Edible Plants for the Pen

MyKeyTee

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Joined
May 8, 2018
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23
Location (City and/or State)
North East USA
I'm located in the northeast and would like to plant some edible plants in my box turtle pen this spring that can continue to feed the turtles throughout the season. The obvious choice to start is some strawberry plants, but I there anything can I plant that will provide nutrition all season long?
 

m irwin

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Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Dallas
In Texas where I am, we get nice growth in the Spring but by Summer time, it's so damn hot, that most leafy plants (lettuce like if you will) will be long gone, and the native strawberry plants we have have long ago stopped producing fruit. Even what fruit it does produce is very small and you'd need a serious patch of the stuff to support even 1 box turtle. So I give my outdoor turtles Romaine lettuce as part of their diet (Ornate's and 3 Toed's). In other words, I buy their greens rather then grow them.

Having said that, I did read an excellent "scientific" article on wild Ornate box turltes that inhabit the eastern side of Colorado. My impression of that terrain from reading the article and from the few pictures supplied is its pretty scrubby and bleak. Not desert like but the plain states, so not a whole lot growing except grasses and other tuff "bushes". The turltes, however, do well. The reason I bring this up is the article mentioned a few times that Ornate's were often found in patches of "Spiderwort" eating away. Spiderwort has a semi-succulent type leaf and I'm sure it's got a high water content. Not a cactus but sort of Aloe Vera like in no spines but "leafy". I have bought a few of these plants from Prairie Moon Nursery and will plan them in the spring and see what happens. They are native so check the box on that, plus they are "proven" turtle food. So maybe try that - Spiderwort. I have only seen this plant offered for sale a few times at our local nursery's (but never at the big box stores). Only the nursery's that carry native plants. I also agree with you that providing your outdoor box turltes food that they evolved on, and they can forage for themselves, is a net positive.

Good luck!
 

MyKeyTee

New Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
North East USA
In Texas where I am, we get nice growth in the Spring but by Summer time, it's so damn hot, that most leafy plants (lettuce like if you will) will be long gone, and the native strawberry plants we have have long ago stopped producing fruit. Even what fruit it does produce is very small and you'd need a serious patch of the stuff to support even 1 box turtle. So I give my outdoor turtles Romaine lettuce as part of their diet (Ornate's and 3 Toed's). In other words, I buy their greens rather then grow them.

Having said that, I did read an excellent "scientific" article on wild Ornate box turltes that inhabit the eastern side of Colorado. My impression of that terrain from reading the article and from the few pictures supplied is its pretty scrubby and bleak. Not desert like but the plain states, so not a whole lot growing except grasses and other tuff "bushes". The turltes, however, do well. The reason I bring this up is the article mentioned a few times that Ornate's were often found in patches of "Spiderwort" eating away. Spiderwort has a semi-succulent type leaf and I'm sure it's got a high water content. Not a cactus but sort of Aloe Vera like in no spines but "leafy". I have bought a few of these plants from Prairie Moon Nursery and will plan them in the spring and see what happens. They are native so check the box on that, plus they are "proven" turtle food. So maybe try that - Spiderwort. I have only seen this plant offered for sale a few times at our local nursery's (but never at the big box stores). Only the nursery's that carry native plants. I also agree with you that providing your outdoor box turltes food that they evolved on, and they can forage for themselves, is a net positive.

Good luck!
cool! thanks. I'll check this out and see if I can find some to plant
 

S2G

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
48
Location (City and/or State)
AL
I get easterns a good bit. They tear up dandelions & dead nettle. Theres a few others, but I'm not an expert so not sure what they're called. Probably you're run of the mill weeds will be fine plant wise.
 

MyKeyTee

New Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
Messages
23
Location (City and/or State)
North East USA
I get easterns a good bit. They tear up dandelions & dead nettle. Theres a few others, but I'm not an expert so not sure what they're called. Probably you're run of the mill weeds will be fine plant wise.
great, Thanks!
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
I'm located in the northeast and would like to plant some edible plants in my box turtle pen this spring that can continue to feed the turtles throughout the season. The obvious choice to start is some strawberry plants, but I there anything can I plant that will provide nutrition all season long?
Hi, here is a list of edible plants I use for reference that may be helpful to you https://azeah.com/reptiles-amphibia...dible-plants-and-weeds-tortoises-land-turtles
 

Blackdog1714

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Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
3,789
Location (City and/or State)
Richmond, VA
How far above the Mason-Dixon line are you? Most plants will requiring potting so you may move them to safety for winter. To the best of my knowledge very few tort edible make it through a real winter. Honeysuckle does okay but the leaves curl. Hibiscus and mulberry trees drop there leaves in the fall here in VA. Opuntia cactus may survive outside but does better when potted so it may overwinter indoors. I have two new starts from the same plant one was outside and one was in my greenhouse with a heater -40 degrees at coldest for a few really cold nights. The cactus in the greenhouse is thicker and more stable do to the safe sheltering. Good luck
 

ZenHerper

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Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,030
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Box turtles eat greenery sparingly...fallen berries, yes (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries - all fine for the northeast: check a local nursery for weather-appropriate varieties).

Flowers, they love... Dandelion and other chicories. Pansies, sowthistle, grass, clover, chickweed, broadleaf plantain and ribwort, sweet violet/heartsease, coneflower, daylilly, calendula...

Many can be collected wild and re-planted; your local nursery will have seed packets of many as well.
 
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