Starting Seedlings In Kitty Litter

If you're looking for a non messy way to start seed, this is it.

I currently do not have a cat and I'm not familiar with all the different types of kitty litter. I do know there is a clay based litter and a crystals type.

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The crystals type I have contains oxygen which is released slowly. This is stated in the list of ingredients. It is an ideal, soilless medium for starting seed. Though you could use this kitty litter for sowing large amounts of seed, I find it perfect for starting small amounts of seed on a sunny window sill.

Just fill a small container (such as a pudding cup with drain holes), 3/4 full with litter. Sow seeds on top of litter and add more litter to cover seed. Place cup in another cup with no holes or use a saucer, etc.

Carefully add water to the seed cup so as not to disturb the seed. The litter will not hold water (and this is good), but it must always remain moist. I keep a small spray bottle filled with water nearby and spritz the seeds 2-3 times a day as needed.

You should have good success using this litter as it contains no harmful bacteria or other microbes which could cause damping off. When the seedlings have formed a good root system, they can be transplanted to their permanent location.

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April 9, 20180 found this helpful

Smart! And even though kitties poop in it, it kinda looks pretty.

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April 10, 20180 found this helpful

Ha Ha! You are too much, Friend Girl. Perhaps I should have stated 'Clean, unused kitty litter. Never considered someone might use the second hand stuff. Ghastly.

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April 2, 20190 found this helpful

Could you show us the results ? Because I don't believe that seeds will germinate in cat litter. Cat litter is made to dehydrate cat's poo and absorb urine by contact. A seed or plant first need is water and moisture and warmth and it will die if dehydrated because plant main constituant is water. Oxygen is a bleaching agent. Just take a look at the color of black shoes a few days after you have walked in the snow. Bleaching is not what seeds need to germinate. Cat's litter is supposed to contain antiseptic ingredients but seeds and plants actually needs bacteria and live with the help of bacteria. It is not the plants that turn leaves or pieces of vegetal and wood into soil it is, among others factors, the milliards of bacteria in the soil.

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Some others types of cat litters would even be worse as they contain lime, this is why it is written on the boxes to avoid breathing when pouring the litter into the box, or that litter has been made so that it will not produce dust when being poured. Lime dehydrating effect is extremely strong this is why it can cause terrible burns of the skin when you use cement with bare hands and seeds definitely can't germinate in lime. So like Saint Thomas I am waiting to see the pictures of seeds germinating in cats litter to believe that cat litter which purpose is to dehydrate and aseptise is perfect to start plants.

PS : I live with 4 cats and for their confort and my health and my budget I keep informed about litter.

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April 1, 20200 found this helpful

Hey, Catherine,

Sorry it took so long to discover your reply.

I always enjoy your replies, and not just to my posts but to other's as well. You research, you're knowledgeable and you like proven facts rather than untested 'old wives tales'. I like that.

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It has been a long time since I bought that kitty litter. The only reason I bought it was because it was discontinued and marked to about 75% off.

First, you are right about the bacteria. Second, you are wrong about the bacteria. Just as in the Human gut, there are good and bad bacteria. That is to say, there are beneficial and harmful bacteria (harmful to Humans), in the gut. Only when the balance is shifted to too much harmful bacteria, is there a problem.

Within the soil are bacteria. Some beneficial and some harmful to plants. Too much of the harmful bacteria causes problems. One would be hard pressed to find a medium without at least a few bad bacteria, even heat treated mediums after exposure to the elements.

I thought I made my point clear on this issue when I mentioned, "No HARMFUL bacteria or other microbes which could cause damping off".

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Yer, kitty litter acts as a desiccant (drying agent). I addressed this subject as well. "Carefully add water to the seed cup so as not to disturb the seed.The litter will not hold water (and this is good), but it must always remain moist. I keep a small spray bottle filled with water nearby and spritz the seeds 2-3 times a day as needed".

Oxygen. To say oxygen is a bleaching agent is misleading. It can act as a catalyst to bleaching agents but only under certain circumstances. Oxygen is necessary for plant growth and of itself will not burn the plant, just as it does not burn the delicate tissues of the lung lining.

Lime. This product contained no lime. I mentioned it was a 'crystal form of kitty litter'. Also, it was practically dustless.

Bacteria. Yes, plants need bacteria to live. They do not need bacteria for their seeds to germinate. My point here was sprouting seed in kitty litter, not growing plants in it.

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('When the seedlings have formed a good root system, they can be transplanted to their permanent location').

Again, They do not need bacteria for their seeds to germinate'. Bean sprout seed, when germinated at home for home use, are rinsed as often as 2-3 times a day to keep as much bacteria rinsed away as is possible.

I think what you failed to keep in mind was that this was a crystal type litter. I don't think you are familiar with its properties and yet you spoke out against it so strongly. I don't remember what the crystals were composed of (maybe silica/sand). It was harmless to the seed.

I just researched this for you:

silica gel
Most cat litter crystals are composed of silica gel which is a combination of water, oxygen, and silica dioxide SAND. Clumping litter is sometimes the product of silica gel crystals and sodium bentonite.

CRYSTALS CAT LITTER | Ask The Cat Doctor
www.askthecatdoctor.com crystalscatlitter

I am sorry you had to wait so long to see, not evidence, but proof, that this kitty litter is a good germination medium. Actually, you didn't have to wait at all. Did you not take a close look at my picture? It clearly shows healthy, week old plants germinated in this kitty litter.

There is an old saying: No man is so blind as he who will not see'. If you will not see what is clearly right in front of you, I can not help you believe I was truthful.

"Oxygen is a bleaching agent. Just take a look at the color of black shoes a few days after you have walked in the snow".

Sorry Catherine. I've walked in a lot of snow while wearing black shoes. I have never had them bleached by oxygen in the snow.

As I doubt you were walking 5 miles through a pristine pastureland blanketed in snow, I would guess your walks are more in urbanized areas such as side walks, grocery store parking lots, etc. It is in these areas we often find the snow has been treated with salt to help it melt.

I have had salt residue on my boots. It caused them to appear lighter, as though they had been bleached.

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