1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Help growing tortoise supply mix

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by Nickoli, Aug 3, 2019.

Help Support Tortoise Forums by donating:

  1. Nickoli

    Nickoli New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Ohio
    I finally received my testudo seed mix from tortoise supply, but need some advice on how to grow it. I was going to buy a planter to grow the seeds in since my neighbor up the hill treats her lawn with chemicals and I can't plant in my yard for that reason. From videos I've watched, it looks like you have to germinate seeds for them to grow. I am wondering if this is necessary for weeds or if they are easier to grow. Can I just sprinkle the seeds, cover them with soil and water them in an uncovered planter outside or do I need to cover the seeds while they germinate? It is a full-blown summer where I live so I figured the process might be different during the summer than the spring. I'm going to be putting the planter on a porch that gets full sun for most of the day if that changes the answer at all.

    So to summarize, does anyone have tips for successfully planting this weed mix during this time of year/know if I need to germinate with the same process as in spring? Also what type of soil do you guys prefer to use? I know it cannot have fertilizer in it, but am not sure what to look for on the label. Lastly, does anyone have advice for the type of material the planter I get should be? I cannot build it myself so should I look for untreated wood or does plastic work?
  2. santorozoo

    santorozoo New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Manchester, NH
    (These ads do not appear for registered members.)
    Well, I can update you soon!! I just planted some last night right in my Russian’s table; I’ve had success growing grass in there before. I buried it right in the substrate, which is just pure Scott’s brand topsoil. It has no fertilizer and it’s great. It’s near-ish the UVA/heat. If I have success I’ll tell you!
    Nickoli likes this.
  3. Nickoli

    Nickoli New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Ohio
    Thanks, I would love an update! I don't feel planting inside my Russian tortoise's enclosure would work well, she is extremely active and tends to move everything in her enclosure around. So I don't think the seeds would stay rooted long enough to grow. Hopefully, the planters will work out fine... I hope your seeds grow well, send an update later if you can!
  4. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Messages:
    3,193
    Likes Received:
    1,944
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Newport Coast, CA
    I can’t speak to the kind of materials you’ll want to use in your planter but for germinating the seeds, just sprinkle the seeds lightly into some plain top soil from your garden center; no need to cover the planter. Most people make the mistake of putting down way too many seeds; the radishes and clover that sprout first will choke out everything else when you do that.

    You don’t want to start seeds in all day full sun; they’ll fry. You need to protect them until they’ve at least started to set some true leaves. Is there a spot on the porch that stays in at least partial shade?
    Nickoli likes this.
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    45,431
    Likes Received:
    25,279
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    I have 4x8 raised planter boxes and 30x120" planter areas on the ground. I start seed in summer all the time. Our daytime summer highs are between 95-110 nearly every day and usually single digit humidity. I start Tyler and Sarah's Testudo mix by scattering the seeds on freshly tilled and amended soil that has been thoroughly watered. Then I sprinkle a little more soil on top to just barely cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 of soil. If the tortoise is not going to be in this planter then fertilizer is recommended and necessary. Plants can't grow without it. Pesticides, fungicides and other weird lawn chemicals must be avoided, but fertilizer is not just okay, its good. I've used manure from the store, composted tortoise dung, "natural" fertilizers, liquid fertilizers and granulated chemical fertilizers. All work and none of them are a problem as long as the tortoises are not exposed to and able to ingest the actual fertilizer product.

    The trick to starting them in full sun in the middle of summer is to NOT ever let the germinating young seeds or seedling ever dry out. In my climate I sometimes have to water heavily every hour during the heat of the day. Then a good soaking after dusk keeps me good until another soaking first thing in the morning. I've never covered them and never needed shade for them. When I try to start them inside in trays for germination, they never survive the transition to being outside in my harsh climate. When I start them outside, they sprout and never have any trouble.

    When the plants get to about 12-14" tall, I start taking cuttings from the planter beds. I grab a handful and cut it off with scissors. I usually work my way through in rows from one end to the other. By the time I reach the end after a few days, the start is ready to be cut again. I have some areas that produce like this for years after a planting. I don't know what will happen after a snowy frozen winter.

    Post pics and share what you learn. :)

    Here are my previous threads on this subject:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/tortoisesupply-com-testudo-seed-mix-thread.71890/
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/spring-planting.165629/
    TylerStewart and Nickoli like this.
  6. Nickoli

    Nickoli New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Ohio
    With the risk of sounding a bit stupid, how many seeds would you consider lightly planted? I have a huge bag from the website and my mom told me you usually only need a few seeds to plant a row of flowers. I wasn't sure if the weeds need to be planted a little bit more densely? Not sure if you plant a regular garden or flower bed, but if you do is it about the same idea when planting weeds?
    Also, the porch is uncovered so it gets full sun all day. If you don't mind me asking an additional question- should the seeds have full sun for part of the day? I could put the planter on my front porch which is covered but probably doesn't get much sunlight. If it will help the seeds grow I am willing to move the planter around throughout the day to make sure the seeds get enough sun without getting fried.
    Thank you for responding to my thread btw, I really appreciate how kind and helpful everyone on this website is!
  7. Nickoli

    Nickoli New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Ohio
    Thanks for the reply! I live in Ohio and it's been in the between 75-95 most of the summer but it is usually a higher humidity here, so I'm not sure how that affects the growth of the seeds. I will have to watch some gardening videos for advice on that. Is it okay to take small clippings from the weeds before they're that big or would that hinder their growth? Unfortunately, my family pulled most of the safe to eat weeds out of our yard so I've been feeding grocery greens for the most part here recently.
    Thanks again for responding! I will be sure to post progress pictures and update how it goes!
  8. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    45,431
    Likes Received:
    25,279
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Southern California
    I just scatter the seeds by hand. I could probably do less, but it doesn't hurt anything to do more.

    You can cut it whenever you want.
  9. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Messages:
    3,193
    Likes Received:
    1,944
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Newport Coast, CA
    Most of the seeds in that mix aren’t technically weeds, or at least they aren’t the kind of plants likely to take over a barren lot. That bag is huge; far more than most people would use in a planter box over several year. Do as Will does and just scatter a handful. Since you are growing these to feed your tortoise, if a few of the young plants get crowded you can pull or clip those to feed before they get full grown.

    Humidity will help these seeds when it’s warm so that’s just fine.

    I think you’ll probably do better by Googling this but it’s rare for seeds to start growing in the middle of summer, when the sun is closest to the earth. Kind of like going without sunscreen on the brightest day of the year. Indirect sun is going to be better this time of year. In other words, start with a shady patio. Do a search for “hardening off” plants and hopefully that helps; you’ll start with indirect sun, move up to part-day sun, then finally can put them in full-day sun.
  10. santorozoo

    santorozoo New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location (City and/or State):
    Manchester, NH
    Soooo... it only took 2 days and they’re sprouting right in the enclosure.

    Marvin stomps around on them but they’re only joking poking out of the soil so he hasn’t tried to eat them.

    I’ll also be planting aside elsewhere to maintain a good supply, but I was pleased to add some green to his enclosure.
Similar Threads: Help growing
Forum Title Date
Tortoise Diet and Food Are these seeds okay/growing help? Dec 18, 2015
Tortoise Diet and Food help for growing with a brown thumb Mar 19, 2015
Tortoise Diet and Food Help growing weeds/plants indoors Aug 11, 2014
Tortoise Diet and Food Help with growing my own food. Jan 14, 2013
Tortoise Diet and Food growing weeds, help Sep 16, 2011

Share This Page