Types of flowers and how?

Victoriatori

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
East Tennessee
With the seasons starting to change I'm wanting to add a bit more variety to my tortoises diet with out having to stop 3 different stores to get the best variety and I know purchasing already growing plants is a no no because of pesticides and such. So I'm looking into planting my own mini garden for him. My grandmother has a green thumb and a yard for flowers that she hasn't used in years so it should be fertilizer and pesticide free by now if I'm correct? I'd like to start planting some there but also try to get some started in pots that I can plant in his enclosure eventually and once I have a grasp be able to grow indoors in the winter with one of those grow light things. But I'm not sure what types of potting soil I'm allowed to use? If I have to make sure it has not fertilizer or pesticides in it what do you all recommend to grow plants in? (and yes, I am referencing the tortoise table to know what flowers are good to him). If I got a mini composter type of deal for food scraps would that help nourish the soil? and maybe throw some worms in the pots? Is that humane for the worms? Just looking for any ideas, tips and advice.

Thanks in advance!!
 

RosemaryDW

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA
I won’t answer your questions about starting plants indoors or buying soil because I don’t grow indoors. Outside, if your grandmother hasn’t sprayed anything for a year, it’s fine.

I will say that the Tortoise Table is built for people living in the UK, not North America; what’s recommended there isn’t necessarily useful here because we don’t grow the same plants or have the same weeds. They also get less sun and warmth than you surely do and so don’t always have the luxury of planting things outside from the beginning. You will be able to plant some things outdoors very young from a plant nursery or just grow from seed.

The Tortoise Table is also super conservative and some say not always supported by science. I’m in that group so I don’t rely on it but for a new user who is super super cautious it’s an okay place to start. When you are ready to branch out you can often search the name of a new plant right here in the forum and see if others have fed it before.

Unless it’s quite large, and I mean large your tortoise is goint to eat or trample anything you put directly in his pen so don’t bother with that.

If your garden is strictly for your tortoise I’d honestly start looking at the weeds that grow around you, checking them here for safety; they are going to be the easiest to grow! If you don’t want to harvest their seeds yourself you can actually find quite a few “weed” seeds for sale at different place as many of them *are* eaten by some peoples or are used for medicinal purposes, tea, etc.

If you sure you want to plant things already grown, you can start with any kind of vining plant in the squash family: chayote, pumpkin, zucchini; the flowers, stems, and leaves are full of fiber. Also cucumber and melon. Okra is another good one, leaves and flowers are safe. You can put those straight in the ground from the nursery or hardware store; if they are safe for you to eat they are safe for your tortoise! Radish and turnip greens are super easy and FAST to grow from seed; although you can also sometimes find them started in a nursery. I suggest Chinese turnips (daikon) if you can find seeds for them, they grow the biggest leaves. Mustard is another one that is easy to grow and probably available already started from a nursery.

If you want a whole bunch of things we know are safe and generally easy to grow, try a commercial tortoise seed mix. Tortoise Supply has a good one: https://www.tortoisesupply.com/TestudoMix. Also Carolina Tortoise Supply, which you can start inside if you want: http://www.carolinapetsupply.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=761. Both of these will grow well and pretty fast in warm climates.

Good luck!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
With the seasons starting to change I'm wanting to add a bit more variety to my tortoises diet with out having to stop 3 different stores to get the best variety and I know purchasing already growing plants is a no no because of pesticides and such. So I'm looking into planting my own mini garden for him. My grandmother has a green thumb and a yard for flowers that she hasn't used in years so it should be fertilizer and pesticide free by now if I'm correct? I'd like to start planting some there but also try to get some started in pots that I can plant in his enclosure eventually and once I have a grasp be able to grow indoors in the winter with one of those grow light things. But I'm not sure what types of potting soil I'm allowed to use? If I have to make sure it has not fertilizer or pesticides in it what do you all recommend to grow plants in? (and yes, I am referencing the tortoise table to know what flowers are good to him). If I got a mini composter type of deal for food scraps would that help nourish the soil? and maybe throw some worms in the pots? Is that humane for the worms? Just looking for any ideas, tips and advice.

Thanks in advance!!
All good info from Rosemary.

Fertilizers are fine. Plants can't grow without them. Don't don't allow your tortoise to have direct access to them. Its fine to use them in pots or in a separate garden.

Same thing with the soil. Most soils have perlite or other water retaining stuff in them. These aren't toxic, they are just not good for tortoises to have access to, as they will ingest them.

Definitely avoid any kind of pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, but fertilizers are fine and good.

Skip the text of this thread and scroll down to a list of stuff you can grow:
 
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