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How To Feed A Tortoise All Year Long?

How To Feed A Tortoise All Year Long?

The most commonly available tortoises are the:

Horsfield (also known as Russian) tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii)
Spur Thighed (Greek) tortoise (Testudo graeca)
Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni)
and Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata)

Other tortoises that are available, but less common, are:

Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis)
Redfoot Tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria)
Star Tortoise (Geochelone elagans)
and the African Spurred (also known as Sulcata) tortoise (Geochelone sulcata).

Horsfield Tortoise

Horsfield Tortoise

So how do you feed them all year round? During spring and summer in the UK, this is easy as there are plentiful supplies of herbs, vegetables and weeds but winter months can turn this into a rather expensive pastime. Supermarkets increase herb and vegetable prices during the winter as they are either flown in from abroad or, more importantly, grown hydroponically under lights in the UK. So why don't you do this?

Kitchen countertop Smart Gardens - called this because they run themselves using a computer chip - were invented nearly a decade ago and now have come down in price from nearly £500 to a level where almost everyone can afford one. £60 - £80 are where the cheapest start and they carry on up to over £200 for more complex and intricate software-controlled machines.

They are run using hydroponics (water and mineral nutrients only) and full spectrum - red, white and blue - LED lights that usually come on for 16 hours a day to mimic the sun's rays. Some have more complex Apps which allow the user to alter the timings and lights from a mobile phone anywhere in the world, others are just simple machines with all of this pre-programmed into them.

The temptation is to run to Amazon to find a cheap model at a bargain price. Here you will find numerous Chinese companies competing against themselves to sell you a machine that could have been designed over 2 years ago and has now been superseded by a far better quality machine sold outside of Amazon. You get what you pay for: cheap price, no service, no returns, no help, no spare parts.

West Kent 15 pod white

The West Kent 15 Pod 'Professional' Smart Garden with App

The US market has been buying Smart Gardens for years and the inventor of them, Aerogarden, is still the number one seller at $135 - $199, despite the fact that Chinese machines sell for around $80. Why? Their service. Cheap Smart Gardens are prone to breaking down, LED lights expiring after 3 months, pump stops working etc. This often renders the machine useless as no Chinese company wants to send you a small part from their factory at an enormous cost (about the original price of the machine).

The UK has only one countertop hydroponics company, West Kent - www.west-kent.com - and spares and all accessories are held here in the UK so can be posted out and arrive the next day, in time to save your plants! 

Costs to run a 7 pod West Kent Smart Garden are around £1/week and a 15 pod App-controlled machine around £1.50/week. This is far less than a few bags of herbs each week and the 7 pod on its own will produce enough herbs for you to cut daily and feed to your tortoise, once the plants reach around 10 weeks old. They can be harvested from around 5-6 weeks from seed and will last at least one year without replacing anything.

Check it out and see what you think? You might even start growing herbs for yourself as the plants are clean, have no soil, no flies, bugs or insects and are totally organic.


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