Cat-proof seed starting
February 19, 2019 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Recommend to me, please, your favorite seed starting/indoor growing kits. It absolutely must be cat-proof.

Our cats love eating any and all greenery that is inside the house. They will not preferentially choose cat grass if I put it out. Every time I try to start seeds indoors, they last until the tray covers come off and then all the tasty new sprouts get devoured almost immediately. They have eaten fully-grown jalapeno plants, peppers and all. They will not stop. They are insatiable.

That being said, I am still determined to start my vegetable garden indoors this year. I would like something that can fit around 50 seedlings, has grow lights, and maybe a timer or other amenities to keep it relatively hands-off. It must have some sort of protection against the cats. A curtain or something similar that is secured but easily openable by humans would probably work. A high shelf will not work, as the cats have climbed heights they otherwise had never been on to steal my plants. I would also like it to be easily disassembled and stored for the off-season if that's possible.
posted by backseatpilot to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're using grow lights, put your setup in a closet.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:44 AM on February 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

We live in an old building and there isn't space or electric outlets in the limited closet area we have. I'll need to put the setup in the living area somewhere.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:55 AM on February 19, 2019

How about something like this: Mini Greenhouse with plastic zip cover
posted by xo at 8:00 AM on February 19, 2019

You can also make something like the above with metro shelving and shower curtains, so you can have the exact size/space you need. That kept out my less-plant-obsessed kitties, but YMMV.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:24 AM on February 19, 2019

I have a storage bin from Target, with a hole cut in the lid to accommodate my grow light. I start with my seeds raised up on smaller bins and some styrofoam chunks to get the tray up close to the light, and then drop it down as the seedlings grow. This works well from a protection standpoint, the light creates a bit of heat, and I do have to prop the lid slightly to let some moisture out but that can be done in a way that a cat can't knock the lid off (or you can cut/melt some small holes in the lid and cover it if you need to trap the moisture in).

Mine's a little different (my light mounts on top) but I got the idea from this video.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:12 AM on February 19, 2019

As for lights, one of my boxes uses one of these, which I loathe because that pink light just goes directly to the anger center of my brain for some reason, and I wish I'd used one of the opaque storage bins (the one it's in right now is translucent green from the Christmas aisle and the light that comes out of it is STILL rage pink). The other, which I prefer, uses a bog-standard silver metal clip light from the hardware store and a daylight LED bulb.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 AM on February 19, 2019

Not a kit, but perhaps an old aquarium with a weighted top?
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:53 AM on February 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wire dog crate. You could try freecycle, Buy Nothing groups, and/or craigslist/free; I see them posted fairly often.
posted by theora55 at 10:45 AM on February 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's nothing absolutely cat proof... I tried using the guestroom tub for mine. The tub has a standard sliding door setup which I made inoperable via sticks in the track. Monster number one managed to jump up on the top bar; then into the tub. His exit must have been more difficult since I returned home to the shower blasting, the tub spout spun around and plant-lets thoroughly drowned. He was unrepentant.


The best solution I've found is a sealed plastic bin/container.
posted by mightshould at 5:36 PM on February 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

I use metro shelving for my starts. In your situation I would set up six or seven foot shelving with a shelf at the very top and bottomand then get a roll of plastic deer fence and zip tie the fencing around three sides. The front part is the most annoying, since you need to poke at plants basically every day. I would probably make some basic doors and also a frame out of 1x3s using a Kreg Jig, and zip tie additional deer fencing to those. Keep the doors closed with your favorite cat-proof fastening device.
posted by rockindata at 5:48 PM on February 19, 2019

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