This plant, which is one of the mint family, takes its name because of its particular attraction for cats. Young leaves and shoots also impart lemony-mintness to everyday cooking and to catnip tea. You harvest by cutting off the top leaves and flowers when the flowers begin to open in early summer. You can expect 3 harvests in a normal year.
Start Catnip seeds indoors near a sunny window 6 weeks before transplanting to the garden after danger of last frost. Or, if your area has a longer growing season, sow the Catnip herb seeds directly in the garden in full sun when frost danger is over and ground is warm. Make shallow furrows and cover the herb seeds 1/8 inch with loose soil. Thin or transplant the Catnip seedlings to 12 inches apart when they are 2 inches tall. Keep plants full by pinching the growing stems and flower buds when they appear. Harvest leaves by cutting the stems anytime during the growing season. The foliage keeps its scent best when air dried.
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