Preparation for winter

Careym13

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This is the first year I've had the opportunity to plan ahead for my tort's winter diet. It gets cold and snows where I am so I thought it might be a good time to get ideas for what can grow indoors over the winter so I don't have to rely on grocery store greens.

Can anyone offer suggestions/methods for a winter feeding plan? I have 2 Leopards...both just turning a year old.
 

Yvonne G

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Len B

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I used to try to grow tortoise food indoors during cold weather, I wasn't very good at it. Now if needed I go to Wegmans and just pick it off the shelf. I'm not sure where in Northern Va you are located, but there are a few in the area. I use the one in Fredericksburg, There are Wegmans in Fairfax City area and out by Dulles and maybe more that I don't know about. I mostly grow in summer and dry for later use, I feed more mazuri to supplement whatever nutrients they might not be getting with the limited winter diet.
 

Careym13

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Make a little quonset hut type greenhouse and plant a garden.

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sulcata-greenhouse-and-heated-shed-on-a-budget.84140/

You don't have to make it very big. I usually plant a small garden in the fall with different types of lettuces, turnips, kale, etc. It freezes here, but doesn't snow. The plants do well through the winter and I usually harvest weekly up until about July when it's pretty much depleted.
I have a raised garden bed with a tent....maybe I can use that? I've never used it for it's actual purpose, just to house my torts in when they were smaller. I am trying to find places to keep my two fairly large hibiscus inside so hopefully I'll have those to feed over the winter as well.
 

Careym13

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I used to try to grow tortoise food indoors during cold weather, I wasn't very good at it. Now if needed I go to Wegmans and just pick it off the shelf. I'm not sure where in Northern Va you are located, but there are a few in the area. I use the one in Fredericksburg, There are Wegmans in Fairfax City area and out by Dulles and maybe more that I don't know about. I mostly grow in summer and dry for later use, I feed more mazuri to supplement whatever nutrients they might not be getting with the limited winter diet.
I actually have a Wegmans near me in Gainesville as a matter of fact.
 

Prairie Mom

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Head outside and dig up and pot some of your tortoises' favorite weeds right away, so the plants have a chance to get over the transplant shock before the snow comes. Get as much of the root as possible and water them heavily and regularly. They can live on your patio until the bad weather arrives. Dandelions and Mallow are a good place to start and will live in a sunny window for a while.

Check out the Garden Chat thread in the "Off topic Chit Chat" section. I often post photos of my indoor setup and plants. I use windows and grow lights to grow food for my tortoise during the winter. I prefer fluorescent plant lights/aquarium lights or "daylight" fluorescent light tubes. I use cheap shop hood light fixtures that have plugs and don't need to be wired in.

Some Easy Tortoise food to grow indoors:
-grass (any kind of unfertilized lawn grass seed) *Shade grass seed would do well in windows
-wheat grass seed *grows fast in windows
-barley grass seed *grows fast in windows
-dandelion seeds (I have the best luck just throwing it on top of soil without burying it)
-chicory (grows like dandelions)
-lettuce greens can be grown inside
-Squash seeds: pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, etc. You can feed the large seedlings that emerge in about a week or wait to have decent sized plants in 3-6 wks.
-watermelon seeds for young watermelon greens (grows the same as squash)
-Bean/pea vines. These are even faster than squash. My tortoise really likes sugar-snap pea vines.
-snapdragon seeds
-sunflower seeds (the seedlings can be mixed in tortoise food)

All these are pretty easy to grow inside. If you don't have much room or the proper lighting, you can still grow the same seeds and feed younger "starts" as added nutrition and tasty bites into whatever you winter diet mainly consists of.

This year I'm testing out drying and freezing lawn clippings for the first time.
Good luck!
 

Careym13

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Head outside and dig up and pot some of your tortoises' favorite weeds right away, so the plants have a chance to get over the transplant shock before the snow comes. Get as much of the root as possible and water them heavily and regularly. They can live on your patio until the bad weather arrives. Dandelions and Mallow are a good place to start and will live in a sunny window for a while.

Check out the Garden Chat thread in the "Off topic Chit Chat" section. I often post photos of my indoor setup and plants. I use windows and grow lights to grow food for my tortoise during the winter. I prefer fluorescent plant lights/aquarium lights or "daylight" fluorescent light tubes. I use cheap shop hood light fixtures that have plugs and don't need to be wired in.

Some Easy Tortoise food to grow indoors:
-grass (any kind of unfertilized lawn grass seed) *Shade grass seed would do well in windows
-wheat grass seed *grows fast in windows
-barley grass seed *grows fast in windows
-dandelion seeds (I have the best luck just throwing it on top of soil without burying it)
-chicory (grows like dandelions)
-lettuce greens can be grown inside
-Squash seeds: pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, etc. You can feed the large seedlings that emerge in about a week or wait to have decent sized plants in 3-6 wks.
-watermelon seeds for young watermelon greens (grows the same as squash)
-Bean/pea vines. These are even faster than squash. My tortoise really likes sugar-snap pea vines.
-snapdragon seeds
-sunflower seeds (the seedlings can be mixed in tortoise food)

All these are pretty easy to grow inside. If you don't have much room or the proper lighting, you can still grow the same seeds and feed younger "starts" as added nutrition and tasty bites into whatever you winter diet mainly consists of.

This year I'm testing out drying and freezing lawn clippings for the first time.
Good luck!
Great, thank you! I'll go check out the garden chat thread now. I have a bunch of windows in my house but there are no windowsills (weird, right?).
 

Odin's Gma

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You already found my thread so I won't clog yours with my prattle, but you will find loads of ideas both in the old one and the new one.
 

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