Les’s Patch column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

You know that seed bed you’ve just spent hours digging and smoothing.

To you it’s your new lawn or flower patch. To a cat it’s toilet heaven, that’s how a cat sees it. Newly worked areas of soil are like magnets to moggies.

To deter cats you could opt for one of the many products available from garden centres but here are some other ideas.

Spread crushed mothballs on the soil; soak old tea bags in strong disinfectant and spread these around the seed bed; or gather all your old CDs and stand them upright in the soil and as the cats see their own reflection they beat a hasty retreat.

Some people swear by the idea of burying ammonia bottles up to their necks in the seed beds as the ammonia smell is like strong urine and is said to keep the moggies at bay.

Try any one of these ideas, but they are not guaranteed to work. The process I use is certain to keep cats off the garden.

Add four tablespoons of Armillatox to a full watering can and with the rose on the can water the mixture over the soil and I can guarantee no cat will go near.

Of course if it rains hard the process will need to be repeated but it only takes a couple of minutes.

Just one tip, always add the Armillatox to the water and not the other way round or you will end up with a watering can full of froth.

Have you ever noticed how pretty some vegetables are? If you haven’t got space for a separate vegetable plot why not grow some in the flower beds?

As long as they have enough light lettuces are great at filling in the space between other plants.

With their frilly leaves some even look like flowers.

Sweet corn looks like an exotic ornamental grass. Plant in blocks rather than rows as sweet corn is wind pollinated, which means the pollen must be blown from one plant to another rather than carried by bees.

With its decorative thick red or yellow stems, Swiss chard is much too good looking to confine to the vegetable plot – grow it as an edible ornamental among the flowers.

A Savoy cabbage also looks well in the flower garden, and runner beans or sweet peas can be grown as a backdrop to flowers.

Either grow them in a row or even up a wigwam of canes. Leeks are a must in amongst the flowers, with their green leaves.


For the first lawn cut of the season use an old blade in the mower so that any stones that may have found their way into the grass don’t ruin a new blade.

House plants suffer with the drying effect of central heating. To counter this there are a couple of things that can be done. Stand the plants in saucers with a few pebbles and some water which will create a moist affect around the plants, or mist the leaves of the plants with a fine spray of water.