Can I use a cedar planter to grow tortoise food?

Krista S

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I recently ordered a large raised garden bed that I intended to use as an outdoor house this summer for my small Hermann’s tortoise (will be around 1 year old by the time it’ll be warm enough to go outside). The planter I bought was advertised as fir, but when it arrived it is definitely cedar. When I contacted the company they said it is Chinese fir, but after some research I have learned that Chinese fir is not the fir that we know in North America and it isn’t even from the same family. It also uses the names Chinese cedar and Chinese fir interchangeably...strange, I know. It has the smell of cedar though and the oils and natural bug repellant of cedar. So I know I can’t use it for my tortoise to catch some natural UV this summer, but I’m wondering if it would be safe to use to grow some extra dandelion and other things for him to eat? The one I got is on legs, so the planter part of it does have a bottom as well. I’ve read many places that cedar is toxic because of the fumes and oils, but I haven’t found anything that talks about growing food for tortoises in cedar planters. Could the oils and fumes leech into the foods you grow? Any advice is greatly appreciated! : )
 

Blackdog1714

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You should be fine using as a planter to grow weeds! And other flowers, but oh how the torts love the weeds. I also grow Zinnias that they love leaf to flower!
 

Krista S

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You should be fine using as a planter to grow weeds! And other flowers, but oh how the torts love the weeds. I also grow Zinnias that they love leaf to flower!

Thank you very much for your reply. I was thinking of growing Zinnias as well, but even more so now that I hear how much your tortoises like it!
 

Krista S

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You’re fine. Grow your plants in your new container. All is good.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I’m glad I’ll be able to put the planter to good use even if it isn't for its intended purpose.
 

Maro2Bear

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I’m glad I’ll be able to put the planter to good use even if it isn't for its intended purpose.

It would take a VERY VERY long time for any “bad” effects of the wood from your container to result in bad food.

Ur plants are getting their nutrition from the soil and any organic fertilizers you are adding. It would take a a long long time to deplete the good things from your soil & uptake bad things from the wood. By the way, it’s the aromatic pine scent that’s off putting(bad for torts). The wood in your container is fine.
 

Krista S

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It would take a VERY VERY long time for any “bad” effects of the wood from your container to result in bad food.

Ur plants are getting their nutrition from the soil and any organic fertilizers you are adding. It would take a a long long time to deplete the good things from your soil & uptake bad things from the wood. By the way, it’s the aromatic pine scent that’s off putting(bad for torts). The wood in your container is fine.

This is very reassuring information. Thank you again for sharing your knowledge, I really appreciate it.
 

TammyJ

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I once had a bad experience with using cedar in my young ball python's enclosure. It was a piece of cedar wood which was just being decorative in his enclosure, but unknown to me, it fell into his water, which he drank. He became very ill and almost died. Just mentioning this as anecdotal information.
 
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