June Catnip Harvest

By Julie Sews - 6:45:00 PM

June Catnip harvest Check out how it took over our whole counter
So our cat is seriously spoiled as you can see.  I harvested our catnip because it was so high it was blocking our view in our windows and drowning our bushes.  We had already harvested some of the tallest ones a few weeks ago.  I think we already have all the catnip Mr cat could want for the year.

I'm contemplating replacing our current catnip with low catnip (would look prettier and be less maintance) or we could just try to keep it contained (maybe even taking some out and donating to friends with cats) since we do get more catnip per sq ft with our current tall plants.  I thought I'd be able to dehydrate all of the catnip in a few hours, boy was I wrong.  I use our microwave to dehydrate it you can see how in this post.  It's been days and I still haven't finished. I think what's taking me so long is I have been separating out the leaves from the stems.  If you look at the pictures of our catnip harvest you can only imagine that would take along time!

 I'm learning the longer we homestead that we constantly have to analyze if we're as productive as we can be with both our time and land.  I'm finding the best way to do this is to pay attention how long it takes me to do tasks like harvesting and preserving.  In this case the question is should we devote more time and land to growing more catnip than Mr Cat (and our friends with cats) need?  I know you can use it for tea, and medicinal purposes too so I think I'll play around with that before I decide what to do for next year.   I am contemplating for now since dehydrating is taking too much of my time on just doing it the old fashioned way from now on and hanging it upside down to air dry and then crushing the leaves into a bag to separate the leaves from the stems.  How do you dehydrate your herbs? 


Mr Cat was so funny when he saw the harvest.  He knew right away what it was and proceeded to inspect, eat, play with it, and guard it for a long time.  He likes me to use cat nip stalks like his cat dancer toy, it's like a cat dancer toy he can eat that smells like catnip.  I shot a video of us playing below.  Now that's a homemade cat toy!
I've filled two plastic sandwich bags so far and still have a lot more to dehydrate, so far we have dehydrated about half of our harvest totaling 6 oz and I put the rest out to dry outside hanging upside down.

Update July 1 2012  I have finally figured out the most efficient way of dehydrating catnip:  
I figured this out be mere chance.  I was microwaving the whole stem to see if this would be faster, after taking to long I gave up and hung outside to dry.  I only nuked half of the catnip.  Turns out the half I nuked dried the next mourning while the half I didn't put in the microwave never dried completely even a week later.  Here's what I did:
  • Nuke a batch of whole branchs of cat nip at a time for two 3 1/2 minute intervals while your in the kitchen (you don't want to have the catnip in the microwave for too long at a time or unattended to ensure the catnip doesn't get too dry and start on fire.  I did have a spark once start once but I think it was due to the fact I placed a paper towel under the catnip.  Nothing happened luckily).
  • Your catnip shoud not be dry yet, but what you are doing is starting the process which will speed it up.
  • Hang your catnip outside upside down if the weather will be dry and your able to otherwise hang upside down inside in a less humid part of the house.
  • Your Catnip or herbs should be dry in 1-2 days take your catnip down once so dry it crumbles at the touch
  • To process take your dried catnip and place in a brown paper grocery bag.  
  • Strip the catnip leaves from the stems with your hands letting the leaves fall into the bag and discard the stems. 
  • Once done with that step for all of your catnip, check visually and with your hands for any missed stems and discard
  • You know can scoop up the cat nip and place into a PVC free plastic sandwich bag and crush with your hands.  Fill as many baggies as you can.  Once you've gotten all the catnip you can out of the bag, don't forget to let your cat play in the bag if you have a cat.  Mr Cat sure had fun eating catnip out of a paper bag (see below pic)!  Happy Birthday Mr Cat (it actually was his birthday!)
Mr Cat's Birthday Gift Catnip in a paper bag

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