The Q&A Archives: organic cat plant repellent, lawn mower, fertilizer

Question: I have a few questions. I would like to purchase these products from Home Depot and would like your advise on the best products for my needs.

1. Organic repellent spray for cats eating plants.

I am looking for an organic spray for outdoor plants that will stop my cats from eating my plants. One that was recommended was Bonide Organic Repels-All Animal Repellent Spray. Do you carry it or would you recommend another that you do carry- must be organic.

2. Lawn mower.
I have a very very small lawn in my NYC backyard.
- I have a small space with not much storage
so it needs to be small.
- I have a back injury so it has to be light
- I would like it eco friendly
- needs to be inexpensive
I was reading about reel mowers. Would this be the best solution? Which one would you recommend?

I am a new gardener. I have perennials and young trees. I was told that I need to fertilize them.
Would you recommend a spray or one you place in soil? What brand type would you recommend?

Thank you so much.
Lara Knowlton

Answer: The Bonide product you listed contains dried blood and egg solids. The label describes it as organic. Please check directly with your local store to see if they have it in stock on hand or if they carry something else.

With a small lawn, a reel motor might be suitable however they are very strenuous to operate so you may not be able to do it if you have a bad back. You might consider an electric mower instead. I would suggest you try these out on an actual lawn to see if either one would be suitable for you.

Another option might be to go with a ground cover rather than lawn grass, this would be far lower maintenance in the long run.

Fertilizing should be done based on the results of soil tests. Soil testing will also tell you if it would be beneficial to add lime to correct the pH as well.

In general, though, you could use a top dressing of good quality compost and/or a slow release granular fertilizer with an analysis of 10-10-10 or similar proportions. Read and follow the directions on the label for how much to use.

Using an organic mulch will also help feed the soil slowly over time as it breaks down. In addition it will help hold down weeds and also reduce watering needs.

Enjoy your new garden!

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