Pretty & Flowering Food- some pics of Annuals & cold hardy perennials

Prairie Mom

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My torts really enjoy my hostas and hens and chicks as well. Both are fairly easy to grow.
Awesome! I don't have either right now. I think hens and chicks are so cool looking that I've been wanting to try them. It's great to hear your tortoises like Hostas!!! I have so much shade that's practically begging for me to plant them full of hostas. I'm thrilled to know these are tort-tasty. Thanks!
 

Turtulas-Len

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This is what they look like today banana.jpg But in a couple months they will start showing new growth. Our growing season is to short to get ripe bananas but the trees do fine and get big and tall. I now have banana trees in several areas and even the ones without any winter protection have survived and multiplied for several winters. When I first tried growing these I would dig them up and store them in the garage over winter, I started trying different ways to store them over winter, like digging them up and stacking them against the house and covering with mulch, dig and store in the turtle pen that I covered with poly. One year I had some pop up in an area where I thought I had removed all the trees so I could plant some opuntia, I missed some root pieces and they still grow through the cactus. By me accidentally leaving some roots there and them coming back without me doing anything to protect them from the cold winter temps made me realize that they really are cold hardy, So now I don't do anything for winter, just clean and cut the trunks back in early spring. There are other things growing in this mess, colocasia, mulberry tree, cannas, hibiscus, some opuntia that has been taken over by the trees as they spread out, and always have some volunteer tomato plants.
 

Prairie Mom

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We've been busy doing our winter indoor tortoise gardening as well as seed starting for our vegetable garden. I've been posting my progress in the garden chat.


smaller repot tortoise food.jpg ---- smaller repot tomatoes.jpg
trays of: Grass, Clover, Holly hock, Dandelion etc -------- Tomato & Vegetable seedlings

Today, I am finally planting the rest of my tortoise-safe flowering Annuals.
Some will be kept inside to feed my tortoise, while the rest will be put in the yard after my very late last frost date in June for Mavis and the kids to enjoy.



Since, I am planting some of the seeds mentioned in my original post, I thought I would leave a note here explaining which of these seeds need light to germinate and which prefer darkness.

(As usual--I only got this info by searching the net & can't promise full accuracy. But I have had great success following these guidelines.)




Seeds that need LIGHT to germinate:
(I will typically place these seeds on top of the soil and give them a good watering with a spray bottle)

-Snap dragons
-Impatiens
-Petunia
-Wax begonia
-Coreopsis


smaller hollyhock seedlings.jpg
Holly hock seedlings germinate in half the time this way. Throw 'em where you want 'em! :)

- Holly Hocks (Alcea) : This is a short lived perennial, but I often propagate more from seed for tortoise greens or just to have more in the garden. They don't 'require' light to germinate, but they GERMINATE SO MUCH FASTER if you just set the seeds on top of the moistened soil in full sun or under a good grow light.



Seeds that need DARKNESS to germinate:
(Often, I bury the seeds to the recommended depth on the package. When seeds are TINY and can't be covered with much soil; I will also put a black garbage bag or aluminum foil over the seed container)

-Violas/pansies (tiny seeds -I'll often cover the container)
-Nasturtiums
-Zinnia
 

leigti

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I really appreciate this thread. It gives us people without green thumbs a fighting chance to raise some nice tortoise food and make our yards look good too.
 

Amanda81

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This is what they look like today View attachment 117297 But in a couple months they will start showing new growth. Our growing season is to short to get ripe bananas but the trees do fine and get big and tall. I now have banana trees in several areas and even the ones without any winter protection have survived and multiplied for several winters. When I first tried growing these I would dig them up and store them in the garage over winter, I started trying different ways to store them over winter, like digging them up and stacking them against the house and covering with mulch, dig and store in the turtle pen that I covered with poly. One year I had some pop up in an area where I thought I had removed all the trees so I could plant some opuntia, I missed some root pieces and they still grow through the cactus. By me accidentally leaving some roots there and them coming back without me doing anything to protect them from the cold winter temps made me realize that they really are cold hardy, So now I don't do anything for winter, just clean and cut the trunks back in early spring. There are other things growing in this mess, colocasia, mulberry tree, cannas, hibiscus, some opuntia that has been taken over by the trees as they spread out, and always have some volunteer tomato plants.

Can you feed the leaves of your banana trees to your torts? I have elephant ears and banana trees shooting up everywhere each spring, I know the elephant ear is not edible but what about the banana trees?
 

Turtulas-Len

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Can you feed the leaves of your banana trees to your torts? I have elephant ears and banana trees shooting up everywhere each spring, I know the elephant ear is not edible but what about the banana trees?
Yes they can, they prefer the young trees and will eat them right down to the ground sometimes. The elephant ear plants can be eaten by some species of tortoises, mostly forest dwelling ones. My red footed, yellow footed, mee, mep and impressed all eat colocasia and alocasia plants.I don't offer it to the others though. I wish I had them shooting up here, we are having a never ending winter...
 

Amanda81

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Yes they can, they prefer the young trees and will eat them right down to the ground sometimes. The elephant ear plants can be eaten by some species of tortoises, mostly forest dwelling ones. My red footed, yellow footed, mee, mep and impressed all eat colocasia and alocasia plants.I don't offer it to the others though. I wish I had them shooting up here, we are having a never ending winter...

Well I don't have them coming up here yet either. This past week was nice, high 60, low 70 but today was a whole 42 so winter is still playing it's cruel games here too. I meant when they do come up, I have a yard full. I gave probably 30+ plants of each away last spring and still ended up with about the same amount. For me I have NO shortage of banana trees or elephant ears so to be able to use as a food source is like awesome in my book. I have sulcata and leopard right now and will add an Aldabra in about a month so I can at least feed the banana trees!! I will post pics when they do pop up.
Thanks.
 

Maro2Bear

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Yeah for banana trees. Here's a pix of mine this past Summer. Plenty of leaves for our Sully! I plan to bring it back outside very soon, it's been sleeping in our garage all Winter long.

image.jpg
 

ShannonC

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@Jacqui .....The wild violets that have pictured in your earlier post......Did you plant those? If you did, did you find seeds or did you transplant them?? I have TONS of them all over my front yard, but when my husband cuts the grass, all the flowers will be gone. I have the dark solid purple ones and the white ones with the little purple streaks, and all of my torts LOVE them and so do our five Bearded Dragons !!! They love the flowers and the leaves. I just might have to dig up a bunch and transplant them to a "no-mow zone".....lol.
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
Above, you can see the large leaves with the young banana cluster in the center.


image.jpg
Here is a close-up of the flowering pod where the bananas are forming.


image.jpg


Gretings All. Thought I would add to this thread now that our banana tree is finally flowering and going to yield some bananas! Yes! This is the fourth growing season for this banana cluster, that arrived as one small " pup" via the mail in a small small box four years ago. We dutifully water daily and bring them inside in Fall and haul backout in early Spring. Produces wonderful, large, green leaves, good for Sully our sulcata. Last year, towardcthe end of Summer, it looked like it might produce some fruit, but then cool temps came in (i think) and zilch.

So, here we are in mid-July, in Maryland, with our banana tree ready to give us some fruit.
 

Turtulas-Len

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10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
4,277
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Md - Northern Neck Va
This is what they look like today View attachment 117297 But in a couple months they will start showing new growth. Our growing season is to short to get ripe bananas but the trees do fine and get big and tall. I now have banana trees in several areas and even the ones without any winter protection have survived and multiplied for several winters. When I first tried growing these I would dig them up and store them in the garage over winter, I started trying different ways to store them over winter, like digging them up and stacking them against the house and covering with mulch, dig and store in the turtle pen that I covered with poly. One year I had some pop up in an area where I thought I had removed all the trees so I could plant some opuntia, I missed some root pieces and they still grow through the cactus. By me accidentally leaving some roots there and them coming back without me doing anything to protect them from the cold winter temps made me realize that they really are cold hardy, So now I don't do anything for winter, just clean and cut the trunks back in early spring. There are other things growing in this mess, colocasia, mulberry tree, cannas, hibiscus, some opuntia that has been taken over by the trees as they spread out, and always have some volunteer tomato plants.
DSCF0777.JPG A recent pic of the same area, I never get large ripe bananas. Tomato plants do great in this spot, 2 heirloom plants here Didn't get any ripe before the Fourth, but been eating green ones fried since late June. DSCF0778.JPG
 
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