What is safe soil for outdoor grazing?

daisyhillpuppy

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We are finalizing improvements on our outdoor desert tortoise enclosure. I have organic grass seed that I would like to plant - I’m looking for any suggestions for safe soil to use for grazing - as they’ll be done hibernating (and hungry) soon! I have used no-frills organic top soil in the past, but it doesn’t seem to keep the grass going well for long - we are in AZ and our existing soil is just terrible. I have read multiple threads and I’m now confused/concerned about using anything with fertilizer in it (even organic), but feel the top soil may not be cutting it. Thank you in advance for any specific types/brands, etc, that you may have tried and had luck with! :tort::tort::)
 

Yvonne G

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I've never worried about the quality of the soil. My tortoise yards are outside on my property and I just rake it rough, add my seeds and water. If you have really hard soil, you might consider adding something to make it more porous, like gypsum. Then you can add some leaves and dig them in. If you add some sort of top soil, make sure you don't get the kind with little white balls in it.
 

Tom

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We are finalizing improvements on our outdoor desert tortoise enclosure. I have organic grass seed that I would like to plant - I’m looking for any suggestions for safe soil to use for grazing - as they’ll be done hibernating (and hungry) soon! I have used no-frills organic top soil in the past, but it doesn’t seem to keep the grass going well for long - we are in AZ and our existing soil is just terrible. I have read multiple threads and I’m now confused/concerned about using anything with fertilizer in it (even organic), but feel the top soil may not be cutting it. Thank you in advance for any specific types/brands, etc, that you may have tried and had luck with! :tort::tort::)
FIrst, where did you get the seed? "Organic" doesn't mean what most people think it means, and most grass seed has all sorts of additives. You need seed that is intended for grazing livestock.

With the soil, you need to make sure there are no additives like perlite, vermiculite or "wetting agents". Also make sure there are no pesticides, herbicides (weed killers) or fungicides. Fertilizer is fine, especially if you buy the type intended to grow human vegetables.

I prefer to grow my tortoise food in raised planter beds and cut and feed it to them.
 

daisyhillpuppy

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FIrst, where did you get the seed? "Organic" doesn't mean what most people think it means, and most grass seed has all sorts of additives. You need seed that is intended for grazing livestock.

With the soil, you need to make sure there are no additives like perlite, vermiculite or "wetting agents". Also make sure there are no pesticides, herbicides (weed killers) or fungicides. Fertilizer is fine, especially if you buy the type intended to grow human vegetables.

I prefer to grow my tortoise food in raised planter beds and cut and feed it to them.
Thank you! I have ordered from naturesseed.com and sulcatafood.com in the past years, but I’m now trying the horse pasture mix sold by groworganic.com instead.
And, fertilizer is ok - if ok for human consumption? I’ll use that plus your other input as rule of thumb when searching! If you have a favorite preferred soil, feel free to list it. Any input is much appreciated :)
 

daisyhillpuppy

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I've never worried about the quality of the soil. My tortoise yards are outside on my property and I just rake it rough, add my seeds and water. If you have really hard soil, you might consider adding something to make it more porous, like gypsum. Then you can add some leaves and dig them in. If you add some sort of top soil, make sure you don't get the kind with little white balls in it.
Thanks! We have some fallen leaves in the yard - I’ll try some of those too. I’m sure adding something more porous would help with retaining water in the soil as well. :)
 

Tom

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Thank you! I have ordered from naturesseed.com and sulcatafood.com in the past years, but I’m now trying the horse pasture mix sold by groworganic.com instead.
And, fertilizer is ok - if ok for human consumption? I’ll use that plus your other input as rule of thumb when searching! If you have a favorite preferred soil, feel free to list it. Any input is much appreciated :)
When I need to add organic material to the soil, I've used the "Kelloggs" brand stuff. I break up the soil with a shovel, add the Kelloggs, and churn it all up with the shovel some more.
kellogg-garden-organics-garden-soil-685-64_1000.jpg
Unknown.jpeg
 

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