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I have a bearded dragon, and I recently came up with an idea to possibly plant my dragon's food in her own tank. This way it is fresh, always available, and may even help to keep the humidity in her tank up.

My options are as follows:

  • Kale
  • Turnip greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Broccoli

Those are her favorites. These plants would need to be able to handle munching, and temperatures up to 80°F during the day, and around 65°F at night.

I know absolutely nothing about gardening, or plants in general, so if any of these could be grown in her tank, I'd love to also know how to do so.

  • Just a side note -- do not feed spinach to your bearded dragon! They are high in oxalates, which bind calcium. – user2781 Sep 27 '13 at 20:35
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That seems a good idea, since the plants useful for your dragon surely are used to the same climate of it.

You could plante it if

  • the soil is the same that you use for your animal
  • the manure is not dangerous for your animal
  • there is space enough for animal and plants

I can start with saying that spinach, broccoli and Kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group, a vegetable similar to cabbage), are Winter plants = You can start planting these in the summer to have a harvest in winter.

  • Turnip green are winter / spring The benefits derived from turnip husbandry are of great magnitude; light soils are cultivated with profit and facility; abundance of food is provided for man and beast; the earth is turned to the uses for which it is physically calculated, and by being suitably cleaned with this preparatory crop, a bed is provided for grass seeds, wherein they flourish and prosper with greater vigor than after any other preparation.

  • Turnip (flower) The leaves of turnips are also eaten as "turnip greens" The first ploughing is given immediately after harvest, or as soon as the wheat seed is finished, either in length or across the field, as circumstances may seem to require. In this state the ground remains till the oat seed is finished, when a second ploughing is given to it, usually in a contrary direction to the first.

  • Mustard greens (Brassica juncea) - Mustard plant are any of several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis. Mustard seed is used as a spice. Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids, creates the yellow condiment known as mustard. The seeds can also be pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens. Mustard seeds generally take three to ten days to germinate if placed under the proper conditions, which include a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs.

  • Pea sativum is an annual plant, with a life cycle of one year. It is a cool season crop grown in many parts of the world; planting can take place from winter to early summer depending on location.

Each crop has its own rules, but in general they are easy. Once you get started, then you would find yourself well, or you can even ask for advice.

My fear is that the product obtained is not enough for your dragon, that would ultimately devastate your garden. Surely you will integrate the crop with vegetables purchased, unless your soil is so large as to be able to grow food enough.

  • Awesome, thank you! I thought about the amounts earlier today, and I figure that maybe I could just replace separate plants every so often to let them regrow. – Adra Elkins Apr 25 '13 at 0:11
  • You can make the first grown in a little pot and then replant, when you need =) – violadaprile Apr 25 '13 at 0:56
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This is a neat idea and just needs a few adjustments to get it to work right. In the wild food is scarce and animals have to work to find it. When they do they eat all of it at once usually. In the tank if you grow food from seed your dragon will either eat it all or step on it long before it will be a reasonable size. It is also likely that you do not have enough light to grow vegetables to a decent size. Outdoor light levels of 10,000 lumens + vs indoor light levels of 100 to 400 lumens.

The solution is to pick seeds which grow fast and do not require a big depth of soil and start them off outside or next to a window with supplementary lighting. When they are ready move them into the tank.

As violadaprile mentions mustard greens, spinach, lettuce and possibly kale can all be started indoors in shallow pots of only a few inches of soil. Have several sowings at staggered intervals and move them into the tank when they are an appropriate size.

Edit: adra asks if the light over the tank is sufficient to grow plants. Unless you are using High pressure sodium lights which would be pretty hot even for a reptile you can germinate seeds but not get them to grow to a size that would nourish an animal. I worked at a museum where we had live animals and the rotation method worked well for us with many animals.

  • Would her UVB light fixture stand as a replacement of direct sunlight? – Adra Elkins Apr 25 '13 at 0:11
  • @AdraElkins Plants can't directly use UV light... but a sunlamp is broad spectrum and contains a lot of usable light... I am not worried about the light. – Grady Player Apr 26 '13 at 19:22
  • @GradyPlayer I was just curious considering my lizard requires her UVB light throughout the day... Will that have a negative effect on the plant? – Adra Elkins Apr 29 '13 at 3:21
  • is is possible to burn plants, but if the are hardened off to survive direct sunlight, then your lamp should be fine at reasonable distances. – Grady Player Apr 29 '13 at 13:16
  • If you try this you should be sure to have a thermometer to check the inside air temperatures. A small fan to circulate the air might be a good idea depending on the size of the tank. The smaller it is the faster heat can build up. – kevinsky Apr 29 '13 at 17:42

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