2nd installment of Gma's indoor winter gardening thread (Sulcata)

Odin's Gma

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Sadly, it is nearly that time of year again up here in Minnesota, and preparations need to move into high gear to ensure another plentiful (and delicious) winter for the ever-hungry Odin.

Last years thread:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/gmas-indoor-winter-gardening-and-sulcata-brag-thread.112815/

Of course the indoor gardening never really stopped, much of it moved onto the deck, but as the nights get cooler the plants need to start moving in to get acclimated. and right now the indoor and outdoor temps are pretty similar. Last year I waited until later in the year, right around first frost, and I think the shock was too much for some of them. They all survived, but they had a rough month or two, so this year I am starting earlier. Also, we will still be able to take him outside for at least another month, maybe more, so, if the plants don't do well with the move, hopefully they will start bouncing back before we are relying on them full time *fingers crossed*
I dug up a small mallow I intend to bring in, and moved some established weeds into his garden trays, and while I mucked around in the garden and on the deck, Odin happily munched and dug 001.JPG

I brought in the massive amount of opuntia because we have a big storm moving in and a lot of rain projected for the coming days. We have had a lot of rain the last month and I lost several of them to rot during the wet conditions, but I saved most of the smaller pad growth and replanted them. 005.JPG

The aloe vera has been thrilled to have NOT been munched all summer and has reproduced like crazy!
Odin adores it, but because of the bounty outside we rarely gave him any all summer. 006.JPG

The new types of aloe I bought in the spring are doing so well that 2 of the 4 are flowering! And it has been nearly long enough to allow munching. He has yet to try any of them yet (bought from a gardening center) so I am curious to see if he enjoys them as much as the aloe vera 009.JPG 008.JPG

The darn agave is still miniscule, but still growing. At this rate I don't see him tasting any of that until next winter at least. Heck, maybe not until next decade! 010.JPG


And, yes, there is ANOTHER smaller pot of opuntia and even more aloe vera (don't judge!) along with a pot of sempervivum (hens and chicks, house leeks)
007.JPG

The hardy Macrohiza cactus that I started from seed is adorable, but just too small to put outside for the winter. I have more seed that I can't decide if I should direct sow outside, or sprout inside. Hmm.... 012.JPG

More aloe vera and african violets, another thing he hasn't had all summer. 014.JPG

And MORE african violet. 015.JPG

And, of course, a few more types of opuntia. These were purchased from a garden center months ago also, so they are not yet nom-able, but soon! 016.JPG

And, as usual, all of my hard work made Odin very sleepy 019.JPG 020.JPG

Rough life this one has...

I still have the 2 hibiscus that will need to come in (one big and one small), along with his garden trays. The small mulberry bushes I will bring in for a while and then winter in the garage for a time, but I don't know that I will dig up and bring in anything else. I still have seed for everything that is growing in the playpen so I think I will just continue to seed his trays as needed. We shall see!
I am also looking into grow lights for some of the sun loving plants. In addition, my son is putting together plans for a much larger indoor enclosure that we will be beginning soon. So exciting!
 

Careym13

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I'm starting to set up stuff indoors too...but I stink at it...so I'll be following along with you to steal your ideas :D
 

wellington

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Nice you have such a green thumb. That looks like a lot for him, he's going to eat good. I want to see how you house all this stuff when he is much larger. You will have to build another house just for the plants:p. Btw, why are you bringing in the mulberry? I have the fruitless ones and they are planted in my yard and stay there all winter. I am in zone 5. I think you get it much worst there in the winter then here in chicago, but I think they are still winter safe.?
Very cute pics of Odin
 

Big Charlie

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Wow, you've been busy! So much work. I'm glad I live in California!
 

Odin's Gma

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And here is the seed for the winter: 028.JPG

Includes:
White clover
red clover
crimson clover
ryegrass
red fescue
pennigton ryegrass
kentucky bluegrass
catgrass
nodding fescue
wild timothy grass
buffalo grass
blue grama (grass)
trefoil
chicory
another clover mix with 6 kinds of clover
english plantain
variegated plantain
common plantain
purslane
common dandelion
red rib dandelion
rose mallow
cilantro
lavendar
pansy
petunia
carrot
chamomile
radish
rosemary
beet
mesclun
pumpkin
summer squash
arugula
winter squash
watermelon
cucumber
spinach
kale
swiss chard
nasturtium
marsh mallow
marigold
viola
zinnia
chrysanthemum
basil
thyme

I think that's all....for now.....
 

Odin's Gma

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I'm starting to set up stuff indoors too...but I stink at it...so I'll be following along with you to steal your ideas :D

Steal away, that's why I am posting!

Nice you have such a green thumb. That looks like a lot for him, he's going to eat good. I want to see how you house all this stuff when he is much larger. You will have to build another house just for the plants:p. Btw, why are you bringing in the mulberry? I have the fruitless ones and they are planted in my yard and stay there all winter. I am in zone 5. I think you get it much worst there in the winter then here in chicago, but I think they are still winter safe.?
Very cute pics of Odin

It is a lot for him now, but I need to practice! And maybe clear half the house of the human belongings...:rolleyes:
I have 2 types of mulberry, one that is hardy to zone 5 (the little bushes), and one that is hardy to zone 4 (seeds). The zone 5 one I will winter in the garage, the seeds for the zone 4 variety I will direct sow outside soon.

Wow, you've been busy! So much work. I'm glad I live in California!

You are lucky, the larger he gets the more of a commitment this will be, but with that face how can I say no!?!
 

Careym13

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And here is the seed for the winter: View attachment 144971

Includes:
White clover
red clover
crimson clover
ryegrass
red fescue
pennigton ryegrass
kentucky bluegrass
catgrass
nodding fescue
wild timothy grass
buffalo grass
blue grama (grass)
trefoil
chicory
another clover mix with 6 kinds of clover
english plantain
variegated plantain
common plantain
purslane
common dandelion
red rib dandelion
rose mallow
cilantro
lavendar
pansy
petunia
carrot
chamomile
radish
rosemary
beet
mesclun
pumpkin
summer squash
arugula
winter squash
watermelon
cucumber
spinach
kale
swiss chard
nasturtium
marsh mallow
marigold
viola
zinnia
chrysanthemum
basil
thyme

I think that's all....for now.....
So you are going to grow all of this inside??? Or some out and some in?
 

Odin's Gma

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So you are going to grow all of this inside??? Or some out and some in?
I have been growing all of it outside all summer and much of it indoor in his garden trays last winter and will again this winter. Some things, like the nasturtium, didn't do well indoors last year so I probably won't bother with it this year, and for the squash and cucs (etc.) he is more interested in the flowers than the leaves so I may skip those too, but we will see!

edit to add:
We use @1'x2' seed trays that we change out about every week in his indoor enclosure so he can graze freely all day. When I pull one I randomly reseed it with whatever I grab, and in 4 weeks he mows it. It worked well last year.
 

Careym13

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I have been growing all of it outside all summer and much of it indoor in his garden trays last winter and will again this winter. Some things, like the nasturtium, didn't do well indoors last year so I probably won't bother with it this year, and for the squash and cucs (etc.) he is more interested in the flowers than the leaves so I may skip those too, but we will see!

edit to add:
We use @1'x2' seed trays that we change out about every week in his indoor enclosure so he can graze freely all day. When I pull one I randomly reseed it with whatever I grab, and in 4 weeks he mows it. It worked well last year.
I almost ordered seed trays online the other day. Are the ones with or without drainage holes better?
 

Odin's Gma

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I almost ordered seed trays online the other day. Are the ones with or without drainage holes better?
I use the ones without drainage holes to help preserve the wood of his enclosure and avoid a mold situation. I also have the domes to cover them when sprouting new seeds indoors. I haven't used them while the trays have been outside, but indoors they sped up the sprouting.
 

Odin's Gma

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Still to deal with:
My big, old hibiscus, taller than me by a good bit, at nearly 6 feet tall (with pot) after a hard pruning this spring thanks to a hard late frost. 032.JPG

It is preparing to bloom out of control! I can't wait! 033.JPG

New tiny hibiscus that I purchased in the spring from a garden center, so it is not yet food, but it will be by winter!
(when I buy new plants I change all the dirt and let them grow for at least 6 months without feeding them to Odin to work out systemic pesticides) 034.JPG

Little mulberry bushes, only about 18 inches tall right now. 035.JPG

One of Odin's garden trays. Currently outside. 036.JPG
 

Careym13

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Have you ever grown wild chicory indoors? I have a few in my yard and am thinking about digging them up if they'll survive the winter inside.
 

Odin's Gma

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Have you ever grown wild chicory indoors? I have a few in my yard and am thinking about digging them up if they'll survive the winter inside.
It's in one of my seed mixes, but to be honest I have no idea if it ever sprouted. I just throw in the seeds and when a tray is grown I give it to the beast and he eats it down to the dirt. The easiest and quickest things to sprout and grow have been the grasses, lettuces,clovers and radish. Plenty of other things on the list have done well, they have just taken more time.
 

Careym13

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It's in one of my seed mixes, but to be honest I have no idea if it ever sprouted. I just throw in the seeds and when a tray is grown I give it to the beast and he eats it down to the dirt. The easiest and quickest things to sprout and grow have been the grasses, lettuces,clovers and radish. Plenty of other things on the list have done well, they have just taken more time.
Ok I'm going to give it a go...I'll let you know what happens.
 

Careym13

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Alright...I've been online all morning trying to find seed trays to order...they are seemingly hard to come by when you only want a few...can I ask where you got yours?
 

Odin's Gma

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ShannonC

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I have started my indoor growing ventures as well! I live in the south, so I still have time, but I wanted to make sure some of the things I wanted to try will work. I am digging up favorite weeds to grow under lights indoors, in hopes that I will be able to pick and feed. I have some under regular fluorescent, some under LED's and some under some full spectrum bulbs. None have heat, as I think paying for heat would diminish my savings.....I am hoping that our house temps will suffice. With six mouths to feed, I am trying every trick I can think of!! We also have a fall crop of mustard greens, turnip greens and a little kale. (these have come up from the seeds we planted LAST spring......this is the fourth crop from the same planting!!)

I also have several tropical Hibiscus to bring inside for the winter, as well as Aloe, Purslane, Opuntia (PLENTY) and African Violets.

I also have some of their favorite weeds growing in Earthboxes inside the outdoor Russian enclosure that I hope to bring inside the garage and pull from for a while, before it gets TOO cold. I grow them in the boxes because they thrive in them with the constant access to water!!! It's my sure-fire way to have plenty of variety for their food trays, in addition to the grazing. I have three Earthboxes going right now, and I'm in the process of setting up two more. Right now I have one with Dandelions, one with wild Violet, and one with a mixture of the two. I plan to use the other two for Plantain and clover.

My husband says I have become the mad plant lady!! LOL...... Of course, it's all about the tortoises!!! (but I am also in the midst of building a fully planted vivarium for my Whites Tree Frogs, so I have tropical plants all over the place too!!)

Whew!!
 

Odin's Gma

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My husband says I have become the mad plant lady!! LOL...... Of course, it's all about the tortoises!!!

Whew!!
You are not alone! Every time I come home with another plant or more seeds my husband gives me "the look" and says "Really? You need more?" And then walks away shaking his head. I don't even answer, just smile. :)
 

Prairie Mom

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Everything is looking great! I've struggled a bit with Crimson clover and Marsh mallow. I'm not sure if it's my specific batch of seeds or what. Please let me know how yours works out for you.
 
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