren't out for you to grab in large bags inside of bins, ask for them and most of the time, they will gladly give them away.  Well most places are wonderful this way because it's one less thing they have to clean up at the end of the day.  Simply sprinkle the grounds in the areas that you don't want the cats to use and you'll see a change happen rather quickly. Well it worked for more feral cats on our grounds anymore...they moved to the neighbor's areas:)

How can something so cute, be deadly?

For dogs.  If you are a dog person, you should always pick up after your dog during walks. Somehow I think most people that post on this already do so....but it's the ones who don't care(even after speaking with them!) and allow the dogs to use the bathroom anywhere that drive me crazy.  It's simple for the dog owners as they let the dog use the bathroom and walk away.  For me, it's like they are giving me the middle finger when they disrespect homeowners in this manner.  But there is a solution.....without using weapons or screaming at the irresponsible dog owner....:)  Examine the subject.....a dog.  What does a dog do? Sniff.  And what deters that?  Cayenne pepper.  And it works.....but just to be sure, I added coffee grounds:)  However the orange powder, sent a message to the dog owner not to use my area for many times, they don't know what the orange color is and just to be cautious, they pull their dog away from the area thinking it could be poison. Sad that people resort to this as I don't approve of these methods, but the use of fear here is important when dealing with a dog owner.  Some things are mental mind games while others will make the dog sneeze and not want to use the area.  Try them out and see if they work. They did for me. Some of you may object to this and I understand as I live with 5 cats....2 were feral from my yard as I addressed the feral cat issue awhile back....but there is nothing worse than putting your hands into poop while digging or trying to plant something into the you can get sick from it as some cats or dogs carry parasites/bacteria that will send you to the hospital and/or give you a lifelong skin disease.  These are some things that I use in my own gardens to prevent animals from using our grounds as a "dumping" ground.  Until next time, Happy Gardening!


  1. Dear Rohrerbot, Living in an urban area, I can certainly sympathise with you about unwanted cats and dogs straying into the garden. I have used ash from an open fire as a remarkable deterrent for cats [and indeed slugs] and assume that it is the same effect as your coffee grounds- too much irritating grit. I have not had any bother from dogs so cannot know if your cayenne pepper trick would work but I shall pass the tip on to others.

  2. Ash! I had never thought of that....this is why I love blogging so much. I learn even more from these postings. Thank you for the tip and hope all is well in your neck of the woods:).


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