What’s Inside: In this article I share my experience with growing cat grass in a self-watering cat grass kit. I share not one, not two, but three attempts, which is how many attempts it took to get things right. I tell you all about changes I made to the instructions that gave me spectacular results.
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When prepping, it’s important to prep not just for yourselves, but for your pets also. And while storing up lots of dry or canned pet food, not to mention kitty litter and other pet-related products is important, it’s also important to make sure you provide your pets with some fresh food as well. One way to do that is with pet grass. In this article, I’ll share my experience using the Handy Pantry Organic Self-Watering Cat Grass Kit. I’ll show you the step-by-step process, as well as the end result, and whether or not I recommend this particular cat grass kit.
Why Buy a Cat Grass Kit
When it comes to prepping, I tend to buy things in bulk, and lean toward DIY. But if you’ve never grown cat grass before, one of the best ways to get started with it is start with a kit. A kit has everything you need to get started, so you don’t need to buy the individual components of the kit.
Self-Watering Cat Grass Kit Instructions
In addition to that, a good cat grass kit will have excellent instructions, so you can learn the process of growing cat grass in a near fool-proof manner. In the image above, you can see the instructions that came with the Handy Pantry Organic Self-Watering Cat Grass Kit.
What I love about having such clear instructions is that it’s like having a guide by my side as I learn a new skill.
In the remainder of the article, I’ll demonstrate each of the steps, so hang tight.
Reusable Parts that Come with the Kit
One thing to look for when buying a cat grass kit is whether or not there are reusable parts. Naturally, some components of a cat grass kit such as the soil and seeds are one-time use, but other components can be used more than once.
In this particular case, here are the parts of the kit that can be reused multiple times:
- Water Catchment Tray
- Wicking Tray
- Humidity Dome
- Spray Bottle
One-Time Use Parts that Come with the Cat Grass Kit
As you can see, many of the parts of the kit are reusable, which makes the cost of the kit very reasonable. Thankfully, the parts of the kit that aren’t reusable are available at a good price. Here are the single-use products:
Step By Step Instructions for Growing Cat Grass – My First Attempt
As you’ll see as this article progresses, I ended up trying three different approaches with growing cat grass using the Organic Self Watering Cat Grass Kit. With the first attempt, I followed the instructions precisely as given on the box. That is what I share in this section – my first attempt.
As you’ll see, the first attempt didn’t work out too well, due to the use of too much water. In my second attempt, which you can read here, I used less water to hydrate the soil puck, but used the same amount of water in the water catchment tray. That approach yielded better results than following the instructions on the box. However, the yield wasn’t as good as I would have liked, again, because it used too much water.
Therefore, in my third attempt (which you can read here), I reduced the amount of water for hydrating the soil puck AND put less water in the water catchment tray. The final attempt led to spectacular results, and makes this a worthwhile cat grass kit to purchase.
But first, before I show you my success, I want to show you my failure. And for that, we’ll look at what happened when I followed the instructions precisely.
Step 1: Soaking the Seeds
You’ll start off by soaking the seeds for 4 to 12 hours. For this step, I used the humidity dome that came with the kit, but you can soak the seeds in any bowl or container.
Step 2: Add Water to the Water Catchment Tray
The next step is to put 1 1/3 cups of water in the water catchment tray.
Nest the Wicking Tray in the Water Catchment Tray
After putting the water in the water catchment tray, nest the wicking tray into the water catchment tray.
Step 3: Hydrate Soil Puck
The next step in the process is to add 1/2 cup of water to one soil puck.
This is the step where things got a little interesting for me. It seemed like there was too much water for the size of the soil puck. You can see how soupy the soil was. It wasn’t just damp, it was flooded.
Nevertheless, I proceeded to the next step.
Step 4: Add Soil and Seeds to Tray
Per the instructions, once you’ve hydrated the soil puck, place it into the wicking tray. Again, as you can see in the photo above, the soil was very wet. If anything, it became more wet when I put it into the wicking tray, because the water level in the water catchment tray was high enough that it flowed into the bottom of the wicking tray.
I then drained the water off of the soaked seeds, and evenly distributed them across the soil. As you can see, since the soil was so wet, many of the seeds sunk beneath the surface of the water.
In spite of my misgivings, I moved on to the next step.
Step 5: Add Humidity Cover
Using the included spray mister, I misted the inside of the humidity dome, and placed it over the seeds.
The instructions indicated that the humidity dome should be left on for two to three days.
The next day when I checked, the seeds were still drowning in the water-logged soil. I continued to check on the progress of the cat grass seeds for a few more days.
A few of the seeds sprouted, but not very many. The water level never decreased, and over time, small bubbles started to form on the surface of the water. At that point, I tossed the water soil and seeds, and washed all of the components of the kit.
The good news is that this kit is reusable, and has 3 soil pucks plus 3 packets of cat grass seeds, so that made it possible to give it another try.
Growing Cat Grass – 2nd Attempt
After the major fail with my first attempt at growing cat grass using the Handy Pantry Organic Self-Watering Cat Grass Kit, on the second attempt, I used less water.
I again followed the following steps as outlined in the organic cat grass kit.
- Soaked the seeds
- Added 1 1/2 cups water to the water catchment tray
- Nested the wicking tray in the catchment tray
- Hydrated the soil puck – but this time instead of using 1/2 cup of water, I used 1/4 cup of water.
- Placed the soil into the wicking tray and spread the previously soaked seeds over the soil. (I drained the seeds first.)
- Misted the humidity dome and place it over the cat grass kit.
The Difference that Using Less Water in the Cat Grass Kit Made
Here are a few photos to show the difference between that using less water in the soil made.
Less But More Dry Soil
With putting just 1/4 cup of water in the soil this time, I ended up with soil that was moist, but not soggy.
My only concern with it was that it seemed like it might be less soil than needed, but I decided to give it a try to see how it worked.
The Soil Became Wet
When I placed the wicking tray into the water catchment tray, the soil in the tray become very wet. Thankfully, while it seemed very wet, it wasn’t soupy like it had previously been. Still, as you can see in the image above, there was standing water in the corners of the wicking tray.
The Cat Grass Seeds Stayed on Top
In spite of the soil being very wet, when I distributed the cat grass seeds on top of the soil, they didn’t sink like they did with my first attempt. This gave me hope that in spite of the soil being very moist, that the amount of moisture wasn’t excessive, and that perhaps this time the cat grass would grow as it should.
The Cat Grass Grew
Cutting the amount of water used to hydrate the soil puck definitely helped. The cat grass did grow, as you’ll see in the photos below.
Day 3 of Growing Cat Grass – 2nd Attempt
On the beginning of the third day of my second attempt at growing cat grass, there was some growth. Since I had never grown cat grass before, I wasn’t sure if this was what should be happening at this point, but it was certainly better than my first attempt.
Day 4 of Growing Cat Grass – 2nd Attempt
In the above photo, you can see what the cat grass looked like at the beginning of day four. The cat grass was beginning to grow, and some of it was even beginning to green up. However, there wasn’t as much growth as I would have hoped for, but I was at least a little bit hopeful.
Also, if you look at the corners of the container, you may be able to see that there is still quite a bit of water in the container. The soil is still very wet.
Cat Grass, Day 7, Second Attempt
Above is a top view of what the cat grass looked like on day seven of this experiment. As you can see, cat grass was indeed growing. However, you can see how sparse the grass is. There are a lot of seeds that either didn’t germinate, or germinated, but didn’t develop properly.
In my opinion, with this second attempt, there was still the matter of too much water in the soil. In this second attempt, the cat grass obviously grew much better than the third attempt where the soil was not just wet, but soupy.
Growing Cat Grass – 3rd Attempt
Based on the results of my first and second attempt, I concluded that most likely, I’d have good success if I not only used only 1/4 cup of water to hydrate the puck, but also put less water in the water catchment tray than the instructions called for.
So now let’s take a look at what happens when I use less water than the instructions call for for rehydrating the soil puck, as well as less water in the water catchment tray.
To make things clear, I’m going to do this step-by-step, based on the instructions on the box – with the exception of changing the amount of water.
Step 1: Soak the Cat Grass Seeds
I again soaked the cat grass seeds, this time overnight, or about 10 hours.
Step 2: Add Water to the Water Catchment Tray
The second step of growing cat grass using the Self-Watering Cat Grass Kit is to put water into the water catchment tray. According to the instructions, you should add 1 1/2 cups of water to the tray. But my previous experience showed that when I put the entire cup and a half of water in the water catchment tray, it flooded the wicking tray, resulting in soggy soil.
So this time, I only added 1 cup of water to the water catchment tray.
Note that I didn’t take a photo of this because it was hard to see the water in the tray. Obviously, the water level in the tray was lower since I reduced the water by one third.
Put the wicking Tray in the Water Catchment Tray
After adding water to the water catchment tray, I nested the wicking tray into the water catchment tray.
The good news is, with using only one cup of water in the water catchment tray, when you put the wicking tray in the water catchment tray, the water level in the water catchment tray is below the bottom of the wicking tray.
Now to be clear, the wicks still go into the water – which you want, because the wicks draw water into the soil, and keep it watered throughout the grow cycle. The wicks are what make the kit self-watering, so they need to be wet. The main thing to avoid is having so much water in the water catchment tray that it floods into the wicking tray.
By using only one cup of water in the water catchment tray, the water level if the water catchment tray was below the bottom of the wicking tray when I nested the wicking tray into the water catchment tray.
Step 3: Hydrate the Soil Puck
To a single soil puck, I added 1/4 cup of water – instead of the 1/2 cup of water the instructions called for. In the image above, you can see what it looked like shortly after I added the water, when the puck just started hydrating.
Above is what the soil looked like after all of the water was absorbed. As you can see, it looks pretty wet. A couple of minutes later the soil was still very moist, but not overly soupy.
I wasn’t as concerned about the amount of water in the soil since I put less water in the water catchment tray.
Step 4: Add the Soil and Seeds to the Tray
Here’s what the cat grass seeds looked like after I put them on the soil. As you can see, even though the soil was moist, no seeds were covered with water.
There is a very small amount of standing water in the very corners of the tray, but overall, while the soil is very moist, it’s not sopping wet.
Step 5: Add the Humidity Cover
At this point, I used the little spray bottle to mist the inside of the humidity dome and place it over the top of the tray.
With the previous two attempts, the humidity dome may have caused more harm than good, since there was so much moisture. But this time, since I cut the amount of water in the water catchment tray from 1 1/2 cups to 1 cup, it seemed that holding in some moisture may be a good thing.
Now let’s look at how the cat grass kit does with less water used the hydrate the puck AND less water in the water catchment tray.
In the above photo, you can see what the cat grass seeds looked like about 24 hours after planting. Many of the seeds had germinated.
Also, while it was difficult to touch much of the soil, I didn’t see any standing water, and while the soil appeared to be moist, it wasn’t sopping wet.
By the third day, the cat grass was getting taller, and some of the blades of grass were turning green.
Expose the Cat Grass to Light
At this point, it was time to remove the humidity dome, and expose the cat grass to light. Initially I put the on the table, where it got very little light. It was greening up okay, but I happened to think that I had an AeroGarden Harvest (Amazon) that I wasn’t currently using, and so I decided to place the cat grass under the grow light.
In the image above, you can see how lush and green the cat gras was after about five days of growth.
Successfully Growing Cat Grass Using a Cat Grass Kit
You know what they say – third time’s the charm. As you can see in the photo above as well as the photos below, the cat grass grew spectacularly well, once I reduced the amount of water.
I have no idea why the instructions call for so much water, because other than that, all of the instructions as well as the results were fantastic.
Beautiful, thick cat grass, about seven days after planting.
The top view of the cat grass – so nice and thick, especially when compared to the second attempt. (See the comparison below.)
Verdict on Whether Buying a Cat Grass Kit is Worth It
Considering that my first attempt at using the Handy Pantry Organic Self-Watering Cat Grass Kit was a dismal failure, I initially had my doubts about whether or not it was worth using.
Having said that, the only real problem was you need to use less water than the kit calls for. Once I used the appropriate amount of water, the cat grass kit worked flawlessly and I was very pleased with the results.
While it’s true that you can buy individual components and grow cat grass without a kit, the individual parts add up, and you end up spending as much, if not more, than just buying the kit.
In my opinion, the way to go is to buy the kit and then purchase refills for the kit. The kit has enough reusable components that make subsequent grows more cost effective.
Remember that the following parts of the cat grass kit are reusable:
- The spray bottle
- The water catchment tray
- The wicking tray
- The humidity dome
Hold on to those pieces! With care, you can use them over and over again. I personally wouldn’t put them in the dishwasher, because the heat would likely warp the various pieces, especially the humidity dome. If you do want to put them in the dishwasher, I recommend putting them on the top tray, and removing them before the dry cycle begins.
With that out of the way, here are the items you’ll need to purchase to grow the cat grass more than 3 times:
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